Mildred Nanono is a Control and Instrumentation Engineer at the Nalubaale and Kiira Power Stations, maintained and operated by Eskom Uganda Limited (EUL). She is using her engineering skills in hydropower generation. She says:
"I joined Eskom Uganda as a graduate Electrical Engineer trainee. While working towards graduation, I gained experience in both high voltage and low voltage hydropower plant systems. Currently, I am specializing in control and instrumentation with a special interest in distributed control systems and electronic governors.”
But to understand how she got to this point, we have to go back. She started her engineering career at Nabisunsa Girls School in Kampala, Uganda. Upon graduating high school - and excelling at science - she decided to pursue tertiary, joining Makerere University for a four-year Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering course.
Upon graduating, Mildred decided that she would acquire her Master of Engineering (Industrial Automation) from the Engineering Institute of Technology.
"I am grateful for EUL for having sponsored my Master's course. I have gained a lot of knowledge from the lecturers and the group of experienced classmates. This has boosted my performance at work as I have gained a global view of the automation sector, and I am now better placed to make technical decisions in my day to day work.”
Mildred chose to work in the industry due to her admiration for power generation for Uganda. She notes that the hydropower sector, and specifically at the power stations she works in, provide the nation with 40% of its power.
"I had always wanted to be part of a team, contributing to the power sector. Given the small number of ladies in the sector, I was motivated to join the male-dominated field to make my contribution toward national development.”
Mildred is aptly keeping her skills relevant to the industry due to the level of automation making its way into the industry. She is the system and maintenance engineer, working with the instrumentation in the two power stations. She is in charge of planning system life, purchasing required spares, developing maintenance strategies, carrying out required modifications and looking through the thermal-graphic surveys of plant equipment. Highly customized software are flooding into the power stations to aptly manage the infrastructure that gives Ugandans their power.
With a demanding job in the industry, and no time to go to a formal brick-and-mortar class, Mildred was happy to find EIT:
“It allowed me to gain knowledge in the most flexible way possible for a busy full-time employee. I was able to study without my employer feeling my absence. My class had experienced students in the automation field who could share real work experiences.”
Mildred notes that the modules covered in EIT’s coursework helped her at her workplace as she was busy with working on an upgrade project for one of the power stations’ distributed control system. She said:
“The technical modules, especially those related to communication, distributed control system and instruments, are very handy for my day to day maintenance and current upgrade projects of the distributed control system and instrumentation systems. I better understand the hydraulic circuits, thus can easily design control systems for them.”
In the next two years, Mildred intends to continue working in the control and instrumentation field but is looking forward to joining the management level in the years to come. In short, she's dedicated to working but is also ready to become a boss lady.