UNILAG Geosciences Students Dive into Gemstone Opportunities in Town & Gown Seminar

In a unique blend of academia and industry, the University of Lagos's Department of Geosciences hosted a Town & Gown Seminar Series 2.0 on November 17, 2023. The event featured Ms. Jenna White, a practicing Gemologist and Ph.D. student at the Colorado School of Mines, as the guest speaker. Ms. White engaged students in an interactive session, shedding light on the world of gemstones and the vast opportunities within their value chain.

UNILAG Geosciences Students Dive into Gemstone Opportunities in Town & Gown Seminar
At the Event

On Friday, November 17, 2023, students of the University of Lagos's Department of Geosciences had a glimpse into the world of gemstones and the extensive opportunities within its value chain. The occasion marked the Town & Gown Seminar Series 2.0, where Ms. Jenna White, a practicing Gemologist and Ph.D. student at the Colorado School of Mines, served as the guest speaker.

In an engaging presentation on "Transparent and Traceable Gemstones in Supply Chains," Ms. White interacted extensively with the audience, sharing her knowledge in a dynamic Question-and-Answer session. She introduced the students to the fundamentals of gems and the field of Gemology, emphasizing its national and international prospects and the specialized opportunities it offers.

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“As students of Geology and Geosciences, you are truly sitting on a gold mine, as far as your career prospects are concerned. Gemology is one area of specialization that many people are not looking at, even at my school in the United States. Nigeria has tons of gems but, like Sri Lanka, it has not developed the capacity to capture the value in a supply chain that links the mines to the market. There are huge opportunities for people with a scientific mind in this industry,” Ms. White remarked.

Ms. White 

She commended the Department of Geology for the initiative to expose its students to the realities of the industry, urging the students to seize the opportunity.

“What your Faculty has done is to link you with the industry early, so that you do not leave here only with a piece of paper. There are lots of opportunities in this industry, if you’re willing to put in the work. Look very closely at the entire value chain of gems mining and sales in Nigeria, identify your place in it, and occupy it with determination, diligence, and an adaptable mind that is willing to learn.”

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Also present at the seminar was Mrs. Tekena Koko, Executive Director at Gold Treasure Exchange Limited, who shared her journey from banking to jewelry making despite her background in Biochemistry.

 Mrs. Tekena Koko

I didn’t have a Geosciences background. I was in Banking for 15 years, but found out, at the end of my MBA program, that my passion is for jewelries. So, I ventured into it, starting from scratch. Today, what we started as a jewelry repair company has evolved into one that produces new jewelry pieces, from start to finish. You can do the same. Just develop an entrepreneurial mindset and take it upon yourself to learn and apply,” Mrs. Koko shared.

The Head of Department, Professor A.M. Odukoya, expressed appreciation for the resource persons for their willing support of the department’s effort at making students workplace-ready.

“The idea behind this seminar is to bring in the industry so that you are immediately exposed to the practical aspect of the theory we teach you here. We are determined to create job creators out of our students, and we are delighted that stakeholders like our resources persons today are willing to support us.”

 Professor A.M. Odukoya

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The seminar drew a substantial audience, including students from the Department of Geosciences and other interested individuals from the Faculty of Science. The initiative reflects UNILAG's dedication to bridging academic knowledge with real-world industry experiences for its students.