Over the past 3 months, I have been based in East Africa, in Kenya as part of my PhD program under the PIPS scheme (Professional Internships for PhD Students). It was here that I was given the opportunity to work on projects related to science communication, science media production and international capacity building.
For the bulk of my internship, I was in Nairobi, Kenya. It was here that I was creating an online bioinformatic and soft skill training video series. Following this, my internship ended with the organisation and running of “AfriPlantSci19” in Kilifi, a plant science training course for early-career African researchers.
The amount I have grown and developed over the past few months has been vast. I’ve been able to build both technical and transferable soft skills, many of which will serve me well with the rest of my PhD and beyond. The internship has also really opened my eyes to the possibilities surrounding a career in science communication, science media and international capacity building. I have enjoyed all three areas more than I could have ever predicted and as such, I am so grateful to have been given such an opportunity to experience them.
My gratitude extends to the PIPS program as a whole. The idea of the internship is to give us PhD students a broader range of skills and experiences outside of the lab. This in turn will help us move in to a wider range of careers and will make us ultimately more employable once the PhD has drawn to a close. I think this is a fantastic idea and I have gained an awful lot from my internship.
I’ve gained a new insight into differenent career paths away from the lab and I have developed a wide variety of skills. Examples of technical skills included videography, animation, editing and bioinformatics . Examples of soft transferable skills included
project management, communication, leadership, creativity and problem-solving skills.
Kenya has been an incredible country with friendly people, stunning scenery and impressive wildlife. I would strongly encourage anyone to visit in the future should the opportunity present itself, it will be an experience you will not forget.
I am now back in England ready to head back in to the lab, its back to the PhD life once again. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. A special thanks to all those who read and supported this blog post by post during the internship itself.
My PhD internship has been summarised in an articled published by the Times Higher Education (THE). If you did enjoy reading this blog or if you would like a condensed version of my time in Nairobi, please consider reading and sharing the article available at the following link – https://www.timeshighereducation.com/opinion/my-phd-internship-preparing-me-life-beyond-degree
This may be farewell from this KenyaPIPS blog, but you can still keep following my onward PhD journey! Please do follow my Twitter and Instagram accounts to stay up-to-date with my life in the lab and see how the science is unfolding.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/dannyJamesWard
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/dannyjamesward/
Feel free to connect with me professionally on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/dannyjamesward/
To all those embarking upon internships, PhDs and PIPS of their own – I wish you the best of luck and I hope my blog will prove useful or interesting to you in some way.
And so with that, I would like to say thank you once more and goodbye from KenyaPIPS2019!