Ebubechi Okpalugo Undertakes Placement at Smithsonian Institution

3rd November 2017

Over the summer vacation many Pembroke students  reading STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects are eligible to apply for Rokos Awards, intended to support those looking to enhance their studies and scientific knowledge through research internships.

We recently published the reports from our 2017 recipients on our website, available here. This week we’re bringing into focus Ebubechi Okpalugo (Medicine, pre-clincal, 2016) and her incredible experience in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian Institute, the largest group of museums and research centres in the world.

James Smithson, the founding donor of the Smithsonian was a Pembroke alumnus and the Office of Interns and Fellowships at the Smithsonian set up this placement programme with Pembroke. Ebubechi was delighted to be the first participant, she said ‘it surpassed my expectations!’

In her report she explains, ‘I was based at SciColl, an international scientific collections organisation devoted to promoting the use and impact of cross discipline object-based scientific collections, including archaeology, biology, biomedicine, earth and space sciences, technology, and others… SciColl’s aim is to ensure these collections are well-managed and accessible, coordinating between geographically distributed and independent collections so that researchers in all disciplines and countries will have the research infrastructure they need.’

The tasks and responsibilities assigned to Ebubechi were rich in variety and gave her a great insight into the inner workings of the organisation. For example, she worked on public engagement and created website and social media content, she visited numerous Smithsonian sites and exhibitions, and wrote articles. The topics Ebubechi explored on her placement extended beyond her degree, as she touched on the social side of medicine and expanded her interest in epidemiology and public health. She benefitted from being given a full experience of what it’s like to work in such a large and collaborative institution. Read her full report here