Smithsonian UK Internships 2018

The Smithsonian UK Charitable Trust recently offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Pembroke College students to take part in three internships at its Mpala Research Centre in Kenya, in 2018.

The Mpala Research Centre was established in 1991 on the 48,000-acre Mpala Wildlife Foundation property on the Laikipa plateau in north central Kenya. Mpala represents a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution, Princeton University, the Kenya Wildlife Service, and the National Museums of Kenya to create a site for multidisciplinary research and training in Africa. Since its inception, Mpala has hosted hundreds of students, educators, and scientists annually from around the globe, conducting research on topics ranging from parasites to elephants. Mpala is now recognized as a central hub for research in East Africa and is home to a variety of threatened and endangered plants and animals, including the Grevy zebra and reticulated giraffe.

2018 Intern reports 

Hannah Puleston (BA Biological Sciences, 2016)

Ingrid Easton (BA Biological Sciences, 2016)

Laura Hindley (BA Biological Sciences, 2015)

What are the internships? 

1) Spatial Ecology of the Laikipia Plains: Interns will learn by working with a research scientist from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and be involved in research focused on mapping and quantifying land use/land cover dynamics and their consequences for biodiversity and wildlife at the Mpala Research Centre and surrounding lands. They will have opportunities to learn about analysis of satellite imagery for land use/land cover mapping; conducting data collection to ground-truth satellite maps;compiling field data on wildlife occurrence, livestock, and human activities; entering observation data for analysis in a Geographic Information System. (Contact: Dr. Jared Stabach,

2) One Health Program: Interns will learn by working with the Smithsonian Global Health Program veterinary fellows and/or other GHP staff and collaborators on projects relating to human, wildlife, and/or domestic animal health in the Laikipia region. They will have opportunities to learn about field- and/or lab-based components of pathogen surveillance (human, animal, arthropod), assistance with animal capture and sampling, outreach for local communities, help with training activities or workshops, literature reviews, and data entry and analysis (Contact: Dr. Krista Jones,

3) Mpala Research Centre Communities and Conservation programme: Interns will learn by being involved with the MRC’s work on the intersection of wildlife-livestock-agriculture issues in the Laikipia region. They will have opportunities to learn about collecting and collating basic field data, running basic surveys with farmers and herders, collection and observation of data, including on pollinators, pests and species interactions. (Contact: Dr. Dino J. Martins,

Additional information about Mpala can be found at If you have any further questions feel free to contact Kirstie Smith in the Academic Office at