My HDR UK Black Internship Programme experience in health data: Uzoma Ochulor
21 July 2022
We caught up with Uzoma Ochulor mid-way through her placement on the Black Internship Programme to find out if it's what she expected and what's she's learnt so far.
Hi there! I’m Uzoma Ochulor and I live in Peterborough.
I have always had a huge passion in the STEM fields which informed my choice of undergraduate degree course – Mathematics and Computer Science at the Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria, as well as my master’s degree course in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, at the University of Birmingham, UK.
Good to meet you Uzoma! Which host organisation are you an intern with?
I’m an Intern at the University of Cambridge.
Did you have any expectations before you started?
Before I started, I was hoping to experience first-hand how AI can help us to drive change in the health sector and the important role that data plays. I was also hoping to develop and refine my skills.
Did it live up to that?
Yes, and more!
The internship programme is a rewarding opportunity which I feel is helping me to open doors for my career aspirations.
I’m really improving my skills through contributing to our current data collection projects. It’s so good to use my skills for real world problems.
Oh, and I’m so impressed by the people – they are wonderful!
Sounds good! Who do you work with?
I work with professors, data scientists and other interns. They are all so willing to help. It’s a relaxed working environment but we get lots done.
When I started, my line manager took the time to explain very clearly what my role was and any expectations they had of me.
What’s it like where you work?
It’s very nice. Very organised and the work areas are laid out nicely. I’m also near The Green which is a nice open space to have lunch.
What are you currently working on?
I’m helping with data modelling around health and activity following a survey that was sent to some volunteers.
Specifically, I am helping the team to a develop unsupervised machine learning model for energy estimation so we can better understand the impact of our current lifestyles.
And so I know what it has been like for participants, I have been wearing a sensor on my arm to measure my activity. It looks like a watch and gives me all sorts of stats around how active I have been over the last few weeks.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love working in a research environment with the scientists, professors and interns getting hands-on experience with the things I learnt at university.
I also love our chats about what we’re working on and the fact that everybody’s contribution is valued.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt?
It’s early days yet, but I think it’s everything I’m learning about real-life design and development of machine learning models using Python and how it conducts data analysis. I like the fact that Python is open source as well as being versatile. It’s easy to learn and it’s great it comes ready-made with lots of machine learning libraries which makes it appealing to use in building models. I think it’s something I will use a lot in the future.
What’s your tip for future interns?
Be open to learn new things and embrace every opportunity you get while on the internship.
What are your hopes for the future?
For the future, I am currently keeping my options open. But one possibility is progression on to a doctorate with the aim of making a career in research.
While I am here, I am just looking forward to gaining valuable research skills to enable me to become a better scholar and researcher.
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