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Gameli Adzaho (MSc Environment and Human Health, 2014)

Exeter alumnus talks about where a science degree can take you

Exeter alumnus, Gameli Adzaho (MSc Environment and Human Health, 2014) talked to us about life after graduating, and where his degree took him.

What have you been doing since leaving, and what are you doing now?

"Since I left the university I've been doing two things: a) working for an international NGO, in collaboration with the public health system, to improve sexual and reproductive health in Ghana, and b) 'shaping Africa and shaping youth' through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) education and social innovation activities.  I do this work mainly through Global Lab Network, a platform to connect STEM students, young professionals, and mentors, through the internet, and mobilise them for community science and social impact activities offline."

What are the highlights of your current role/what do you enjoy the most?

"It has been both challenging and interesting. I have had the opportunity to contribute to what I would call pioneering initiatives across different sectors, especially in public health and education. What I enjoy most is that I get to be involved at all levels - from the grassroots in rural communities in Ghana, to international platforms such as the Next Einstein Forum or Future Earth. This year alone, I have been involved in organising the first Africa Open Science & Hardware Summit, the second National Adolescent Reproductive Health Summit, and the first ever Ghana edition of Africa Science Week. My personal profile has grown greatly, and with it has come numerous awards and accolades. One of the most amazing moments was winning in the social impact category of the maiden UK Alumni Awards in Ghana last year."

How did the programme you studied prepare you for your role?

"The Environment and Human Health programme at Exeter was rigorous, intellectually stimulating, and hands-on at the same time. To this day, I apply concepts learnt during the Ecological Public Health and Project Design, Development, and Knowledge transfer modules directly in my day job in the public health field. Beyond that I draw on insights from the Environmental Science and Sustainable Practice module, in my work promoting environmental stewardship among school children and other segments of society. I am still working to turn my masters project into a community air quality monitoring initiative based on open principles. A first step is the air quality data hackathon we co-organised during Africa Science Week. The brilliant thing about the course is you become better in so many things like research, team work, analytical reasoning, writing, ideation, presentation, and organisation. People identify me in Ghana with science communication. That is something I learnt during my time at Exeter."

Why did you choose to study at the University of Exeter?

"I came across Exeter through the Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme (TGSS) website. I chose Exeter because I found the Environment and Human Health programme to be very focused and suited to the kind of problems I was interested in solving at the time, like the scourge of electronic waste in Agbogbloshie in Accra. Also, Exeter exuded this vibe of a modern, forward-looking, and ambitious environment. It sounded like the sort of place I wanted to be. It turned out my programme was based at the Knowledge Spa, at the Truro Campus. My actual experience in Cornwall was special. I have no doubt that I came to the right place for my masters degree. If I should have the opportunity to pursue a PhD at the University of Exeter, I would gladly take it up!"

What advice would you give to current or prospective students?

"Start with the end in mind, but have the courage to change course when needed. The Environment and Human Health field is a hot cake thanks to the current global discourse on sustainable development. With an Exeter degree, you are equipped to make great impact in the world, and also do very well for yourself. The great thing about the lecturers is that they give you room to develop your interests, while not being too far to support when needed. Please take full advantage of your interactions with them and other opportunities in the university. The Career Zone for example has great programmes to help you strengthen your professional skills. Studying in Cornwall is not just about the course; please take time to explore the beautiful environment, enjoy the local social activities, and form great networks that would last you a lifetime."

Date: 22 January 2019

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