Tell us a bit about yourself and your professional interests
I am a medical doctor keenly interested in artificial intelligence (mainly virtual and augmented reality and machine learning) and its application in improving healthcare, especially in newborn, child, and maternal health.
What were your expectations of the internship?
I am not sure what I expected. Especially because it was like a transition for me, going from a hybrid clinical/data science setting to a full data science setup. Plus, the first week was a bit challenging; the onboarding process.
Tell us about your workplace
Morphologically, I believe the office complex, the Quarry House in Leeds, was designed by architects who are good at hiding treasures and giving you structural déjà vu moments. Every time you think you are in the right place it turns out to be an identical but wrong location. However, functionally, my office was both virtual and actual. So, my office could be just me at my table, or virtually with four different teams per day. It was interesting.
What was the work experience like?
My team lead had selected a project tailored to my strength and a supervisor almost a month before I arrived. There was a weekly meeting to evaluate my progress or challenges. I received multiple professional training sessions based on my level of proficiency. I also got the chance to choose an additional project I wanted to do.
What did you enjoy most?
First, I think the people. It was family-like. But then, you got a chance to be independent and everyone in your team wanted to help you solve any technical challenge you had. Although I was operating at the level of an intern (executive officer in this case), there was a symbiotic exchange of strengths. I loved the fact that I could share my medical experience in some tasks and that the team could share their data science experience too. So, it was a perfect team to be in. Everyone mattered.
What did you discover from the internship?
I think interning with the civil service was the best part of my internship. The organisational culture there is quite different. You have your own project and your team has its project(s) and your team is also part of a broader team. There is this interoperability between teams, departments, and other service organisations.
I hope to take my knowledge and experience into being a part of healthcare data science or artificial intelligence projects in the future. I hope more civil service departments partake as host organisations (in addition to DHSC) in future editions of the HDR UK Black Internship Programme.
What has happened to you since the internship and do you still have links to the programme?
I got an extension with my host organisation and currently still interning. I believe there is a lot to offer and a lot to learn from them. I do have strong links with the programme. I am now a part of the alumni community.
I also got the opportunity to co-host the 2024 edition of HDR UK Black Internship Programme live session for aspiring applicants, and I have been advocating and reaching out to more people on the need to apply for the internship and how they can be a part of the project. Also, I recently graduated with a distinction in my MSc at Sheffield Hallam University. It has been an amazing journey so far.
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