October 21, 2017

A day in the life of an ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH SCIENTIST

Name: Isaac Kudu

Qualification: MPhil. Nuclear & Environmental Protection & Bsc. Biochemistry

Secondary School/s attended: Mfantsipim School, Cape Coast

Tertiary Institution/s attended: University of Ghana, Legon.   Kwame Nkrumah       University of Science and Technology, Kumasi.

  

  • I got in to my job after I completed my master of philosophy programme at the Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences and I got the opportunity to work in my current role with the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission. The school was established by Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) and University of Ghana (UG) with the collaboration of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to champion the preservation and advancement of nuclear knowledge Ghana and Africa.

 

  • My day usually starts at 8:30am and ends at 5:00pm

 

  • On a typical day, upon arrival at work, I check my e-mail inbox for correspondence that may require immediate action. I then go to the laboratory to work on various environmental media (water, soil or air samples) and food samples to analyze for heavy metals and a class of chemical contaminants known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as pesticide residues and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). POPs are toxic chemicals that do not easily breakdown and thus remain in the environment for a long time.

 

  • On days that I am not working in the laboratory, I meet with my colleagues to develop research proposals to seek for funds or we go out to the field to retrieve samples from air samplers deployed at various monitoring sites. I spend the last hour and half of my day at work to catch up on science news in general and to read journal articles related to my area of work.

 

  • The best part of my job is when I try to communicate scientific concepts and terminologies in simple and easy to understand language to primary and junior high school children who come on educational visits, it is rewarding to see smiles on their faces as they begin to understand and appreciate the scientific concepts.

 

  • The worst part of my job is when the lack of equipment and funds limits you from venturing into new areas of research in my area of work.

  

  • A memorable moment I have had was in July 2016 when the idea my colleagues and I submitted for the SAG-SEED Starter Ideas Competition was selected together with eleven other ideas out of 59 applications for a five day capacity building workshop. The competition was opened to teams who wish to develop green and inclusive business solutions to key social and environmental challenges in Ghana. The idea we presented was to create economic value out of the glass from end-of-life TV screens and Computer monitors.

 

  • Outside of work I enjoy reading, playing scrabble and engaging in volunteering activities. I enroll on online courses to learn new things to broaden my knowledge. Last but not least I am learning to do some blogging on environmental issues.

 

  • My advise is never despise small beginnings! Every invention or accomplishment known to mankind started as an idea that was nurtured over time. So believe in your ideas no matter how insignificant they may seem and nurture them.