Dr Catherine Kibirige, Research Associate in the Department of Infectious Disease and Dr Jing Pang, Industry Partnerships & Commercialisation Senior Executive (FoE) in the Enterprise department, share their learnings and experience of taking part in the Imperial As One Media Academy. They talk about why they took part in the academy, what they learnt and how the programme has helped with their career development.
Q&A with Dr Ada Mau, 2022 cohort
Can you introduce yourself and what you’re currently doing?
I'm Ada Mau and I’m a research associate in the Central Outreach Department. So, I work on research projects that look at ways to support different groups of young people in getting into places like Imperial, and foster their interest in STEM by understanding the barriers they may face when trying to access STEM learning.
Why did you decide to join the Media Academy?
I became aware of the Media Academy due to my association with Imperial As One. My interest was further piqued when individuals who had previously participated in the program recommended it. I’ve been involved in research for some time now, but there’s always room for improvement when it comes to engaging with various demographics to disseminate or communicate my findings. Many of us, particularly those involved in STEM education, aim to affect change, make an impact, or assist others somehow. The question then arises: how can we improve our communication strategies and reach a wider audience? So, I thought it would be beneficial to learn something new.
How was your experience?
It was really good! The programme was well-organised, and the timetables were arranged and communicated clearly to us in advance. We had many experts from different areas, which I found really useful. I also liked how flexible it was - I couldn’t make one of the sessions due to a clash, but I could still participate as it was recorded. The communication teams organising and running the programme were very supportive and helpful.
What new skills did you learn?
I have found tips on self-communication and support for specific projects useful. Applying social media strategies and adhering to certain do’s and don’ts have been particularly helpful. Also, considering matters at a policy level is an approach that could prove beneficial in the long run.
What did you like most about the Media Academy?
I think it's a nice training opportunity that happens over a period of time that is just right. Because sometimes you could do trainings that are either too short and you don't get enough out of it, or it's too much and becomes overwhelming. I think the Media Academy was the right duration of time with the right number of sessions. Being able to meet fellow attendees and talking to them was a great opportunity as well.
Why should people participate in this programme?
The programme provides a variety of skills and insights including communication and showcasing your research. It is crucial to remember that most research is publicly funded. Therefore, we have an obligation to share our findings with those who can benefit from them. Even if some skills are not immediately applicable, they are still valuable to remember and understand. It’s also an excellent opportunity to interact with colleagues from different disciplines, which can lead to shared learning and potential collaborations.
What tips and advice would you give the next cohort?
Well, first and foremost, enjoy it! Participate, share and ask questions. I think the programme covers quite a wide range of areas so there’ll be some things you might know already. But there will be plenty of other things you might still not have had any experience of so keep an open mind. Also, try to set aside time before or after sessions to review or think about the material. I think personal reflection on how the programme can apply to you can help you make the most of it.