Santiago Internship Spotlight: Kosisochukwu Irene Ugorji
Kosisochukwu Irene Ugorji
Age: 18 years old
Education: First year engineering student (SEAS)
WHAT I LEARNED FROM A COMPETITION
“The Interswitch competition was meant to be the biggest national science competition of the year in Nigeria, so you can imagine my excitement when I got shortlisted as one of the top 81 students in my country. I spent the summer before the competition practicing problems in my science subjects, reading my textbooks, and working hard to get faster at math problems.
The competition was a one-week event where fellow students shortlisted worked on a project concerning a sustainable development goal, attended seminars, had team bonding events then battled against each other on a stage for the golden prize.
Hearing the words, "Kosi, your journey ends here," at the end of the semi-finals round, I was in complete shock before the devastation set in. I thought about all the time I sacrificed reading during the summer rather than going out with friends or watching TV; I thought of the cause I was representing: girls in STEM that I had let down. In short, I was heartbroken.
After a phone call with my mother, I decided to put my devastation behind me and talk to the other competitors. Being shy, this was extremely uncomfortable at first, but it turned out to be refreshing. I learned about the ways other schools prepared their students, I got a taste of the experience of going to a school in a different state than your hometown, I admired the doggedness of some competitors with less supportive parents and friends, and I made lifelong friends.
Reflecting on my experience, I see the value of the journey. The idea of winning still excites me, but I look forward to the shared laughter, deep conversations, and insightful moments. Now, I am a more confident person constantly looking for ways to meet different people and gain exciting new experiences.”
“I have a research internship at the Universidad de Concepción laboratory. Under the leadership of Felipe Zuniga, I focus on Extracellular Vesicles (EV) and perform bibliographic research on the uses of exosomes as regenerative medicine. For the final project, I have to write a research review.
I have enjoyed the internship and learnt a lot from it. My supervisor and I meet once every two weeks to check on my progress and talk about difficulties and he is very friendly and accommodating!”