May 23, 2019

Intern Profile: Summer 2019 BIMEP Intern, Ngozi Chukwueke

Ngozi Chukwueke holding the Equatorial Guinea flag.
BIMEP Intern Ngozi Chukwueke with the flag of Equatorial Guinea.

This summer, Ngozi Chukwueke, a rising senior at the University of South Carolina, will be joining MCDI as an intern under our Bioko Island Malaria Elimination Project (BIMEP) in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

Chukwueke is majoring in Management and Marketing with a minor in Social Work. With BIMEP, Chukwueke will be assisting with monitoring and evaluation aspects of the program as well as in assisting with the project's in-country communications plan. We spoke with Chukwueke to learn more about her future plans and how her work with MCDI is a part of her career path.

How did you become interested in this internship position with MCDI?

I was fortunate enough to have this opportunity presented to me through a connection at my school, the University of South Carolina! Even though I am only a social work minor, I had an amazing social work professor whom I spoke with about my career aspirations in corporate social responsibility and my plans to serve in the Peace Corps after graduation. He put me in touch with a previous professor at USC who in turn shared with me this internship position at MCDI, usually used as fieldwork opportunity for Master of Social Work students at USC, and how it would give me hands on experience for my future goals. Of course, I jumped at the chance to experience a new culture and community, while helping to eliminate a persisting problem, malaria. I am extremely blessed to be assisting with such a meaningful project where I get the chance to do work that will impact others for a lifetime.

What interests you about international development work?

International development work interests me specifically because of my international background. My entire family is Nigerian, and I am a first generation American. International development is not just a hot topic for me; it is something that I can put names and faces with real issues that affect family members and friends abroad. Knowing that I have the ability to shape the present and future of people worldwide for the better because of the knowledge and resources I have now is an amazing opportunity to serve others that I could never pass up.

What interests you specifically about working in Equatorial Guinea with malaria?

A lot of my interest in international projects comes from the fact that along the way somewhere, I can find a personal thread with a family member or friend. I have seen family members contract malaria, but they've been fortunate enough to get well soon after because of access to medication and knowledge of how to treat the disease. This being said, I am aware of the fact that not everyone has the same educational resources and the access to treatment or preventative measures, which is something I want to change. My interests lie with Equatorial Guinea because there we have the opportunity to create tangible improvements for so many by making sure information is distributed freely and that everyone has the access to the resources they need to live a healthy and fulfilled life.

What is your ideal career path after graduation from the University of South Carolina?

Immediately after graduating from the University of South Carolina, I hope to serve in the Peace Corps in the Community Economic Development Sector. While my sights are not dead set on any specific country quite yet, I am hoping to be placed in an African country! Afterwards, I plan to return to the US, get my MBA, and begin a career in corporate social responsibility through work with major companies and corporations. I am definitely open to any twists or turns along the way!

How do you think your internship with MCDI will prepare you for your future career path?

People find their way into corporate social resposibility in many different ways, and I feel that my time with MCDI will help me find the path that is best suited for me. My ultimate goal for my career will always be to do the most good for as many possible, so as long as the projects I work on and the passions I pursue fit into that framework, I will always feel like I am being prepared for my future career path. I feel that my MCDI internship will give me a competitive advantage over others heading into my career field because I am getting to not only talk about the work I do, I'm experiencing it as well!

What are you most excited about learning during your internship?

I am most excited to learn how what happens in an office can translate into change in the community. Not a lot of people have the chance to work on a project this closely, from behind a desktop and in the field. I am getting the opportunity to do both, which I do not take lightly. I look forward to working with others who care deeply about the work they do, and learning from people who have much different lived experiences than me. Overall, I believe this experience will be transformative for me and I hope to help people in the same way others before me have.

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