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Reaching, engaging and supporting ECRs in the atmospheric chemistry community

ECR Spotlight: Priscilla Adong

Priscilla is an Associate Research Fellow with AirQo and doctoral researcher at the University College Dublin in Ireland.

What advice would you give to other early career researchers?

Find good mentors who can provide guidance, support, and advice based on their own experiences.

Embrace Failure; setbacks and failures are a natural part of the scientific work/research process, they let you know what does not work. Learn from them and adapt your approach to find out what does.

Network! Attend conferences, seminars, and workshops to meet fellow researchers and professionals in your field. Networking can open up opportunities for collaboration, learning, and career advancement.

How do you create a good work/life balance?

I reserve time for personal commitments on my calendar during the week.

I refrain from professional responsibilities over the weekends including responding to emails. This allows me time to rest and build a healthy lifestyle outside work.

What is the greatest challenge you face in working life?

Juggling professional responsibilities with personal commitments and maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be a significant challenge. Since work usually has fixed deadlines, I often find myself postponing personal commitments. I am actively working to change this.

What have been the high points of your career?

Being nominated for the International Visitors Leadership Program an exchange program run by the U.S. Department of State. It is such a privilege to be recognised in this way. Through the program, I met leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from more than 40 countries including from prestigious organisations and universities in the USA. The lessons from this experience are invaluable.

How did the skills you gained over your academic career translate to your current role at AirQo?

My academic background laid a foundation in programming, database management, academic writing and presentation skills, which seamlessly transitioned into my roles at AirQo as a Data Scientist and now an Associate Research Fellow. Although the specific programming languages and technologies I initially learned differed from those used at AirQo, the fundamental principles instilled in me, along with my innate curiosity and readiness to learn, facilitated a smooth adaptation to new tools and languages and achieved proficiency in Machine Learning. Flexibility and adaptability are essential traits, especially in dynamic fields like Machine Learning and its practical applications. Moreover, my master’s thesis significantly enhanced my research capabilities, enabling me to conduct thorough analyses and effectively communicate findings; a crucial aspect of my work at AirQo, where we engage with diverse audiences, including technical experts, policymakers, and the general public.

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