To the White House and Beyond
I owe ‘what’, ‘who’ and ‘where’ I am in my career and professional practice today to OWSD because without the PHD Fellowship, all my achievements today would have been nothing but bleak.
“Without OWSD, my PhD program would have extended beyond eight frustrating years. It may be interesting to note that my PhD research got stalled for years (1996 - 2004) because there were no reagents for Virological studies in Nigeria then and I could not afford to import them to Nigeria. So I just got stuck, confused, deliberating on changing the topic to what was available, accessible and affordable in Nigeria although against my interest. While I was in this dilemma, I received the OWSD award for the sandwich program (2003-2004) attainable at the Institut de Dakar, Senegal. Within a year I completed my PhD research and graduated from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in 2005. “
As the Head and Co-coordinator of a new program (Medical Laboratory Science) in my home Institution, University of Maiduguri, I was appointed Director of the WHO Polio Laboratory in Maiduguri, Nigeria from 2006-2016. In 2009, I was promoted to the position of Professor of Medical Virology at Maiduguri University.
Recently, OWSD sponsored me for a short course on Medical Virology, organized by Global Virus Net in Baltimore, Maryland, from July 13-19. My participation in the course took me to the White House (Office of Science and Technology) where we interacted with the Special Advisors to the US President on Science and Health related issues. Being in the White House was a rare privilege and opportunity. That interaction was an eye opener to the fact that biological research findings should form the basis for policy formulation, implementation and funding of researches on health related issues.
In 2016, OWSD sponsored my participation at the 5th General Assembly and International Conference on Women in Science and Technology for the developing World held at Kuwait in 2016. Recently, the World Health Organization (Regional Office) has appointed me Technical Officer for Environmental Surveillance on Polio eradication program at Congo Brazzaville.
Overall, the impact of OWSD on me is immeasurable and unquantifiable in terms of the number of students I have taught, supervised and mentored and my contribution to the development of Nigeria. I owe ‘what’, ‘who’ and ‘where’ I am in my career and professional practice today to OWSD because without the foundation of the PHD Fellowship, all my achievements today and future would have been nothing but a bleak.”
Baba Marycelin is now a Professor of Medical Virology at University of Maiduguri in Nigeria.