It’s fascinating to see research output meet the needs of society: Meet Brakemi Egbedi

Brakemi Egbedi is an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Marine Sciences, University of Lagos. She obtained her B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the above named department, with a specialization in Fisheries. She has as her areas of interest: seafood by-products utilization and biotechnology. Her PhD research basically focuses on utilizing fish by-products in the development of high value products. Through her research, she hopes to contribute to combating the world’s problem on hunger and poverty as well as ensuring the sustainable use of the ocean’s resources.

She looks forward to speaking about fish by-products utilization and why we should care about it, during her soap box presentation.

Soapbox Science: how did you get to your current position?

My name is EGBEDI Brakemi. I term my entry into the world of academia as providential; a ‘Scientific career received on a platter of gold’.

After my University education, I made up my mind not to pursue a Masters or a career in academia. My Undergraduate supervisors tried talking me out of it but I turned deaf ears to all their words of encouragement and advice. As fate would have it, after a mandatory one-year national service to my country, I was offered a job as an academic in the Department of Marine Sciences, owing to my sound academic records during my BSc. Degree. After much consideration, I accepted the offer because I realized the great horizon the world of academia offered me. This was the beginning of my journey in the world of academia.

SS: What, or who, inspired you to get a career in science?

From a tender age I found myself naturally drawn towards the field of science. It was more appealing to me than other fields of study.  As I grew older, I realized that my zeal to contribute to solving the needs of humanity could only be attained if I embraced a career in science.

SS: What is the most fascinating aspect of your research/work?

First of all, my job in academia is two-fold: Teaching and conducting research. 

Teaching gives me the opportunity to share my knowledge with others which I enjoy a lot. The most rewarding part for me as a teacher is when I see my students understand difficult concepts they felt could never be comprehended.

The most fascinating part of my life as a researcher is seeing my research output meet the needs of society no matter how little it may be. Although I haven’t made any novel discoveries yet, I have been able to identify problems and proffer solutions through my research. Being of service to others via my research, always gives me real joy.

 SS: What attracted you to Soapbox Science in the first place?

Two things attracted me to the Soapbox Science forum.

The fact that I will be able to speak to a wide audience about what I am passionate about and in the process, inspire young girls to embrace a career in science, was the first attracting force for me.

Secondly, the Soapbox science provides a wonderful platform to network with other researchers from various disciplines and to engage with non-scientists who are eager to learn about what I do.

SS: If you could change one thing about the scientific culture right now, what would it be?

I would change the ‘Publish or Perish culture’. This attitude has led many researchers to compromise on standard practices and has paved the way for unethical practices to thrive. A consequence of this is the birth of many predatory journals. In addition, the ‘publish or perish culture’ has turned the focus of research into searching for ‘novelties’ (which in itself isn’t bad) to make a grand paper and / or win awards, at the expense of conducting research which serve the needs of society.

SS: What would be your top recommendation to a woman studying for a PhD and considering pursuing a career in academia?

Studying for a PhD and working as an academia is very demanding but also very rewarding. Never go in for a PhD or a career in academia because everyone seems to be doing it or because you do not have a job. Do them because you want to and because you wish to make a positive contribution to your academic field and to the world as a whole. This for me, is the yardstick for true success and the source of joy in the life of a PhD student and an academician.

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