Nchimunya Nelisa Tebeka
When I was a child I always admired the white lab coat that I saw the doctors and lab technicians wear each time I visited the hospital. The way they would glide down the hallway swinging their coats from left to right made me so envious! I decided then what I wanted to do with my life.
Upon my high school completion in Zambia, I was awarded a prestigious Pestalozzi scholarship to study the International Baccalaureate in a unique multicultural setup. Pestalozzi support helped me to create a strong foundation that will open doors of opportunity throughout my career. After a rewarding two years in the UK, I got accepted to study Natural Sciences at Jacobs.
I have now been studying Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BCCB) for a year and a half. Although challenging, this has been an amazing experience. The best moments in studying BCCB is when I am spending time in the laboratory working on amazing eye opening experiments and projects.
In summer of 2012, I was offered an internship at the Research institute of Wildlife Ecology (FIWI) in Vienna, Austria. My project was to come up with a biochemistry technique that would enable my supervisor to answer a particularly important question based on a research paper she was publishing. At first I was scared and nervous that I wouldn’t get things right. But I got back on my feet and after three months of intensive research and practical work, I managed to introduce this new technique to the institute. They were very pleased as it will be of great use even for the institute’s future publications.
During my stay in Vienna I had another opportunity at the Research institute of Ethology (KLVV) where I worked on a genetics project. It was from this experience that I finally decided on my specialisation in terms of my future career. For my master’s degree, I plan on studying forensics in DNA profiling. I have dreams of working in a big police investigation agency and helping protect the world.
My words of advice to the current Pestalozzi students are to work hard to attain your dreams. Things don’t just come to you if you sit there idly. Like a proverb that says "no sweet no sweat,” you can only succeed through determination and hard work.
I am currently working as a laboratory student assistant in a microbiology laboratory of one of my professors. I now have my own lab coat that I wear while researching, so I can smile at my childhood dreams and proudly say, "I am living the dream!”
(Updated: February 2013)