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FIT students Internship Experience at IBM’s Africa Research Lab

IBM, one of the world’s greatest IT companies, recently opened its very first research lab in Africa. The research lab is geared towards conducting both applied and far reaching exploratory research. IBM Research’s mission in Africa is to strengthen an innovative culture and engage entrepreneurs and innovators to develop solutions for challenges that affect society.

Six students from Faculty of Information Technology; Eddy Onditi and Peris Kuria (BBIT), Eddie Collins, Faith Murigi and Lion Alushula (Bsc. IF) and Kelvin Mungai (BTC) graced the launch of this research lab as the first undergraduate interns recruited in an organization that has in the past only recruited Masters and PhD interns.
Dr. Kamal Bhattacharya, Director of IBM Research- Africa, said the decision to go with undergraduate interns was a strategic move, which though had initial uncertainty; paid off in the end, he was impressed by the hard work and determination exhibited by the interns.

With renewed energy in Africa, IBM intends to collaborate with various academic institutions across the continent and Strathmore was the first to benefit from the newly established IBM Global Research Lab in Nairobi. Many thanks to the Director of @iLab Africa, Dr. Joseph Sevilla.

Innovation that matters
This one of IBM’s core values. In a bid to strengthen an innovative culture here in Kenya, IBM Research Africa is very to give proper meaning to Innovation.
As Dr. Kamal puts it, “Innovation that matters is that which impacts positively on society and is commercially viable”. This is innovation that improves people’s lives and boosts the country’s economy.

Dr. Uyi Stewart, Chief Scientist at IBM Research Africa, explains their mission in Africa, “IBM Research Africa is the model that will help innovators identify the ecosystem, put their innovation concept into a channel and drive it into commercial success.”

Role model mentorship.
Each intern was assigned a Research Engineer as a mentor to guide and advise them through the entire internship period. The mentors were based in Nairobi, Tokyo, China and New York. Besides being technical experts in various fields, the mentors served as role models to the students, advising them on how best to foster their careers as they approach final year undergraduate studies.