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We are in the week 5 of our iSTEP research internship.  I can’t believe how time passes by so fast! We are exactly in the mid-way of completing our research internship here in the beautiful green fast-paced city of Yelahanka, Bengaluru – India.There are so many good times to remember and so many good times yet to look forward to.  Ofcourse, there were times when I felt overwhelmed, times when my team-members got stressed out, times when we had to step back and reassess our strategy.  These things do happen in real-world work place and any experienced researcher from our field would share similar views as ours.  I am glad that I have derived a lot of practical knowledge from iSTEP.  Most importantly, iSTEP has helped me learn about myself a lot better.  I have learnt to cross the communication bridge by initiating interaction with people different than me.  These are just a few personal insights from my iSTEP work experience.  This week however, I want to describe to you my work responsibilities.  I will briefly go through each work and I really hope you would enjoy reading them.  Also, please feel free to comment, like and share this post with your friends and anyone who you think would be a potential iSTEP participant like me.

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Responsibility: 1 – Coordinate IRB (Institutional Review Board) Procedures and Protocol:

Basically, I am responsible to make sure that the signed IRB consent forms are secured and the confidentiality of each research participant is well maintained throughout the duration of our research work here.  I assign random numbers to each participant and make sure no personal identifiers are revealed.  I keep a check on my team in the matters of the IRB and in return my team members keep a check on me 😛

Security, password-protection, folder-encryption are some of the finest words that can define this special aspect of my work responsibility 😉

Responsibility: 2 – Serve as a Partner Liasion:

This is one of the best aspects of my work here at Mathru.  With this responsibility (which I also share with SL), I am able to frame some meaningful work relationships with everyone here at Mathru.  By “everyone”, I mean EVERYONE – Ms. Muktha, Ms. Nandini, Ms. Vidya, Ms. Teju Didi (if you did not know… “Didi” means “Sister”), Ms. Manjula Aunty (I thank her everyday for serving us hot tea in the mornings and in the evenings, also not to forget the fruit juice (and fruit salad last week)), Krishna Gowda (I thank him everyday for transporting us safely to Mathru from home and vice-versa), Teachers, Students, and Staff.  If there is anything that the iSTEP team wants to communicate to Mathru (be it work-related OR non-word-related), I help facilitate the communication.  For instance, my work responsibility began at 3:00 AM on June 2 (Sunday) when I first landed here from Doha.  My iSTEP team arrived about 2.5 hours later (wait! it was 3 hours – arrival, immigration, baggage, custom…).  So, I had to communicate with Ms. Muktha our arrival situation and serve as liaison between members of iSTEP team INSIDE the airport and Ms. Muktha waiting OUTSIDE the airport.

RESPONSIBILITY: 3 – Literature Review

I share this responsibility with Aditya (who also takes careof data-management, user-testing, research findings etc. with Avia).  This is a fantastic (and also somewhat daunting) task but the benefits received from this task to the team are beyond measure.  Basically, I look at various articles from credible sources and see if there is anything that addresses the work we are doing here (so that we do not re-invent the wheel when it has already been invented).

RESPONSBILITY: 4 – Final-Report Coordinator

Towards the end of the internship, there is nothing more rewarding than publishing a report that describes all the work we did over the summer.  In this regard, I coordinate with the iSTEP team to make sure that each of us (including me!)completes their assigned section (section topics that address directly to the work we do).  Atleast, for my team (stop guessing! I am part of the Needs Assessment Team if you did not know :P), I make note of due dates and sections that we ought to complete. In addition, I got to make sure (as per Ermine’s directions) that the paper is free of grammatical errors or any other mistakes (truly unintentional mistakes I must say!).

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RESPONSIBILITY: 5 – Interview Coordinator

I share this responsibility with SL.  So far, I have done four interviews and I am hoping to do more interviews as we begin to focus on assessing the needs at Mathru’s new Differently-Abled school from next week.  After the completion of an interview, I transcribe the comments and hand them over to Avia for her data-analysis and research findings (she shares this responsibility with Aditya).  During the same course of time, the whole Needs Assessment team also initiates internal debriefing session to discuss observations and findings from the interviews and or class observations.  This helps us reassess and redesign (if needed) our future course of action.

RESPONSIBILITY: 6 – Social Media Person (I just invented this :P)

You may have very well heard of VIP, VVIP, and others.  I am the SMP! (well yes it is definitely not like being a VIP or something :P) Basically, in this new responsibility, I will provide weekly updates to Ermine starting this week on how our marketing outreach has been.  (Believe me! the first few weeks of our internship drew a lot of audience – we are trying to keep up the numbers!).  This means updating her on the status of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blog, Mail Chimp – some of the social media outlets that we use regularly.

RESPONSIBILITY: 7 – The accidental Photographer! (and other miscellaneous tasks!)

iSTEP has helped me practice and refine my photography skills.  As a result of this responsibility, I serve as a source for images to the team (hey! a picture speaks a thousand words… I heard that somewhere!) For instance, I was assigned to take various snapshots of the work premise for the Website Development.  Also, I was “kind-of” an official photographer during the visit of a well-known Justice to Mathru.  Other than that, I work on some marketing-related tasks such as initiating preliminary content development for the iSTEP newsletter.

Well that’s all for now. Learn one thing – I love what I do and working with a talented team makes my work even more interesting.  I hope you enjoyed reading my blog post.  Before I leave, I want to share with you two of my favorite quotes from the list of my most memorable life quotes.  They just inspire me all the time.

Quote: 1

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.”

– Gandalf, the Great sayingto Galadriel, the royal Elf from the movie “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

Quote: 2

“Everyday is a chance to renew anew and I choose to be that”

– From a poster that was stuck on the window of a taxi cab in Cape Town, South-Africa

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