June 3, 2022

From Switzerland to Ghana, volunteering as a data scientist in residence mentor

Ishango fellowships are possible because of the people that put their time and dedication to build a program that will be enriching and offer budding African data scientists the necessary skills for their data science journey. With the Ghana 2022 fellowship starting this Monday 6th of June 2022, and after months of planning, recruiting and putting together the best fellowship, we are happy to introduce our Data Scientist in Residence for the Ghana cohort: Jan Ravnik.

Jan is a physicist by education. He did his PhD in physics in his hometown Ljubljana and continued his work as a postdoctoral researcher at Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland. He enjoyed working in both places but has learned that lab work is not for him and that he enjoys coding and looking at the data much better, and that’s why he pursued his career in data science. Currently, he works for one of the major global banks Credit Suisse as a data scientist.

How did you hear about Ishango?

I heard about Ishango from my colleague Oliver at Credit Suisse. He was the volunteer data scientist in residence last time in Rwanda and with all of his excitement, it was not hard for him to convince me to volunteer for the same cause.

Why did you choose to come to Ishango?/What do you want to get out of it?

There is not a single reason why I chose to join, but rather a combination of them. I have always been passionate about volunteering and I have done it in many different settings so far. I also strongly believe that good access to education and equal job opportunities are extremely important and I believe Ishango is striving to achieve that. Mentoring students is something that I have always enjoyed, especially on interesting projects such as the ones that the students pursue during the Ishango fellowship. I believe through mentoring one can learn a lot, both on the technical as well as on the interpersonal side and I am really looking forward to engaging in the work with Ishango.

How has your experience prepared you to be a successful mentor for the fellows?

I have previously done quite a lot of teaching and mentoring and I have always enjoyed it a lot.

I believe that a good mentor is not necessarily the person who is a great expert in the field (of course this doesn’t hurt), but the one who can identify the student’s needs and guide them through the work/study process in order to make them more efficient to grow both professionally and personally.

Thank you, Jan for volunteering to be our Data Scientist in Residence for the Ghana 2022 cohort. We wish you a great time with the fellows in Accra, Ghana, enjoy your stay and let’s make some impact with the fellows.