Spotlight on Kim Obaigbona and Ayanfe Kosoko from the 10,000 Black Interns programme

This summer, Kim and Ayanfe joined the Crick as part of the 10,000 Black Interns programme to spend time in our Operations, Facilities and Legal teams. We caught up with Kim and Ayanfe to hear about their time at the Crick, and their advice on making sure the Crick fosters an inclusive culture.




Tell us about yourself. What do you do now and what are your future goals?

Hello, my name is Kim! I am a civil engineering student at the University of Leeds, and I am originally from Liverpool. I recently completed my summer internship at the Crick through the 10,000 Black Interns programme, which involved rotating across the institute’s different departments to gain some real-life experience in my field of interest.

After graduating from university, I would like to become a chartered civil engineer and work for an engineering firm. As I am still in the early stages of my degree, I do not know what sector of civil engineering I would like to focus on yet. It’s so broad and varied! However, after gaining more experience, I aim to become a project manager for large infrastructure projects, such as bridges or sewers, or to become an in-house consultant.

Tell us about the team you worked in. What’s it like?

I’ve had the benefit of working in two different teams within the Crick: Operations and Utilities, and Facilities and Infrastructure. When I first started my internship, I was working in the Service Delivery, who make sure our scientists have everything they need to do their research, overseeing an audit of scientific equipment. 

For a project of this magnitude, there was a lot of planning and logistics involved. This allowed me to work on my independence as I was setting tasks for myself and greatly improved my communication and networking skills, as I had to communicate with quadrant managers, who look after groups of labs at the Crick.

Midway through the internship, I transferred to working on building and project management, which was a very different experience. I was able to learn more about the active projects in the building, such as the floor extensions on the roof and the workshop expansions.

I also got to shadow project managers and consultants, and I was able to see how aspects of my degree are applied. I also had the chance to work independently on my portfolio with the help of colleagues in the department. During the second placement, I worked on an ongoing construction project at the Crick and helped to create digital sketches of the final construction.

What’s been your favourite thing about working at the Crick?

During my first week at the Crick, I was lucky enough to attend ‘Bring Your Culture to Work Day’. This was a great introduction to the institute as I got to see my own and many other cultures being celebrated and acknowledged in a very positive way.

Ultimately, the best part about working at the Crick were the people. While working at the Crick, I had the amazing opportunity to meet so many wonderful colleagues who I would love to keep in regular contact with. Everyone I have met went above and beyond to help, mentor, and guide me through my internship. I learned invaluable lessons about my degree and future career. I feel that working at the Crick has given me a leg up among my peers thanks to the unparalleled support and advice I received.

We want to attract a diverse range of people to join the Crick. Can you give us one piece of advice on making sure the Crick fosters an inclusive culture?

I think that activities like our Crick Interns Lunch were a great idea: they introduced new starters into the Crick and gave us a chance to interact with colleagues! In addition to this, finding out about events through the Crick’s intranet gave me the opportunity to attend staff network meetings such as PRISM, the Crick’s race equity network, and Proud Crick, the Crick’s LGBTQ+ equity network.

I think more frequent staff network meetings would allow interns to build a greater sense of community within the Crick. Additionally, more Crick-wide events like Bring Your Culture to Work Day would give people a way to positively express and appreciate theirs and other identities, which would foster a more diverse environment. 



Tell us about yourself. What do you do and what are your future goals?

Hello! My name is Ayanfe and I just finished my second year at the University of Warwick, where I’m pursuing a degree in Law. Although I was born in England, I lived in Nigeria for most of my life and spent most of my secondary education at a boarding school in Kenya.

My career goals are to qualify as a solicitor and develop my legal career in England. I have always been interested in in-house legal work and how it differs from that of law firms, thus my experience at the Crick has been invaluable. As for the more distant future, I hope to move back home to Nigeria and improve the lives of less privileged people in Lagos by building affordable housing.

Tell us about the team you’re working in. What’s it like?

The Legal, Governance and Compliance (LGC) team at the Crick was a joy to work in this summer. Everyone on the team was comfortable and friendly with each other – something I always noticed in our bi-weekly social calls. There was so much joy among team members and always an air of familiarity – it almost felt like a group of friends catching up!

During my internship, there was a real emphasis on getting me to learn as much as I could about the ways of working. I never once felt like a burden, which is sadly the case in many internships. Rather I felt part of the team, taking on meaningful tasks that assisted my colleagues and gave me real insight into the work they do here at the Crick.

When joining and observing our meetings, I noticed the open communication style of the team. Even though they may have been working on different contracts or projects, questions and point of clarification usually came up, and other team members were always willing to clarify and share knowledge. I think this stems from the fact that though there are senior members of the team, everyone talks to their colleagues with the same level of respect, enabling an environment of approachability.

What’s been your favourite thing about working at the Crick?

Apart from the salted caramel muffins at the café, which I will miss dearly, my favourite thing about working at the Crick was the ‘catch-up culture’. My first couple of weeks were made up of speaking to various other colleagues, and it truly helped me feel at ease.

Walking around the Crick, I would always spot people catching up over a cup of coffee at the café, or in the corridors, or even at people’s desks. It’s refreshing to see an organisation emphasising values such as collaboration and seeing them embedded into everyday practice!

We want to attract a diverse range of people to join the Crick. Can you give us one piece of advice on making sure the Crick fosters an inclusive culture?

Having another intern on the 10,000 Black Interns program was key in making me feel comfortable here. The Crick is a large organisation, so it can be easy to feel like a wallflower. Having a fellow intern that is in a similar position to you in terms of job level and demographic helps create a feeling of belonging. It’s as though, subconsciously, seeing someone in such a similar position to mine helped me see the Crick as a safe space.

My advice would be to connect new employees, especially those who come from underrepresented communities, with others in similar positions. This would ensure that ethnically diverse or more junior newcomers have a ‘buddy’, or friendly face, at the Crick.

Also, I read about the PRISM Book Club on the intranet, which I think is a great initiative to foster inclusivity. Although the books delve into some social issues that are complex and challenging, PRISM’s inclusive space creates opportunities for people to learn about different experiences and perspectives, in a comfortable way. I would have loved the opportunity to attend one and think it would have been a great way to create new connections in the context of equity, diversity and inclusion.

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