Professors Without Borders Think Tank

From intern to Thinktank Manager, Mariam has made her mark at PROWIBO. In her words, here is why working with PROWIBO is worth it.

How long have you been working at PROWIBO?

‘I’ve been working for one year and five months.’

Why did you join, and what role did you have?

‘I joined PROWIBO as I wanted to understand the inner workings of a charity and as I believed in PROWIBO’s mission and values. I couldn’t find a better place to learn. I started with PROWIBO as an intern and after completing my internship successfully, I was asked to remain as an associate researcher.’

As ThinkTank Manager, what were your main goals and accomplishments?

‘My main goal was to use the Thinktank as a platform to publish research and organise conferences on hot topics in higher education and create a safe space for much-needed discussions in this field.  

My main accomplishment was launching the ‘Access Initiative’ with the help of the co-founder Majeks Walker. The initiative creates a platform for academics from racialized minority backgrounds to share knowledge and dismantle barriers. Under this initiative, I’ve organised a conference on improving access in higher education that aims to dismantle the barriers faced by black academics.  

Another great accomplishment was putting together the first virtual conference by PROWIBO. The conference brought together professors and students from around the world who shared their experiences with higher education during the time of COVID.’

Where did you have your biggest impact at PROWIBO?

‘I had my biggest impact by organising two virtual conferences one on ‘Higher Education in the Time of COVID’ and another on access in higher education for black academics. Both conferences brought together an amazing group of participants that shared their knowledge and personal experiences in higher education.’

What did you learn while working with PROWIBO?

‘I worked for PROWIBO for over a year, and in three different positions, I learnt quite a lot. As an intern, I learnt how to generally work within the charity and to use WordPress and social media professionally and maintain the organisation’s branding. I also learned how to work remotely with an international team and the challenges and benefits of working with such a team. 

As an associate researcher, I learnt how to write internal and external reports as I received supervision and guidance every step of the way. I also learnt how to manage a team of interns as I worked with the Thinktank Projects Manager at the time supervising and assigning tasks to different team members depending on their abilities.’

What was the hardest part of your job?

‘When I started working for PROWIBO, I was a full-time postgraduate student and had to learn how to maintain a balance between my work and studies. After I graduated, I continued to work for PROWIBO while looking for a job which always required me to manage my time and work effectively.’ 

What would you like to see PROWIBO improve/achieve in the next year?

‘I would like to see PROWIBO expand with its summer courses not only by going to more countries in the global South but also by working with socioeconomically challenged students in Europe such as students facing homelessness or refugees. Additionally, I would like to see PROWIBO use its Thinktank platform to publish more thought-provoking research, especially under the Access and Women Initiatives. 

This can be done by putting together an information package to circulate between MA/Ph.D. Students and showing what they can get back from contributing e.g., title of research fellow, guidance and feedback by experts from outline to final draft, a publication that can be added to CV/ LinkedIn, small reviews from the former authors (how did publishing with PROWIBO help their career).’

What’s next for you?

‘I would like to work in the field of political research and security for some years and build my professional profile. After gaining more professional experience, I would like to pursue a Ph.D. in political sociology with a focus on social movements in the Middle East.’  

“Many thanks to Mariam for spearheading the Access Initiative and taking over the Thinktank during the COVID Crisis. I look forward to following in her footsteps and making my own mark in education.”

Rebekah Sadovnikov, Thinktank Manager