Visit to America's Dairyland

Posted on June 09, 2022

“It will suffice to state that the quantity of cheese I had in Madison is way beyond the quantity I have ever had in my entire life”. Not to get you so bloated with talks about cheese, Sunday Ochai, a PhD student of Prof Henriette van Heerden visited the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 4 months to further equip himself with theoretical, ecological, statistical and analytical skills needed for his study on the roles of host and environmental determinants on Bacillus anthracis exposure and mortality In Kruger National Park.

During his stay in Dr Wendy Turner’s (his co-supervisor) lab, he was exposed to the world of disease ecology where he was working to unravel how wild animal density influences disease outbreak and species susceptibility and or mortality. Together with experts in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, he worked to look at ways to analyse the wildlife animal census data from Kruger National Park and how these data correlate with anthrax mortality data and other environmental players such as rainfall, temperature and humidity. In the course of his stay in UW-Madison, he was also able to engage with other academics, experts and postgraduates on a number of research activities and manuscript development.

Sunday was also equipped with skills to tackle quantitative challenges in analyses of ecological and evolutionary data, and other hierarchical statistical data through a course he took on theoretical ecology. He was also given a thorough foundation in modern statistical methods for biosciences. As a future mentor, he also obtained a certificate in professional online training where he was exposed to contemporary methods of how to plan, develop, and teach an online course. This course provided him with evidence-based methods both in theory and practice to enable him to provide a practical and deep-rooted understanding of online education. Lastly, he also learnt the basic tenets and practices for online teaching.

Trip to Wisconsin-Madison Sunday Ochai
- Author Sunday Ochai
Published by Linda Poggenpoel

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