Full name: Melody Mitugo
Studied: Chemical and Process Engineering
Job: Research & Development Engineer
Works at: Sanergy.
Tell me more about your current job?
I’ve been a member of the New Technology Commercialisation Engineering Design Team at Sanergy for two years. I’m a Research & Development Engineer – I design and run trials at pilot scale. I am focusing on optimising the lifecycle of the Black Soldier Fly to allow us to scale up production of ecofriendly animal feed from 30 tonnes per month (our pilot scale) to 300 tonnes! The whole project is linked to the Fresh Life non-profit arm of the company which is installing sanitary toilets in slums, which are then emptied frequently – this waste is then delivered to our factory for processing. You can read more about this incredible project HERE.
I started off as an intern after I applied on an online recruitment site. The initial internship was 3 months but we extended it and then I got a full-time job in the R&D Team.
What skills do you use for your job?
I use a lot of data analysis to understand the results of experiments and design new ones. I also use project management and stakeholder management. I use process optimisation – supported by AutoCAD I create process flow and work out the best layouts for different bits of equipment in an experiment.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a neurosurgeon.
What is your favourite colour?
Black – it’s slimming!
“I’m inspired by a project manager at Sanergy called Karie, she seems really confident and self-assured, she lives by her own rules and I find it really inspiring – I feel like I want to be like her.”
What hobbies do you have?
I read a lot; mostly African contemporary literature. My favourite writers are Chimamanda Ngozi, Chinua Achebe and Ayobami Adebayo – she wrote a really famous book called Stay with Me. I also like Middle Eastern books about war and relationships, like Khalid Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. I like to travel and to watch reality TV and I love the Patriot Act on Netflix. I am a skincare product enthusiast – I tend to spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos about products and a lot of money buying them…
What is your favourite animal?
Elephant and dog. I have two dogs at home, Teddy and Tyler – to me, they are pets but to everyone else, they are guard dogs. I’m really glad I got over my allergies.
What is your favourite food?
Spaghetti carbonara. Ethiopian cuisine. Anything with cheese. And wine.
Where is your favourite place?
The beaches of Kilifi.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Maths was definitely my favourite.
What languages do you speak?
English, swahili, meru and about 10 words of spanish.
What alternative career might you have followed?
I would have been an interior designer or a dog walker.
What is an interesting fact about yourself?
I love to plan way out in advance for everything and I have an obsession with stationery.
What is your coolest achievement?
In November, I’ll be giving a lecture at an AutoDesk conference in Las Vegas from an industrial perspective of using the AutoCAD tool.
For the finale of this amazing journey to Africa, I joined a group and hiked up Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, and the highest free-standing peak in the world. It’s a 5,895m (19,341ft) high dormant volcano that springs up into three cones – Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. Uhuru Peak is the highest summit … Continue reading 20. Trekking to the roof of Africa
My two weeks at APOPO has flown by. Today is my last day and so I’m feeling a little sad but it really has been amazing and I think I’ve made the most of it. I started today in Lily’s office as usual but we had a coffee and actually finally got round to completing … Continue reading 19. Wrapping up my time with APOPO including a Full Cheek Friday Feast
I was tired this morning after waking up to another rainy day. I started off by documenting all of the rats in the breeding kennels (which spelled completion of my Head Office rat audit!) and then I finished up adding the information to the master spreadsheet. Then I interviewed Pendo, a wonderful character at APOPO. … Continue reading 18 APOPO training, welfare, research and data