Intern Story: Stefani Kavango

  • by Stefani Kavango August 3, 2023
Intern Story: Stefani Kavango

My passion for science began at a young age, this inspired me to enroll for a 3 year Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at the Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST). As part of my study I was required to complete a 4-6 week internship with any organization of my choice and I had a good pick for that.

I had the good fortune to be offered a 4-week internship at the CCF Genetics Laboratory, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. The fact that we were in such a distant location pleased me; I have always loved being in the middle of nature, far from the bustle and noise of the city, so this was ideal for me.

During my time at the genetics lab, I assisted with almost everything happening in the laboratory. I was lucky to shadow Benny Munyandi who was working on the Scat Dog project at the time. This is a long-term project that aims to study the document cheetahs in Namibia through scat sampling, DNA is extracted from scat samples collected by the scat dog detection team. Working on scat DNA is a non-invasive way of obtaining DNA from individuals. The DNA is then used to obtain a genetic id for the individual represented in the sample unfortunately, due to my limited stay at CCF and the amount of so much to learn in the laboratory I only got to assist with the first PCR of the samples.

I was also lucky to get involved with the “The Wild Boy’s Project” is a long-term project concentrating on two wild cheetahs named Sam and Hifi that used to spend time near CCF’s Centre. The CCF team began collecting and keeping the scat from these two cheetahs, which sparked this research. The project’s focus is on the biomedical diet analysis of these two cheetahs to find out what they used to eat when they were around the center but before all that the samples need to be assigned to respective individuals using genetic analysis.

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