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5 minutes with Natalia Okele

Natalia Okele is the Research Manager for the School of Life Course & Population Sciences, an expanded School created by the recent merge of the Schools of Life Course Sciences and Population Health & Environmental Sciences. The merger resulted in a number of changes to the School's research structures and has presented expanded opportunities for collaboration in research across disciplines. We took 5 minutes with Natalia to get a better understanding of research in the new School, as well as learn more about her life outside of work.

Briefly, tell us about your background and career up to this point?

I joined the College in the middle of March last year as a School Research Manager. I am the primary point of contact for all research-related activity within the School and together with the research management team we provide pre- and post-award support for the School researchers by coordinating and supporting research administration processes and practices from inception to completion. Previously I worked as Senior Grants Administrator in the pre- and post-award team (JRO), at Imperial College London.

Late last year I was also nominated to be the School’s Research Integrity Advisor. In this role I assist the Research Integrity Office to promote and uphold a strong culture of excellence and integrity in research.

Before then I was a Research Assistant, Research Technician, Technician and worked in different laboratories both at Imperial and King’s.

What is a typical day like for you? Has your role changed at all since the School merger?

A typical day is very busy. We have a high number of fellowship and grant applications being submitted so I coordinate support for those. We always have queries about live awards, new contracts requests, expenditure reports, staff remaining budgets and so on, so we try to ensure that everyone gets support as soon as possible. The shape of the School has changed since the merger - we’ve got a few new team members who joined us recently and more will join soon, but a few have also moved on. I would say my role hasn’t changed much but the quantity of work and the number of people I manage has increased. It’s been very busy but enjoyable seeing everyone coming together.

Tell us what excites you most about the merge of Life Course and Population Sciences?

I believe the most exciting thing is that we are all working together and have a chance to improve the professional services support further. It’s also been great to learn about different ways of working and accommodate new people’s ideas.

5 minutes with Natalia Okele

What do you think people in the School would find most surprising about you?

I used to be in a choir and played guitar - many, many, many years ago (so please don’t ask me to sing or play anything now).

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Don’t worry as much and live more!

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

In dream world: traveling during the winter months and staying somewhere nice and sunny. Who says we shouldn’t dream?

What is something positive that happened to you in 2021?

I got a new job!

What is your favourite thing about working at King’s?

People! I've met and continue to meet so many great people, who are kind, supportive, understanding, friendly, appreciative, hard working. It’s great to be back here!

QUICK-FIRE...

Favourite season: Summer

Favourite cuisine: Thai

Coffee order: Caramel Latte

One thing you could not go a day without: Coffee 😊

In this story

Natalia Okele

Natalia Okele

School Research Manager

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