2021-2022 Robert McNamara Fellow at the World Bank – Research Group – Infrastructure & Sustainability Unit

I was selected among 12 other researchers (Ms & PhD students and graduates) for the World Bank Robert S. McNamara Fellowships Program (RSMFP). It is a program that matches aspiring development economics researchers from developing countries with World Bank research economists, creating unique opportunities for the fellows to participate in rigorous policy-relevant research in the World Bank’s Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC).

I was part of the first cohort and explored multiple research projects/ideas using primary and/or large secondary data with my two great supervisors (Kibrom Tafere and Daniel Ayalew Ali). I also enjoyed engaging with the other fellows and sharing experiences.

Experiences 1

2021 Summer Internship: Facebook (now Meta)

I worked as a Research Scientist intern for 3 months at Facebook/Meta on a very important internal project to understand closeness and make business recommendations. It was very fast-paced, challenging but rewarding. Given that I had zero experience handling social network data as well as navigating the corporate world (only had 3 months to prove myself), it was challenging; but I am thankful to my wonderful research intern manager Katherine Morris for excellent guidance during those months.

I receive a lot of questions about how I got the internship. I will write a detailed blog post highlighting the journey, but it started with an email & LinkedIn message from a Facebook University recruiter, which I thought was a scammer. From then until I got the internship, a few things happened.

One thing I learned from this is: If you are a Ph.D. student/candidate, **please** create a personal website, optimize your LinkedIn profile and show the world who you really are. You never know who might land on your page and read it. The best products/companies out there would not be as successful without good marketing. You are a product, market yourself; it starts with a solid online presence.

2020 Summer Fellowship Coordination: Minnesota Population Center

After my 2019 experience as a fellow, I was invited to join the 2020 Summer fellowship as a co-coordinator of the program, which I accepted because I love that organization and my co-coordinators (Mia Riza and David Haynes II) are just fantastic people. 🙂

We had a productive and enjoyable summer experience guiding and assisting the selected fellows.

2019 Summer Fellowship: Minnesota Population Center

Selected with 4 other graduate students across the University of Minnesota, I worked on a data digitization project (Optical Character recognition for data Tables) at the MPC – IHGIS staff funded by the NSF involving ABBYY FineReader. The goal was to learn and design a workflow to digitize data from scanned PDF images.
With my wonderful mentee Margie MacMillan, we created a solid manual and workflow along with video tutorials on how anyone can start getting their data from a scanned image into an MS Word document, then into an Excel sheet in an automated process.

My awesome supervisors: Tracy Kugler & Evan Roberts.

2016 Summer Volunteering/Internship: Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations

As part of my summer field research from the International & Development Economics program at the University of San Francisco, I went to Rome (Italy) to work at FAO and assisted two teams in their work, while gathering data for my thesis.

I provided assistance to SOFA (State of Food and Agriculture) team with literature review and statistical information in writing the State of Food and Agriculture 2016 and 2017 reports.

I worked with World Bank LSMS Tanzania 2013 data to produce poverty indicators in developing countries for the Small Team unit.

In the end, I got good climate data of Niger (not Nigeria, Niger) from an economist and ended up writing a relatively great Masters’s thesis. Check it out here. I also collected a lot of professional contacts from FAO & World Bank, Rome, which eventually contributed to getting a consultant job at the World Bank in Washington DC… Networking ;).

I had an amazing experience with my Nigerian “broda” John Onoja.

Here are some pictures of the experience:

Berenger Djoumessi Tiague - FAO
The ground level of the building.
berenger djoumessi tiague - FAO UN
Inside the building with flags of all country members.

berenger djoumessi tiague
with my brother John Onoja
berenger djoumessi tiague - FAOUN
Acting as if I received an important call :).

There is a lot more to document as past experiences but that’s it for now! More to come!