Elodie Ekoka (https://owsd.net/member/ekoka-elodie) is a final year PhD candidate in Medical Entomology at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Her research interests include malaria, vector control, immunology, ecdysone signaling, and the microbiome! Besides her research, Elodie enjoys music, reading, and swimming!

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early Bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?


4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?


5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

French 🙂

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

I would definitely play piano as part of a music band !!!

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

I have already tested different fields !!! I am settling with medical entomology, it’s so cool 🙂

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Anywhere with a beach or a lake

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

My FAITH is my superpower, it has gotten me through so much! I wouldn’t change it for any other superpower

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Watch: War Room (All time favourite movie)
Read: The purpose driven life by Rick Warren
Listen to: Cece Winans’ cover of “Goodness of God”

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Catch up with sleep

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

My faith; my loved ones; good food

15 What beverage gives you life?

Chai Tea Latte (from Starbucks)

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

It changed all the times, but my top 3 were either writer or research scientist, or medical doctor. And guess what, today I get to do research on medical diseases and write on it – perfect combo, right?

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

What drives me: The desire to eliminate malaria in Africa, to see the gender gap in STEM reduced, and the reminder that I am an example for the upcoming women of colour in STEM

What keeps me going: FAITH

19 What got you excited in science?

At first, it was my undergraduate genetics lecturers

20 What excites you about science now?

The multifaceted nature of the job: from conducting experiments in the laboratory, to mentoring, traveling for conferences, writing scientific articles, etc. I also developed some graphic design skills along the journey!

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Milk tart

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

It’s not really a secret — playing piano

23 What is your favorite game?

None at the moment

24 What is the last book you read?

“Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable” by Tim Grover

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Be grateful for every adversity/obstacles you face, and use them to train your resilience muscles; the more resilient you become, the more unstoppable you become.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

scuba diving

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Own who you are: your strengths, your weaknesses, your personality.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Either a good massage or a swimming session

29 What is the last thing you watched?

New Amsterdam, season 2 (Netflix)

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Can’t remember

31 What is your favorite animal?

Dogs !!!!

32 What is your favorite book?

It’s a tie between “the purpose driven life” and “battlefield of the mind”

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Pasta with seafood mix

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Whenever autumn starts

35 What is your favorite plant?

Not sure

36 What is your favorite science fact?

We have more bacteria in our bodies than human cells !

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

The smell of the sea

39 What is your favorite sound?


40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My resilience

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

Not sure

42 What is your proudest moment?

I can’t pick just one, but every time I bounced back after failing.

43 What kind of tree would you be?


44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

My favourite thing about South Africa? It has to be their traditional choirs and dances

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I am left-handed 🙂

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Kelly Knight (@kellythescientist on instagram)