Category Archives: Biosciences

Research Assistant – University of Exeter RILD

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

I had to constantly be reading and analysing new research papers on type I diabetes and glucose variation as well as P2Y receptors. I also completed a small research project where I came up with a research question, planned an experiment to analyse the data (this was a western blot) and then came to a conclusion. I also helped other scientists with changing media on cells in tissue culture where I learnt important aseptic techniques. I calculated protein concentrations and made serial dilutions from this to assist with other experiments.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

At the end of the internship I had to present to a room full of expert scientists about the project I had been working including some background, methods, results and conclusions which helped me work through my dislike of presenting.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I completed a project that one of the PHD scientists did not have time to do but really needed the results.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Research, strategic planning, lab techniques

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Confidence, professionalism, perseverance

Summer Research Intern – University of Exeter CEMPS

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Over the course of the four weeks, I carried out lab work, looking into the effects of different enzymes on DNA damage and repair. In addition, I did a lot of tissue culture, an essential skill for any biologist, and learnt how to use a flow cytometer which I used almost daily. I made up batches of media for people to use to grow cells in for their experiments. I helped with other lab procedures that the PhD students were doing, such as western blots and midipreps.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

Carrying out independent work in the lab and becoming a lot more confident in my skills.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I completed a project, looking at the effect of the PARP1 inhibitor, PJ-34, on class switching in CH12 cells, where I got some interesting results that will hopefully be used in the future.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Ability to work under pressure, IT, decision making

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Logical thinking, independence, work ethic

Employability and Work Placements Support Officer – University of Exeter College of Life and Environmental Sciences

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

I was planning, organising and arranging employability events which included inviting speakers, arranging logistics, promoting to students and hosting events. Aside from this, I was processing work placement paperwork for employability modules, writing the college student newsletter, meeting with academic colleagues to review and plan college employability provision, and training other team members on the work placement processes.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I gained confidence in event management, administration, and the office environment.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

The CLES employability team only consisted of myself and my line manager. I played a key role in organising events and processing work placements. Without my role, the team would have struggled to function.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Negotiation, ability to work under pressure, networking

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Commercial awareness, logical thinking, professionalism

Research Assistant – University of Exeter College of Life and Environmental Sciences

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Facilitate biomechanical recording of our participants, manage data stores and exportation for analysis, work with an engineer to write a MATLAB script to analyse the raw data produced, and create a list of gait parameters that could be investigated.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

When creating a MATLAB script alongside the engineer, I have never written any code before and having a project with a set goal in mind allowed me to be goal orientated and state what I wanted the script to do. This allowed targeting the specific parameters relatively easy.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I worked independently with another student to Facilitate data collection, and created a package for analysis, both of which meant that she had more time to focus on the tasks that were of her level of technical ability

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Time and workload management, assessing and managing risk, decision making

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Personal awareness, cultural awareness, independence

Research Support Intern – University of Exeter, Penryn

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Maintaining incipient termite’s colonies by adding wood to feed them, and water and moist cloth to keep the colonies from drying out. I monitored them as they grew, changing their containers when needed.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

Until recently, I had never had to independently maintain a study species in the lab before outside of my own degree. I had a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, and I did not take this lightly, taking steps to plan in advance when I was away or as colonies developed to make sure they were stable.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

They now have stable lab kept termite colonies for use in their research, which may not have been possible without me due to their commitments over this summer.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Assessing and managing risk, decision making, degree specific skills

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Perseverance, independence, work ethic

Research Assistant – University of Exeter College of Life and Environmental Sciences

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My main role for the duration of this internship was to organize and carry out data collection in the labs. This included participant recruitment, lab booking, and the setting up and running of the CODA equipment and software we used. Once data was collected I was responsible for its processing and analysis too. During this internship I was also required to carry out a lit review in order for writing of an academic paper on the symmetry of gait.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I was able to work independently in the lab with the CODA equipment without the aid of my supervisor. I was also able to teach others who joined the research team how to use the equipment too.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

My ability to independently lead a team in the lab and collect the data needed allowed my supervisor to work on other areas of the research at the same time, allowing work to progress smoothly.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Leadership, organisation, CODA equipment and software skills

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Confidence, motivation, logical thinking

Trainee Mental Health Support Worker – University of Exeter

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My main responsibilities involved going on home visits with the well-being navigators to observe and support their one-to-one meetings with clients. I was also involved in co-facilitating the well-being groups across South Somerset offering support to people suffering with low level mental health problems. Alongside this I was carrying out a research project gathering information on the different support available for people with specific needs such as eating disorders, older people, bi-polar etc.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

My biggest achievement was gaining practical knowledge of mental health and gaining the confidence to use this knowledge to support people who needed it.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I was able to carry out this research project that the other staff would not have had time to do without me. I was also able to fill in for people co-facilitating the groups when they were off sick or on holiday.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Time and workload management, focus on goals and outcomes, research

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Confidence, personal awarenes and work ethic

HR Intern – Welstand Contractors Ltd

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Payroll management, tax filings, VAT and VAT returns data base entries and maintenance, payslip distributions through emails and posts, communicate with clients and resolve any inquiries related to payroll

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I learnt regulations related to employment in terms of hiring, tax computations and filing and VAT returns. Payroll management was very interesting and I was quick at learning to adapt to new changes in my workplace – a very new experience working abroad.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I was able to learn quickly, the trainer felt comfortable to share his feedback openly and I was open to new learning which made it very easy for them to get work done from me in a short span of time.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Persuasion, ability to work under pressure, IT

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Logical thinking, creative thinking, professionalism

Animal Care Assistant – RSPCA

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Monitoring the welfare of all animals in the care of the RSPCA Cornwall branch. This included dogs of many different breeds, cats, and wildlife. I was also responsible for maintaining a high standard of cleanliness in various kennels and cages. I helped to carry out health checks, pre-adoption checks and sat in on vet rounds. I was also involved in enrichment for the animals, which involved walking the dogs and playing with the cats and kittens.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I was able to learn what it was really like working in the animal sector, which has really helped me to think about my future career. I feel I became more independent over the course of my internship, finding I was able to take initiative if faced with a problem.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

The staff are stretched very tightly at the moment and I feel I was able to make the hours when I was there less stressful for them. Some days I was responsible for cleaning entire blocks by myself which meant that the member of staff who would usually do this was able to sort out any problems or urgent paperwork.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Ability to work under pressure, organisation, time and workload management

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Initiative, independence, work ethic

Research Assistant – University of St Andrews

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My role was to assist primarily with the data collection aspect on a project studying working memory in New World monkeys. Every day I tested brown capuchin monkeys on their ability to remember the location of food items in the specialist research facility at Edinburgh Zoo. I also assisted with reliability coding of data already collected for different projects and collected long term, observational data on chimpanzees.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I learnt how to work with capuchin monkeys in close proximity and conduct experimental, cognitive research with them. This is an extremely valuable skill for me and is a very rare opportunity to have. It will aid me immensely with a future career and further education in the field of primate research.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

As I was responsible for the data collection on this project, this allowed the principle investigator (PI) to have more time to carry out other tasks he would otherwise not have had the time to complete. My presence was also beneficial when the PI was unable to carry out data collection himself due to time away from the research site. I also spent a lot of time entering data on another project which no one had time to do before I joined.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Assessing and managing risk, IT, research

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Confidence, initiative, perseverance