Category Archives: Physics and Astronomy

Research Assistant in Acoustics – University of Exeter CEMPS

It was a really valuable experience that allowed me to get involved with cutting edge research in the CEMPS department at Exeter. It gave me the opportunity to network with PhD students and find out about their research projects. This experience has helped me to shape my future career plans and I will be returning to the University of Exeter in January as a postgraduate research student.

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

  • Fabrication of underwater thermo-acoustic devices for experiments.
  • Building heat transfer simulations on FORTRAN to model the thermo-acoustic device in different mediums.

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

My biggest achievement was making the devices as this was a trial and error process, so it took patience and several unsuccessful attempts before creating a working device. After each attempt, it was necessary to pin point which step in the fabrication process was damaging the device and then alter the fabrication method in line with the findings. This process led to a thermo-acoustic device that could be tested underwater.

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?

Confidence, motivation, independence

Assistant Research Scientist – College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

clinic-doctor-health-hospital

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

After becoming comfortable with the literature, my main role in this internship was to train in the Biophysics labs and learn from a PhD student before going on to help them complete research. After completing this research I was responsible for the production of a paper detailing the process and results, with an aim to getting the paper published in a scientific journal. I have also attended the regular Biophysics group meetings, as well as being given the opportunity to hear guest speakers from other Universities talk when they have visited the Physics department here in Exeter.

Overall, the whole of my internship has been an amazing and extremely rewarding experience. I have learned much more about what life as a scientist really is, got to grips with a wide variety of new scientific concepts through studying the literature, and had exposure to a thriving scientific environment where it was a privilege to listen to scientists talk about their work. I believe my biggest achievement over the course of this internship is either the growth in confidence and ability to network that I have experienced, or the production (with much help and guidance) of a scientific paper that will hopefully be published, something I did not think I was capable of at this age.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

As previously mentioned, I helped to complete a piece of novel research for my employer as well as writing the results into a paper. Moreover, having now had experience in the Biophysics labs I would be more suited to working in this department again if my employer wanted a summer student next year.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

I encountered problems as a part of the work, such as a lack of knowledge of the specific vocabulary required to understand many of the concepts spoken about daily in this department. However, I overcame these either through research or asking for assistance where necessary. Everyone in the department has been very friendly and more than happy to offer assistance where necessary which has been invaluable to me.

HE STEM Project Coordinator – CEMPS, University of Exeter

STEM Internship, University of Exeter Internship, UoE Internships, SCP, GBP, SBP, A2I

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

My role was to coordinate two of the department’s five National Higher Education STEM Programme projects in collaboration with partners at other South West universities. The projects focuses on employer engagement, particularly within the mathematics and engineering curricula. I organised focus groups and interviews with academics, students and local employers and drew up a series  of case studies of good practice for employer engagement. I also formulated a series of recommendations to improve employer engagement within CEMPS and contributed to an online toolkit of advice for Higher Education Institutions nationally.

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

The internship was particularly useful to me in learning how to network within a large organisation and how to get the most from meetings and interviews with other staff members. My communication skills have definitely developed as a result of working on these projects and my confidence in presenting my work to others has been boosted!

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

The projects I conducted would not have been possible without my input and coordination.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

At times, the work was very challenging and getting cooperation from some individuals was tricky on occasion, but that made the successes of the projects feel like real achievements.

“Dawn has worked to a consistently high standard and excelled in balancing demands across multiple projects” – Line Manager

Dawn

Technical Research Assistant – Centre for Alternative Materials and Remanufacturing Technologies, University of Exeter

Universtiy of Exeter Internships, UoE Internships, SCP, SBP, GBP, A2I

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

Working with CALMARE my main focus was helping small and medium enterprises in the South West, in the form of ‘Business Assists’ which involved consultancy on materials testing, development and sustainability. This was part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund. The projects were hugely variable, from competitor analysis to product development; from the deployment of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) systems to the development of aesthetic lighting systems.

I also supported the delivery of an art exhibition “From Cowboys to Astronauts” which showcased work from 25 South West artists. It focused on recycled materials, and was designed to promote the concept of circular economy. This involved setting up and taking down at two venues, engaging with the artists, businesses and general public.

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

I developed my networking skills and ability to present myself professionally to businesses. I also improved my time management skills.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I delivered high quality work on time, and used a variety of skills not assessed in the original application; from the design of marketing materials to photography. I was able to add specialist knowledge (physics) to an already varied team, and was quick to learn both the procedural aspects of the job and the extra knowledge needed for the position.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

Over the last year I have come to accept challenging circumstances in my personal life, and my internship helped me focus and accept what life throws at us.