Category Archives: Science

Engineering Intern – Designability

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

  • Design work on a saddle seat for a dynamic wheelchair for children with dystonic cerebral palsy.
  • Documentation of the engineering design process, including design specification, research findings and concept and detail drawings.
  • Home visits to a family with a child with dystonic cerebral palsy (who will test the wheelchair in its early stages and eventually use it) – I collaborated with other engineers and occupational therapists to determine the best design for the saddle seat.

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

My work proposed a specific design for a saddle seat to replace a currently used off-the-shelf bicycle saddle which was unfit for purpose. The design better addresses the complex needs of the user. The research and design work I completed lightened the workload of colleagues.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

My time included home visits to a child who would be using the saddle seat – this improved my skills in user-centred design and helped me understand the complex requirements of seating for dystonic cerebral palsy children. I improved my team working skills, in consulting other engineers/ occupational therapists on my design. I became more confident in putting forward my ideas, as well as understanding criticisms.

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

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

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

Junior Mental Health Support Worker – South Somerset Mind

stress

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

My main responsibilities were to develop and deliver mental health well-being workshops across Somerset. This involved teaching service users about different aspects of mental health and providing them with various coping strategies. Within this role I also gave 1-2-1 well-being checks, carried out risk assessments, and provided telephone support and signposting to other agencies. The remainder of my time was spent on data entry: updating notes on services users and compiling data for reports. Additional roles included  designing my own session plan using research from third generation therapies, and creating and teaching mental health lessons in a local secondary school.

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

The experience was totally eye opening, I learnt more than I could ever have imagined! It was brilliant to be able to put my Psychology degree into practice and begin to understand the realities of mental health.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I brought fresh knowledge and ideas to the team, which were utilised. I also lightened my colleagues’ workloads and saved company expenditure.

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

Initially I did not have enough work to keep me busy. I promptly spoke to my line manager and she was able to give me more responsibilities and encouraged me to independently take my ideas forward by designing a new session plan for the well-being groups.

“It was very useful to have Kate. She did a great job and we have now offered her a full role” – CEO, South Somerset Mind.

Marine and Freshwater Intern – Zoological Society of London

marine

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

To support the Marine and Freshwater ZSL team, on the Penryn campus. Projects included literature review on the distribution and species of marine turtles in the Philippines; PET plastic bottles literature review and general support for the #OneLess project; Mangrove and beach forest medicinal properties; Artificial reefs and coral transplantation review for the Philippines.
I also attended a Marine conservation conference at the Penryn campus and a Marine Management Organisation Meeting with the ZSL team during my last week.

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

I learnt and improved essential skills needed to work with an environmental NGO, such as networking, building relationships, organisation, managing work load, communicating with international environmental groups and promoting work via social media. It was great to gain experience within an office based team, instead of out on the field, which is the majority of my experience.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I was able to support ZSL Marine and Freshwater by completing small, but essential pieces of work as well as contributing to larger projects. This lightened the work load for my colleagues in Cornwall, London and the Philippines.

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.

Research Intern – CLES, University of Exeter

report

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

I had to write up first-draft reports on British mammal species to be submitted into the review. Other tasks included creating questionnaires, emailing, communicating with other researchers and assisting with the collation of the results. I also worked on developing code in R to produce species-specific population estimates from large data-sets of mammal population densities in different habitats. In addition, I researched using ArcGIS to model species distribution, and to extract habitat data to go towards initial population estimates.

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

I developed my skills in GIS and R, by a considerable degree. It was fantastic to potentially be the first person to know how many of a particular mammal existed in the UK! It was very rewarding to go through the process, from using GIS, carrying out meta-analyses, obtaining the estimate and finally writing up the species account. I learnt a great deal about the amazing mammalian wildlife we have here on our shores.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

The Mammal Population Review is a huge undertaking, and I hope I hoped to considerably lower the workload needed to be done. I hope others felt I became a valued member of the team. I felt that I was, and had an incredibly enjoyable time working with the others in the lab.

“Luke made an excellent contribution to the team. I believe he also gained valuable skills that will help him get a job in the future” – Associate Professor.

Energy Intern – Wattstor Energy Storage Systems

light

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

I carried out a variety of tasks over my internship, including creating case studies from the data of existing customers, analysing data to gain an understanding of charging cycles, blog posts for the website, and basic organisation and “tidying up” of the company dropbox account.  I also worked on several excel spreadsheets that are in use with the company, to fix any errors and improve usability and appearance.

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

I worked well under pressure, and during days when a lot was going on and others were getting stressed, I was able to remain calm and help lighten the workload for my colleagues.  I have also largely improved my excel skills, and I am proud that I successfully solved any problems I was faced with when working on the spreadsheets.  In addition, I am pleased with my independence and ability to get on with a task, but equally I felt comfortable asking for help when I needed it.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

The work I carried out was to a high standard and will help the company keep track of the work they do, saving them time and problems in the future.  I was also able to carry out tasks for my colleagues that reduced their workload during busy periods.

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

There were some research tasks that I was unable to find complete information on, so I collated all that I could find and presented that.