Category Archives: Biosciences

Student Case Study: South Devon Care

Name of Student:  Kari Webb

Degree Subject: BSC Biological Sciences with Prof Placement

Type of Internship: Green Consultants Scheme

Company Name: South Devon Care

Job Title: Green Consultant

Description Of Company: We are a local company offering a range of care services through our high-quality care homes in beautiful South Devon. Our aim is to improve the lives of the people we care about.

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

My main responsibility was looking at the company’s energy efficiency and suggesting potential improvements they could make to save energy using the Carbon Footprint’s Energy Efficiency Test. I highlighted the need for better staff engagement and proposed a few strategies including an online quiz that calculates an individual’s carbon footprint. Additionally I looked into the feasibility of installing solar panels at each of their sites using a solar energy calculator.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?

I produced a 3-page report with sections on energy efficiency, staff engagement and solar panel feasibility including graphs and tables I generated on excel to visualise the results from the multiple online tools I utilised.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

Learning to work independently and taking sole responsibility for fulfilling a project to a client’s specification.

What did not go so well on your internship? How did you overcome any challenges?

The manager was very busy, and difficult to communicate with because of the requirement to work online due to COVID-19. His instructions weren’t clear, and it took a long time to get information from him.

To overcome these challenges, I would collate all the question I had throughout the day into a single email so that I wasn’t sending lots of little emails throughout the day limiting the amount of time the client had to take out of their day to respond to me. In addition, whilst waiting for their response I would conduct work that didn’t require the information e.g. researching staff engagement techniques.

Skills Learnt: 

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Organisation
  • Decision Making
  • Researching
  • Time and Workload Management

Attributes Developed:

  • Initiative
  • Perseverance
  • Professionalism
  • Confidence
  • Motivation

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

If you have a flexible and creative mind, a passion for sustainability and the environment, and want to be involved in developing strategies which have real impact on the way a business conducts itself you’re gunna love it.

Also my top tip is to get involved in as many activities and experiences as you can it is only by trialing new things that we find out what we are truly passionate about : )

Student Case Study: Optix solutions

Name of Student:  Olivia Arden

Degree Subject: BSC Biological Sciences

Type of Internship: Green Consultants Scheme

Company Name: Optix solutions

Job Title: Green Consultant

Description Of Company: We’re a strategic Digital Marketing and Web Development Agency based in Exeter, Devon. We specialise in website design and development, digital strategy and digital marketing. We run a digital marketing training sessions through our Optix Academy.

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

I began the internship getting to understand the ethos of the company and the sustainability strategies they currently employ through meetings with a range of employees.  Following this, my main duty was to write a sustainability report analysing the effectiveness of current strategies and recommending further steps that Optix could take to improve their environmental impact.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?

Sustainability report including recommendations on employee engagement, energy providers, bank providers and social sustainability.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

Knowing that the recommendations I gave in the report will be used to improve the environmental credentials of one of the top marketing companies in England.

What did not go so well on your internship? How did you overcome any challenges?

Timing to write report – took a lot longer than anticipated however, the company were very understanding and adapted to the change in timings.

Skills Learnt: 

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Organisation
  • Decision Making
  • Researching
  • Communication

Attributes Developed:

  • Initiative
  • Perseverance
  • Professionalism
  • Confidence
  • Motivation

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“I would highly recommend Green Consultants as a means to understand what is involved in sustainability consulting. In particular, working with Optix Solutions has shown to me the responsibility that digital companies have in making a positive sustainable impact, since their role in the environmental sector is often overlooked.”

Employer Case Study: Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Name of Organisation: Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Description of Organisation:

Cornwall Wildlife Trust is one of 46 Wildlife Trusts working across the UK. With the invaluable support of our volunteers, members and corporate supporters we manage over 50 nature reserves, including an island for wildlife and people in Cornwall. We also work with other organisations and landowners to protect and connect wildlife sites across the county and inspire local communities and young people to care for wildlife where they live.

We want to create safe havens in which wildlife can thrive and from which it can spread. We need to inspire people to love and care for the natural environment, and enable more people to experience, enjoy and understand it. We are a charity and rely on membership, legacy gifts and donations from our supporters and on the efforts of our 300 regular volunteers to help us make Cornwall wilder. Our vision is to bring about a Nature Recovery Network to bring back Cornwall’s wildlife.

Name of Employer: Abigail Crosby

Job Title: Marine Conservation Officer

Internship Scheme usedAccess to Internships (A2I)

Feedback:

“Our intern became an extremely valued member of the team, as she efficiently carried out her duties within the Marine Stranding’s Network project. As a result of her work, the project now has a well-recognized and highly followed social media presence including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

She also played a key role in the production of our annual 2019 MSN report. She helped process thousands of MSN records. The student created several monthly Mailchimp newsletters to help communicate with our network of trained volunteers. I also really appreciated the intern assisting me with the training days, it was a massive help. A huge thank you to our intern for her fantastic work.

I would highly recommend the internship schemes The University of Exeter has to offer. The process was fairly effortless and for little administration we were able to support a fantastic student who carried out some incredibly useful work for the Trust. She was a brilliant support to the team, and we are very grateful for her time.”

Student Case Study – University of Exeter, Biosciences  

Name of Student:  Hateem Rafeeque 

Degree Subject: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery 

Type of Internship: Access to Internships (A2I) 

Company Name: University of Exeter, Biosciences 

Job Title: Research Assistant 

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship? 

I discussed and planned projects with my team members to determine future experiments and tasks. I performed immunohistochemistries, counted cells and compiled data.   

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?  

I provided data that compared two methods to see if they were interchangeable or not. This would allow a larger data set to be compiled together. I also double-checked other students work to increase the reliability of their work. 

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?  

I was able to bring together various projects together. I counted cells that were treated in slightly different ways to see if the outcome was still the same. I compared data from different projects and found that the slightly different methodology did not make a difference. This allowed the data to be combined to form a much larger data set. 

What did not go so well on your internship? How did you overcome any challenges? 

I needed to go into the lab to take pictures of brain slices for cell counting, however, once lockdown started, I was unable to go into the lab. This put a halt to my project, so I discussed this with the rest of the team, and they arranged for me to complete other parts of the project that I could do from home. 

Skills Learnt:  

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure 
  • Organisation 
  • Decision Making 
  • Researching 
  • Time and Work Load Management 

Attributes Developed: 

  • Initiative 
  • Perseverance 
  • Professionalism 
  • Confidence 
  • Motivation 

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector? 

“This experience enabled me to gain numerous practical skills whilst studying. It was nice to be in a work setting related to my degree so that I could see other perspectives of what I am studying. I am glad that I was able to work with wonderful people and develop connections for the future.”

Student Case Study:  College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Name of Student:  Ben Fisher

Degree Subject: BSC Biological Sciences

Job Title:  Mini Module Research Intern

Company Name:  College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Type of Internship: Student Campus Partnerships (SCPs)

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

Researching the current teaching provisions for maths across the Biosciences programmes. Assessing the mathematical ability of incoming A-level entrants and then using these two data sets to identify learning gaps. I then developed new interactive module content to help teach the concepts identified as being part of the learning gap, and finally presented all my work to the education committee at departmental level.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?

Outputs: Analysed data sets, reports on learning tools, reports on current teaching provisions, new online teaching material.

Outcomes: Yet to be seen, hopefully an increased awareness of the importance of maths skills for teaching staff to consider and an increased understanding of key statistical concepts for first year students through using the new teaching tools.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

Initially I was employed as a research intern, to examine the data sets that were available and analyse those for where future development could occur. I decided that my research would only be valuable if there was a physical output from the research that would aid students. Through discussions with my supervisor I identified both a platform on which these new teaching tools could be developed fairly easily and identified the subject themes which would have the greatest impact (least understood topics). This resulted in the full development of 2 interactive learning tools for statistical concepts with a 3rd tool partially developed. These are new to Biosciences and take a form that hasn’t been done before, combining content delivery with continuous assessment in research based teaching scenarios.

Skills Learnt

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Organisation
  • Strategic Planning
  • Time and Work Load Management
  • Focus on Goals and Outcomes 

Attributes Developed

  • Commercial Awareness
  • Confidence
  • Initiative
  • Perseverance
  • Motivation

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“From the interview through to regular supervision meetings, my placement replicated a real working environment. This gave me a valuable insight in to what a research focused career could look like which will be especially useful for future career planning. I particularly enjoyed being able to discuss my work with members of staff in a professional forum who were passionate about my research area. I felt that my work was valued and my contributions and opinions would be taken on board, which was a key motivator for my throughout my placement.”

Student Case Study: The Rock Pool Project

Name of Student:  Eleanor Stanton

Degree Subject: BSC Marine Biology – Cornwall

Job Title:  Digital Development Intern (Rock Pooling Platform)

Company Name:  The Rock Pool Project

Type of Internship: Access to Internships (A2I)

Description of Company: We are a social enterprise that encourages people of all ages to discover the incredible marine life found around our beautiful coast. Our expert marine biologists offer bespoke private rockpool safaris, educational group field trips and public beach events.

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

My key duties included working closely with the project leader to run events. I spoke to members of the public about what the project does and helped attendees to identify and record species they found. I also worked a lot on the project website, social media and newsletters, and coordinated other staff members and volunteers.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?

I produced were social media posts, newsletters and updating the website, including targeting a new demographic through Instagram.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

On one event I was running with the project leader his car got stuck, and while he was dealing with that I took over running the event. I had to take a register of all the children attending (it was a kids event in the school holidays), and then talk to them about beach awareness and safety, before teaching them how to use the devices we use to record species we find. I then ran the first half of the event myself, helping them to find and identify species and record them in a useable manner. The result was that the event ran smoothly despite the major car issue.

What did not go so well on your internship? How did you overcome any challenges?

My main challenge was having to learn quickly on the ground how to identify species and talk about them to the public. I am quite shy normally, so being forced to interact with and educate others was a struggle at times but it is definitely a challenge I am overcoming,

Skills Learnt 

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Organisation
  • Time and Work Load Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Focus on Goals and Outcomes

Attributes Developed 

  • Logical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Independence
  • Work Ethic
  • Professionalism

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“My internship experience was incredibly valuable as it gave me experience in the marine field, working with experts in the subject I am interested in. I was able to gain lots of knowledge on the UK’s coastal wildlife as well as transferrable skills such as teamwork and communication, which will be useful to me wherever I end up in the future.”

Student Case Study:  University of Exeter

Name of Student:  Matthew Turk

Degree Subject: BSC Biological Sciences

Job Title: Research Assistant

Company Name:  University of Exeter

Type of Internship:  Access to Internships (A2I)

  1. What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

My key duties and responsibilities were to support research in the laboratory by assisting with the setting up and monitoring of scientific experiments and assays, keeping accurate records of experiments and data, and preparing stocks of culture media, buffers, and reagents.

  1. What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?

I performed transformations of plasmids, restriction digests, ligations, polymerase chain reactions, culturing experiments, inoculations, survival assays, preparation of sequence reactions, and cDNA synthesis. These experiments helped support the research being carried out in the research group.

  1. What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

I managed to successfully transform a difficult cut vector into E. Coli. This has been confirmed by sequencing and these E. Coli strains will now be used by the research group for their experiments.

  4. Skills Learnt 

  • Time and workload management
  • Strategic planning
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Problem solving
  • Communication

 5. Attributes Developed 

  • Confidence
  • Initiative
  • Perseverance
  • Motivation
  • Personal Awareness

6. Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“It was an incredible opportunity! I had an amazing time and was able to do things that I never would have been able to do as part of my degree course. My supervisor and the whole research group were really supportive and keen for me to get the most out of my internship that I could.”

Student Case Study: Research Assistant in Acoustics (Physics)

Name of Student:  Ekaterina Zossimova

Degree Subject: MPHYS Physics with Study in New ZealandPHD Physics 

Job Title:   Research Assistant in Acoustics (Physics)

Company Name:  College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter

Type of Internship:  Student Campus Partnerships (SCPs)

  1. What were your key duties and responsibilities during 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.

  1. What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?

Fabricated and tested a successful underwater thermo-acoustic device. Produced heat simulation models of the system in air and water.

  1. What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

Making the devices 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.

  1. Skills Learnt 
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Focus on goals and outcomes
  • Time and work load management
  • Assessing and managing risk
  1. Attributes Developed
  • Initiative
  • Cultural awareness
  • Logical thinking
  • Independence
  • Work ethic
  1. Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector? 

“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.”

Physical Education/ School Games Assistant – St Luke’s School

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

Roles included teaching and leading a variety of primary school P.E lessons and assisting two big sports activity days and St Luke’s Science and Sport College

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

Improved my skills to communicate to children and fellow work colleagues. I improved my ability to perform under pressure when teachers from schools were watching me teach Physical Education.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

The employer had extra needed help to run a sports activity day for 500 primary school children. The employer increased his networking through the University.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Problem solving, leadership, decision making

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Confidence, motivation, work ethic

Research Assistant – University of Exeter

Full Frame Shot of Abstract Pattern

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

I was tasked with exploring a model of single hair follicle dynamics with focus on hair growth and its primary factors. This role had a number of central goals:

– To verify previous results in the MATLAB software package Matcont, seeking accuracy and precise conclusions.

– To write code that enables results to be easily repeatable.

– To further explore the model parameters and develop insight into how they relate to future refinement of the model, and what it reveals about hair follicle dynamics

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

I greatly developed my familiarity with MATLAB – something I’ve only really used at a surface level before. Spending extensive time debugging code written by myself and others has helped me to improve my ability to write functional scripts. I also gained a greater insight into the day-to-day reality of research. I am now more familiar with the process of learning and building towards a defined, specific output. With this has come a greater appreciation for the unpredictable ebb and flow of progress when trying to breakthrough a barrier in understanding.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I hope that my verification of past results is a useful resource, one that strengthens confidence in the assumptions upon which the model is founded. With this done, in a repeatable piece of code, it supports further divergence from the prototypic case to a more advance and detailed model (or a model with a different focus). New results regarding the parameters of the model provide a more complete picture of how the model may react to change/stimulus. With these in hand, conclusions can be drawn about which parameters are key influences, those in which change elicits dramatic variation in model dynamics.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Teamwork and collaboration, focus on goals and outcomes, degree specific – coding for dynamic modelling

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Perseverance, logical thinking, independence