Category Archives: Science

Student Case Study:  The Eden Project

Name of Student:  Max Parkin

Degree Subject: BA History – Cornwall

Job Title:  Research Writer Intern

Company Name:  The Eden Project

Type of Internship:  Access to Internships (A2I)Student Business Partnerships (SBPs)

Description of Company: The Eden Project, an educational charity, connects us with each other and the living world, exploring how we can work towards a better future. Our visitor destination in Cornwall, UK, is nestled in a huge crater. Here, massive Biomes housing the largest rainforest in captivity, stunning plants, exhibitions and stories serve as a backdrop to our striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events.

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

To research specific briefed environmental/social/sustainable topics for the Eden Project as directed by the Director of Interpretation. To write, summarise and authenticate research documents and storylines with references. And/or to write final copy across a range of media using Eden’s house style and brand guidelines.

Key accountabilities (depending on area the student wishes to gain experience in):
1. To research specific briefed topics using literature searches and by communicating with organisations and experts in the field, working to set deadlines.
2. To write master files (as laid out in the Eden guidelines) on specific briefed topics with full list of references.
3. To write compelling storylines, narrative and content briefs to enable interpretation of specific subjects across a wide range of media.
4. To write final copy for specific exhibits, events, digital and web content and publications using Eden’s house style and brand guidelines.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?

The main task for the interpretation department at that time was Eden’s summer content – Earth Story. I was asked to research in detail Megafaunal extinction during the end of the last Ice Age and the potential human involvement. The end result was a detailed document which was then used to help the graphics team produce an extinction timeline which can now be seen in the Earth Story exhibit at Eden.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

I was given a topic I had 0 previous knowledge of – Megafauna. I was asked to produce a detailed research document and became an ‘expert’. My research was verified by Natural History Museum Professor, Adrian Lister and played an instrumental role in producing content which is now displayed in one of Britain’s top visitor attractions. 

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

Initially, it was difficult to get to grips with my task, my progress was slow to start – I made sure to communicate well with Sarah, my boss, and ask lots of questions when I became lost.

Skills Learnt 

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Communication
  • Team Work and Collaboration
  • Problem Solving
  • Time and Work Load Management

Attributes Developed 

  • Confidence
  • Initiative
  • Perseverance
  • Motivation
  • Personal Awareness

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

“Working with the Eden Project for my internship was highly rewarding, exciting and eye opening. I became an ‘expert’ in a topic I’d never even heard of before, I met some great people and a future career path.”

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.”

Ambios – Employer Case Study

 

Name of Organisation:  Ambios

Description of Organisation: Ambios Ltd provides nature conservation training in UK and EU via traineeships and volunteering opportunities. Our Mission is to ‘provide inspirational education, practical action, science and technology training and volunteering opportunities in nature conservation in the UK and abroad.’ We help people achieve their goals for nature, science, education and employment.

Name of Employer:  Simon Roper

Job Title: Director

Internship Scheme used:  A2I, SBP

Employer subsidies (A2I) – Employment Services – University of Exeter

Student Business Partnership (SBP) – Employment Services – University of Exeter

Feedback:

We have  hired  a number of interns from the University of Exeter’s Internship scheme.

One intern was as a part-time Grant Funding & GiftIn-Kind Researcher and Bid Writer. The intelligent and dedicated individual  we chose managed to successfully juggle a complex and diverse work pattern. She balanced the demands of her studies while building networks and undertaking the research and bid-writing tasks we asked of her with amazing operational dexterity. Her overt enthusiasm is a credit to her and will undoubtedly support her future career. While with us, this enthusiasm for learning how to research specific funders in the context of our organisation’s mission was a great asset.

Our intern successfully undertook very detailed research into possible funders we might approach for assistance with a capital project at our nature conservation training farm in South Devon. This research is challenging, as funders can have a long list of criteria, any one of which can mean the applicant is unable to apply. Sorting through this data was a major task which our SBP completed well. This learning led to her formulating and proposing a written letter-form application to a specific Charitable Trust identified from her initial research. This letter was submitted in the Ambios Ltd name by the end of her time with us. In the context of what was about to unfold with Covid-19, and the response of the charitable sector (to reallocate their funding to Covid-19 emergency support), the bid was not successful on this occasion. It does, however, represent an asset which can be used to approach other funders when the time is right.  Our intern therefore leaves Ambios Ltd with that legacy for which we are very grateful. We have no doubt that there is bright and exciting future for her and we wish her well in her future endeavours.

We also recruited a Carbon Offset Project Development Officer and were very impressed with how prepared they were for the workplace. Our Intern looked at our carbon footprint in relation to our European mobility programmes. She proved to be an excellent asset to our organisation producing quality outputs which challenged our thinking, and which signposted an urgent need for change.

We recommend the Internship Scheme to other companies. It is very well managed and implemented.  We thoroughly enjoyed taking on an intern and hope to host more in the future.

Quote from Carbon Offset Project Development Officer Intern:

“I carried out internet searches on the potential options and finally found documents which enabled me to work out the values. As a result, I demonstrated to Ambios how harmful flying is and they are now looking at changing the business model to less harmful methods of travel or looking at generally less movement- perhaps focusing the work of the projects to the UK rather than abroad. Also they are looking at planting trees because I presented the positive benefits of this apart from just offsetting- air quality, water quality, biodiversity, mental health etc.”

 

Seasons Ecology -Employer Case Study

Name of Organisation:  Seasons Ecology

Description of Organisation: Seasons Ecology is an ecological consultancy providing expert technical support on a range of development and conservation projects. There is a Bath and North East Somerset team as well as, another team of ecologists in Somerset West, Taunton and Devon who all work out of our office in Wiveliscombe, however, we work nationwide, providing services across the country.

Name of Employer: Hannah Maben

Job Title: Director

Internship Scheme used:  A2I

Employer subsidies (A2I) – Employment Services – University of Exeter

Feedback:

We recruited an intern to work as an Assistant Ecologist. She was able to accompany staff on surveys and assist in preparing technical reports which was extremely helpful as its freed time up for senior colleagues. Our University of Exeter student was fantastic, she was prepared for the workplace and worked well within our team.

She is returning to university to continue her studies; however, we hope she will keep in touch and would encourage her to apply for any appropriate roles we have when she graduates.

Exeter University’s Internship Scheme has been a great experience. Being able to provide an enthusiastic student with an opportunity to gain experience during our busy summer season has been rewarding on many levels for all involved. Thank you.

3CUBED Search – Executive Search Consultant

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

  • Headhunting
  • Interviewing and pairing the right people, personalities and skills sets to fantastic job opportunities across the globe
  • Screening candidates and drawing up shortlists of candidates for clients to interview
  • Organising interviews both phone and face to face
  • Helping applicants to prepare for interviews
  • Building relationships and rapport with clients and candidates.
  • Negotiating offers and contracts

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

I have had to teach myself a lot of about backend development, full stack development and the programming languages associated with Senior Engineers. Having not come from a technical/comp sci background I would have never learnt this in a classroom. In addition, I have learnt how to evaluate the skill level and quality of experience of a person through just an initial phone conversation.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

My internship lighted the workload of the rest of my colleagues and I brought in a new pool of very talented Senior Engineers & Backend Developers in the UK and US. I also have a few candidates in their final stages of receiving offers which would increase my company’s profit.

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