Category Archives: Science

Employer Case Study: University of Exeter

Name of Organisation: University of Exeter

Name of Employer: Remy Chait

Job Title: Lecturer

Internship Scheme used: Access to Internships (A2I) 

Feedback:

“Our intern was set the task of researching and testing a new assay for the laboratory to measure mutation rate in bacteria. She accumulate literature resources on the assay and performed initial testing to compare it to literature benchmarks. Included in these tests were assays in conditions specific to the lab focus of antibiotic resistance. She summarized her findings well at the end of the internship.

Having supervised the student on her 3rd year Bioscience project, this internship was a good opportunity to give her a slightly different direction and the chance to develop a higher level of independence in the lab working on a small-scale project. The project was new to her and she had complete control of it, which I believe was useful in her exploration of guiding her own work.”

Student Case Study: Science Research Assistant (Endangered Species)

Name of Student:  Amy Goymer

Degree Subject:  Biological sciences

Job Title: Science Research Assistant (Endangered Species) SCP 5967

Company Name:  University of Exeter

Type of Internship:  Student Campus Partnerships (SCPs)  

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

Carry out laboratory work to obtain DNA sequences for meat sold as ‘eel’ to evaluate whether endangered species were being utilised in eel sushi products. Then collate the data to synthesise a paper for publication.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

Analysing enough samples to significantly contribute to the global collection (more than doubling it!) which will allow a much more rounded view of eel trade globally.

Were there any challenges and how did you overcome these?

Some samples were hard to collect usable data from due to being degraded by frying, cooking etc. But you just have to be persistent and go right from the beginning again and then some will just have a lucky round and give you results.

Skills Learnt: 

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Organisation
  • Leadership
  • Strategic Planning
  • Decision Making

Attributes Developed:

  • Logical thinking
  • Commercial Awareness
  • Confidence
  • Independence

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

This internship experience not only furthered my laboratory experience and was a good thing to talk about moving forward in my career, but also made me feel like I was contributing to global science as an individual rather than just learning things as a student. I also hope to publish the paper I wrote as part of the internship with help from my supervisor, which is a really cool outcome to reward the hard work put in. Ultimately, it was great to get paid for something that really interesting, fun, and allowed me to contribute to science.

Student Case Study: University of Exeter

Name of Student:  Athena Atkinson

Degree Subject: MSC Mining Engineering

Job Title: STEM intern

Company Name:  University of Exeter

Type of Internship: CEMPS Internship

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

It was my responsibility to collect STEM-related questions for use in the STEM Day quizzes. After the group of interns had finished their respective parts of the presentation, we switched it up to keep it exciting. I also worked on the Growth Mindset part, which highlights the importance of resilience in the learning process. The Growth Mindset was very interesting as I hadn’t heard about it before this project, and it taught me to have more patience about new academic challenges.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?  

The internship gave me the opportunity to collaborate with a confident group of interns and create activities and quizzes designed to inspire younger students considering STEM. We did this through a series of ‘STEM Days’, days where we would present our content to schools and colleges.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

Each member of the team had a specific activity to design and make for the STEM Days, where we would present our content to schools and colleges around the UK. I had to create a series of STEM-related quiz questions, which would engage the younger students and encourage thoughts about STEM subjects. I created questions for a range of different topics, and used menti.com to quiz the younger students in a virtual environment. This was very effective, and we were able to discuss each answer afterwards.

Skills Learnt: 

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Organisation
  • Leadership
  • Strategic Planning
  • Decision Making

Attributes Developed:

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

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

“I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of STEM Beyond Boundaries this summer. It gave me the opportunity to collaborate with a confident group of interns and create activities and quizzes designed to inspire younger students considering STEM. We did this through a series of ‘STEM Days’, days where we would present our content to schools and colleges. Digital platforms such as Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet were brilliant in widening participation from schools all over the UK. Each STEM Day was varied with a range of different age groups and number of students. The Q&A session at the end of the presentations were the best part of the internship as you could see what the students had taken in, listen to their thoughts about STEM, and discuss the next steps in their STEM journeys.”

Student Case Study: The Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre

Name of Student:  Izzy Bradshaw

Degree Subject: BSc Sport and Exercise Medical Sciences

Job Title: Research Intern

Company Name:  The Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre

Description of Company: The Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre initiates research in paediatric exercise science to enhance our understanding of exercise, physical activity and sport that determines health and well-being. We are interested in optimising exercise, physical activity, and sport across a range of different paediatric groups, including healthy school aged children, children with chronic diseases and talented young athletes.

Type of Internship: Student Campus Partnerships (SCPs)  

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

Developing testing protocol for the England Athletics Youth Talent Programme athlete profiling days. Developing infographics to be given to athletes on the YTP.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?  

Outputs= a presentation enclosing all testings to be used on the profiling days.

Outcomes= a battery of tests has been produced ad confirmed.

Skills Learnt: 

  • Problem Solving
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Persuasion
  • Researching
  • Time and Work Load Management

Attributes Developed:

  • Logical thinking
  • Confidence
  • Initiative
  • Independence

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

“Throughout June, I was fortunate enough to complete at 4-week internship at the Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre (CHERC), in partnership with England Athletics. Over the 4 weeks, I worked alongside another intern developing testing protocols for the England Athletics Youth Talent Programme (YTP) athlete profiling days. The battery of tests developed will be used to aid the athlete selection process. I am grateful to have worked on such an exciting project and I am wishing the best of luck to all young athletes applying to he YTP. The 4-week internship also involved the production of infographics that will be given to athletes enrolling on the YTP. The infographics covered social media use, time management and communication within the YTP. I thoroughly enjoyed my 4 weeks working with the CHERC group and England Athletics and I am looking forward to assisting on the athlete profiling days in September!”

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.”

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