Category Archives: Science

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

Fingle Wood Research Intern – University of Exeter CLES

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

I was working with mapping software delineating catchment boundaries, sdding pour points to tributaries and analysing the results of various imagery of Fingle wood to determine the type of vegetation that is and has been growing over the Fingle Woods area.

Also, I was spent a day ground-truthing the areas which were under analysis soon to cross reference. On this day I would check probes in the area and calibrate where necessary to ensure accurate data capture.

At the end of the project having finished Fingle Woods to a stage completion was able to work on another project involving urban flooding and cities holding water and avoiding runoff. This project was focussed on the area of Taunton.

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

Having been able to get a reasonable understanding of the GIS technology and also an idea of what is involved with the progression through the environmental sector. What it takes to be an environmental consultant today. Working with complex data projects in the direction of water improvement.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I was able to complete the project to a reasonable standard that could be handed over for further manipulation by another GIS operative or researcher. I was able to problem solve and come up with possible solutions to current problems on GIS software. Also, brainstorming on anomalous probe results that show inconsistencies between live and compiled data.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Communication, ability to work underpressure, decision making

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Confidence, motivation, creative thinking

Research Assistant – Coldhabour Mill Trust Ltd

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

My responsibilities were to research the mill pond on the site to support a 1.8M renovation project and grant bids. The main details they wanted to know about the pond was, when it was built, how it was built and how it was used. To conduct this research I worked both at Coldharbour and visited local archives.

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

I was able to conduct research outside of a university classroom, and had the opportunity to go to archives and see the source material myself.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I was able to find out when the pond was roughly built, and also provide a list of areas of future research so the next researcher would have a starting point. Despite the fact I found little evidence, what I did find was actually rather fundamental to the grant bids.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Problem solving, ability to work under pressure, focus on goals and outcomes

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Motivation, cultural awareness, independence

Work experience – Animal Plant Health Agency

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

I shadowed various employees within their microbiology laboratory at Starcross, Exeter to gain a better idea of what their job roles required and the daily running of the business. I had the opportunity to watch multiple post mortems on various animals performed by vets and also got to observe the identification of various bacteria’s using different equipment. Health and safety was important for this role so each day I would ensure I was wearing correct PPE and following the specific protocols for each laboratory room, as each room had different requirements depending on the samples they were handling.

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

It gave me a chance to network with employers with employers if the industry and gain a better understanding of what the job role would entail.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Organisation, assessing and managing risk, time and workload management

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Commercial awareness, confidence

 

Cognitive Abilities of Grey Squirrels Intern – University of Exeter

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

Coding videos and preparing the different nuts for the experiment and placing the cameras and replenishing the nuts in the apparatus.

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

I learned a lot in terms of analysis of data collected from animals and in particular using a Behaviour Observation software which has made me more confident in my ability to analyse different types of data in different circumstances.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I managed to help with creating a buffer of chopped nuts so that more time could be spent for marking the squirrels and analysing the information, I completed a third of the video analysis of the project which alleviated the workload of the other team members by leaving them to do only two thirds of the analysis.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Teamwork and collaboration, ability to work under pressure, IT

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Confidence, initiative, motivation