Student Case Study: Climate Emergency and Energy Intern

Name of Student:  Janka van der Merwe

Degree Subject:  BSc Physics with Astrophysics

Job Title: SCP 6029 Climate Emergency and Energy Intern

Company Name:  University of Exeter

Type of Internship:  Student Campus Partnerships (SCPs)  

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

Conduct research of rainfall, doing analysis on rainfall observations in the Northern African/Sahel region.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

Creating a report of the findings of the research.

Were there any challenges and how did you overcome these?

Working remotely was challenging, and making sure I did the right amount of hours each week. I kept up with this by going onto campus and joining a friend who was also doing an internship, where we would work together.

Another big challenge was the high level of knowledge that I had not entirely been experienced with, regarding the climate field. Luckily my supervisor gave me access to a few of his lecture slides on the code that I was working on, and that was really helpful. I would also google the keywords, and that gave me a much better understanding.

Skills Learnt: 

  • Organisation
  • Researching
  • IT

Attributes Developed:

  • Independence
  • Work Ethic
  • Professionalism

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

This internship opened my eyes to a field that seems so exciting and up-and-coming. It has allowed me to refine my career interests, and I feel more confident in what I want to do after my undergraduate degree. I gained valuable skills working in 2 different coding languages; Python and R. I have developed the skills to perform a rainfall analysis thoroughly, which has been engaging and interesting to learn. Discussion with my supervisor also gave me a wider understanding of what the results from the analysis mean, and what could further be investigated. I am proud to have identified that the Northern Sahel region has different dominant frequencies in their rainfall spectrum than the Southern Sahel, which has implications in understanding the two Hadley cells that occupy that space on Earth.