Month: August 2013

European Universities Debating Championships – IDEAl

Last week, the European Universities Debating Championships (EUDC) took place in Manchester. It was a week of stress and fun. I was there as part of the Imperial delegation, who ended up rocking it.

When I first joined the Imperial College Union Debating Society, they had only ever “broken” (gotten to the finals or semi finals etc of a competition) at one competition. Since then, our society has started to really take over the debating scene. EUDC this year typified this growth in our society.

EUDC consists of three days, each having three rounds of debating. On days one and two, you get to know where you came in the debate, i,e, whether or not you came first, second, third or fourth.

Death masks and Franklin’s guide on how to be struck by lightning

Apparently death masks were all the rage in the past…especially for highly important people like Isaac Newton. The one that I saw last week was taken as a guide for the artist who had been commissioned to make Newton’s tomb in Westminster Abbey. This wasn’t the only Newton goodie (if you can call it that!) on display when I was taken on a tour of the Royal Society’s Library and Archive last week. There was also a lock of his hair, the original manuscript of Principia, a diary detailing the first recorded version of the famous apple story and even a piece of bark from that fateful apple tree.

Rathlin Island days 10-14

Hello again from Rathlin Island!

I have nearly reached the end of my first two weeks here and it is hard to imagine where all the time has gone. The days tend to blur together with working at the seabird centre and spending the evenings socializing with other volunteers and locals. I feel very comfortable around everyone I have met here, and am getting better at managing things at the seabird centre. Just a couple of days ago I was given the responsibility of opening up the centre with the other volunteers while the boss was running an errand. Although everything went smoothly, we had an interesting beginning to the day when we found that the gate to the centre was open and approximately 40 cows had invaded the welcome area and bus park of the centre.

Rathlin Island Days 4-9

And so, my first week at Rathlin Island has come to a close. The views are just as breathtaking as ever, and I feel that I am slowly getting used to the relaxed atmosphere on the island. The weather is very unpredictable, with winds bringing different weather from both NI and Scotland. As for the RSPB seabird centre, unfortunately a majority of the birds that were left have flown away for their winter migrations. The few that are left are mostly fulmars and kittiwakes, with the occasional guillemot and gannet flying around. Today I also saw my first great Skua. However, there is still an abundance of things to share with the visitors, from puffins heads (the poor things that had been caught and killed by peregrine falcons, eaten, and their heads and legs left behind) to guillemot eggs to a number of RSPB bird and nature books to peruse.

An eventful eggs-perience…

It’s been just over a week since I started here at the Big Issue Foundation and already I’m starting to feel at home! I couldn’t have hoped for a more welcoming atmosphere that stands in stark (and pleasantly surprising) contrast to some of the places I’ve interned before.

And what an eventful week it’s been! I’ve met with people from across the organisation, in distribution, fundraising and Big Issue Invest. To a man, everyone has been lovely.

But one in particular sticks in the mind. On my second day here, I was introduced to a former vendor now working as a cycle courier, an exuberant character called Dean.

Earning my publishing stripes and golden maces

With the second week of the internship came that feeling of settled-ness where you enter the comfort zone of knowing what you’re doing and is expected of you. Although there’s still plenty of variety in the tasks that I’m assigned so there’s no time to get complacent or procrastinate really! Some new tasks I’ve been helping with include making promotional flyers for forthcoming editions of the journal.  I also worked with another of the editors in the department to select reviewers for articles submitted to Interfac,e a more conventionally structured research journal published by the RS. It was really interesting finding out some of the different approaches taken for this journal, compared to TransB.

Rathlin Island Day 1-3

I have arrived at Rathlin Island!

I am currently sitting at McCuaigs pub, enjoying one of the few sources of WiFi on the island. The pub overlooks the harbour, from where I can see all the way to the town of Ballycastle in the mainland of Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is my first time in NI and the views  are absolutely spectacular. I have just started working at the RSPB Rathlin Island Seabird Centre two days ago.

I applied to be a residential volunteer with RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) in early April, and was happy to get a position working and staying on Rathlin Island.

Last Week at DWT

Sadly, this week is my  last  at DWT. I was out with the reserves’ team again this week, this time at a coastal reserve called Blackhall rocks near Hartlepool. The views of the County Durham coast were fantastic. In my first week I was the only girl and this week I was one of only 2 girls out on site! But I go to Imperial, so I’m used to that. The habitat at Blackhall rocks includes woodland, scrub and para-maritime magnesium limestone grassland (wow, what a mouthful). Although scrub provides a good habitat for birds, it is common around the UK.

Penultimate Week at DWT

It’s my penultimate week at DWT. I’ve really enjoyed myself so far and I find the work I’m doing interesting and, most importantly, relevant to my future career goals. As well as this, I feel like the document I am working on will really be of benefit to the overall project and I have written something that my supervisor can actually use. I have been encouraged to add headings and any other information that I think is relevant while reading papers, and I am able to focus on the sections that I find most interesting. Not only does this keep me motivated, but I also have the opportunity to be creative and add my own input to the project, which I think is rare for an intern!

Clock ticking ever closer…

I’m currently sitting in a café in Vauxhall, counting down the minutes until I start my placement at the Big Issue Foundation. The pre-first day nerves setting my mind to run wild, publishing my first post to the blog seemed like a welcome distraction…

I imagine most of you will recognize the Big Issue. Having thousands of vendors on streets across the UK each week have turned it into one of the country’s most trusted and recognizable social enterprise brands. What you might not know is that it’s actually split into three arms: the magazine, the foundation and the social investment vehicle.