Today I started my internship at Surfers Against Sewage, a Cornwall based charity focused on improving UK water quality and the reduction of single use plastics, as well as broader issues such as marine conservation and climate change.
Having just launched their new project ‘Plastic free Coastlines’, a positive response to an accumulation of plastics with an area of 5x the size of the UK (newly branded ‘Wasteland‘), there is a vibrant and energetic atmosphere in the office. The project aims to engage communities and businesses in the problems that Wasteland is creating, and provides a free action plan, inspiring you to ‘join the resistance’. I’ll be tasked with public engagement at the infamous Boardmasters festival next week, hoping to collect , collate and report on data from the public, and signing up as many people as possible to this effective response to a very important issue.
My second and third weeks at the K&C Foundation have seen the office attempting to look forward from the Grenfell Tower fire and move back to normal, but with around 10 cheques still arriving daily, the fire is definitely at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
I started week two continuing to work on my ‘Big Donors’ List, which would allow the foundation to plan for the future and efficiently be able to recognise those who have been especially generous and make sure that they had been thanked. The data that the foundation receives from the different mediums of donation is often cryptic and required a certain amount of detective work to make sure that donors were thanked for the correct amounts.
I guess I’m a professional working adult now. I have a 9 to 5 schedule (being able to relax after work and not have to study pleases me), I commute on the tube at peak hours (and eavesdrop on busy businessmen’s conversations) and I get to tell people I work in Temple (like a hotshot lawyer in a TV series).
Not pictured: the businessman who looked at me weird for taking this photo
These middle weeks have been where I’ve done the bulk of my work. I wrote a news report on digital democracy, did an extensive literature review on data economy, and compiled about 10 case studies on different enterprises from around the world.
Macmillan Cancer Support are a charity that aims to improve the lives of people living with cancer in all aspects of life – from diagnosis, through treatment and living with cancer and even end of life. They have been growing at a rapid rate over the last few years and so you’re pretty much guaranteed to see them around! If you want to find out more information about them, whether it’s to fund raise for them or simply explore their values, the link is here: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/
My internship is based in their office at Albert Embankment, Vauxhall in their technology department – their first ever intern!
If you understand what you have read so far in this post, then you would definitely know the difference between the sentences ‘GDP rose in 2015’ and ‘GDP rose consistently from 2010 to 2015.’ So would a Natural Language Processing (NLP) programme. Some NLP programmes might even one-up us mere mortals by giving the ‘dependency parsing’, ‘parts of speech tags’, ‘named entities’ and other sentences attributes that only learned and esteemed linguistic practitioners like Noam Chomsky, George Orwell and Donald Trump would understand.
Well, NLP programmes (or at least the one we’re currently using) might be able to parse a claim like ‘GDP growth averaged 7.3% under the previous Labour administration’ (warning: fake news; please don’t take this statistic for truth) and flood you with a deluge of sentence attributes.
All good thing has come to an end, as my journey at MEA reaches its destination day by day I feel more and more emotional like I am already missing the place. So much things happened in the past four weeks, apart from demonstrating my research results and learning from my colleague I also managed to show them how bad an ‘Asian flush’ can get (I will never drink with an empty stomach again). Anyway, let me tell you what happened in my last few days at MEA.
The last week was quite rough to be honest, apart from doing the planned charity research I was also assigned to do some document classification and research work.
Week 2 is now over and I’m happy to say I’ve achieved more than I thought in the second week. After all the research I had completed in the first week it was time to organise some ideas and start building up the presentations. This was harder than I first thought.
When first started compiling different parts of my research into a presentation I realised there was a bit more to it than just adding information. The trickiest part I’ve been finding to achieve is conveying the devastating effects that neuro-disability has on people’s lives whilst maintaining a light-hearted, fun presentation for the children.
It’s Wednesday, time 23:21. I ‘m sitting in the kitchen, reflecting on the past three days. That’s it so far – only three days at Anthony Nolan*. How is it possible that I feel so different than on a Sunday evening?
Are you thinking of doing an internship in a charity? Let me tell you how you’d feel. At the beginning, you are extremely excited. You plan your project, it seems to be the most groundbreaking thing in the world and you cannot wait to pursue it. Then Sunday comes, and you are supposed to start work on Monday morning.
Week 1 completed, that’s 25% of my internship. Sacrewell farm is now ~0.5% closer to the public unveiling of their collection.
The William Scott Abott Trust is an agricultural education charity with a visitor’s centre near Peterborough. This idyllic site, with its 18th century water mill, charismatic staff and farmyard animals, is my office for 4 weeks. What a hardship for me to bare! Leisurely walking round the 550 acre organic fields and visiting the alpaca on my lunch break.
When I’m not enjoying the beautiful setting I am focused on cataloguing their collection of farm equipment. Ranging from a 7m long hay baler machine to a 20cm spanner.
London Nightline are a charity providing a confidential listening, emotional support and practical information service to London’s students. London Nightline began in 1971 where it was modelled around the Samaritan’s with the key difference that all volunteers are students and the service is tailored to students needs. Nightline was set up as a response to a spate of student suicides at Imperial. Originally based in South Kensington and known as West London Nightline the charity then spread to address the needs of students across the city.
You can visit their website here: http://nightline.org.uk/
The aim of my time at Nightline is to interview volunteers and service users about their experiences.