So I’ve finally reached the end of my stay here in Paignton – and I know its cliché to say – but the time really did fly past! I really can’t believe its been a whole five weeks already. During my internship I learnt so much more than I thought I would about zoological research and now feel really confident in a lot of new skills . In this last week here I’ve simply continued the work I was doing at the half-way point, only now with complete independence.
Looking back on my time as a whole, I have plenty of great memories and experiences.
During my four-week placement I will be working at the Brilliant Club, a charity which focuses on widening the participation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds at highly-selective universities. The charity runs a successful Scholars Programme which helps students to secure places at university by organising tutorials with PhD tutors for small groups of Year 6 to Year 12 students.
The charity is also in charge of running the Nuffield Research Placement in Greater London and Surrey which is the programme I am working on. The programme provides Year 12 students with the opportunity to complete a summer research placement in a STEM field thus enabling them to gain extremely valuable skills and experience, thus aiding them with their university application as well as equipping them with core competencies of a successful scientist.The scheme encourages applications from students with no family history of going to university, as well as those who attend schools in less well-off areas therefore the scheme greatly supports the idea of social mobility which I am greatly passionate about.
My internship has come to an end, my report has been completed and submitted to my supervisor and, so far, the feedback has been positive. I spent the final week continuing to write up my research and editing the content, reworking the structure and ensuring the formatting allowed me to present my findings in the best way possible.
I also met more of the trustees of the charity to hear about the work they do and to discuss the experiences they have had when visiting Nepal and Peru on numerous occasions and distributing the lights as they made their way up the mountain ranges.
I’ve had a rollercoaster ride of a first week at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) situated at the border of the Snowdonia national park in Wales. CAT is an education and visitors centre that aims to demonstrate solutions to sustainability. It was founded in the early 70’s in a disused slate quarry at a time when the scale of environment degradation from human activities was only just beginning to be understood. The early pioneers wanted to develop technology that could be of benefit to humans, nature and the economy. In a similar spirit, during CAT’s existent the quarry has been ‘rewilded’, and now hosts an abundance of wildlife.
I CAN’T BELIEVE FOUR WEEKS HAVE GONE BY SO QUICKLY!
The last two weeks have absolutely flown by. I finish my internship today – I’ll be sad to go. I’ve learnt a lot and met some really interesting people.
During my week break the new website went live, and I believe the new neuroscience Journal has been initiated – everyone in the office has been quite busy.
Last week was spent analysing all of the survey data I’d collected, and producing an overall marketing plan which could be used to inform the marketing approach of the BNA. This involved looking at the automatic analysis SurveyMonkey generated, and picking out/discussing the relevant information.
I have now completed my one-month internship with Anthony Nolan. For those of you who haven’t read my previous blog posts, Anthony Nolan is a charity that saves the lives of people with blood cancers or blood disorders. They match patients in need of a bone marrow transplants to selfless donors who have signed up to their register.
The internship was not quite what I had expected. This was in part because my original project goals changed. Initially my project was to create and share digital content that would encourage young men to sign up to the register. My first week went to plan and I studied research into how young men interact online but after that instead of creating new content I worked on promoting a piece of content called Donny and the Professor Cure Blood Cancer that tells the story of how a bone transplant works in a comic book themed story (and it’s a lot better than anything I could have done).
Something that I was looking forward to the most when working for a charity that is directed towards animal conservation was the rate of rewards. I have already mentioned that I have worked in field work and at a zoo, but to be able to see the impact your work has on animal conservation in these fields is slow and can take years – even a lifetime. However, charity has easily come up trumps. Work is fast-paced and the benefits of your work are immediate.
Save the Rhino has 13 programmes in Africa and 4 programmes in Asia. With an extensive group of projects around the world that is under their control, there always seems to be good news.
Now passing the halfway point of my time here at Paignton zoo, I’ve switched to becoming almost completely independent in the work I’m doing. From the start, the general idea was that I would have two weeks of training with the project leader, followed by two/ three weeks of unsupervised work. The overall project itself is now in its third phase. Now that the ‘before’ and ‘during’ data has been collected over the year for the primate’s probiotic treatment it’s time to analyse some of the possible lasting health benefits in the ‘after’ stage. Excitingly, early data analysis is looking good already.
After what seems like a very short five weeks, my time at St. Anne’s has come to an end. I’ve settled in well and have a great relationship with the service users, so it seems almost too soon to be leaving!
The main aim of my project was to collect data on Spice use (more on that later), but during my time here I’ve also become involved in a lot more of the work that St. Anne’s does. I’ve helped to run the breakfast club every week, which was a great way to meet the clients and talk to them about my project.
The automated factchecking project is split between two parts: scanning text and checking its validity. When I started it a few weeks ago, I intended to spend equal amounts of time on each. However, I started off in the first week using some very rudimentary programming tools, and it became clear that it would be much more worthwhile to explore new avenues and come up with new ideas in order to produce work that will be useful in the long term. And the long term is important, because I am kicking off something that will be built on in the coming years.