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Computer-based Sperm Analysis Intern
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I decided to do a placement as I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to gain skills that may be useful in future employment. It would also allow me to gain insight into the day to day workings of the research environment.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Career Connect

Application process

I had to compose a CV and cover letter tailored to the placement. I was then invited to an interview where we discussed the placement, what I expected the placement to be like and what skills I had that would allow me to successfully complete the placement.

Main responsibilities

I had to devise a protocol from scratch for editing videos of quail sperm so that they would be compatible with the sperm analysis software SCA motility. I had to come up with a way of editing the videos in Adobe Premiere Pro. I then had to cut up the videos into frames using VirtualDub. Finally I had to import the cut up videos into SCA motility and check that the software could successfully analyse them and hence data could be collected.

Typical day

A typical day consisted of editing a batch of videos, then cutting them up in VirtualDub and checking them in SCA motility. I would look for patterns in the videos that did or didn't work so as to refine my editing technique.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I really enjoyed the sense of achievement when I produced the final protocol that would go on to be used by other students and researchers working on the system, that encapsulated all the work I had done on the project. It was also enjoyable coming up with ways of solving problems with the software. Everyone in the lab group was really friendly and helpful so it was a pleasure working with them.

Challenging aspects

Persevering when none of a batch of edited videos worked in SCA motility, having to figure out why they didn't work and re-editing them all.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

I was able to use the skills I gained in Adobe Premiere Pro when completing the 'Talking the Talk: Getting Science on Film' module in second year to help me edit the videos as I was familiar with the software. I was also familiar with the study system as a result of my third year project which had also focussed on the characteristics of quail sperm.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

The placement has cemented my appreciation for research and as such I will be more likely to look for jobs in this area in the future.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

The more effort you put into a placement the more you will get out of it. When struggling with a problem don't be afraid to ask your supervisor questions as they will most likely come up with new ideas and avenues you haven't yet explored. Embrace any opportunities that come with the placement.

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Form completed: 20 Jun 2018

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