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Unix Support and Evolutionary Genetics Researcher
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I was keen to gain additional computational experience during the summer, especially in the use of Unix-style environments.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Department email

Application process

There were various questions that had to be answered via an online application process, and I had a meeting with the scheme's organisers.

What made you choose this organisation for your placement/internship?

I was already aware of Dr Zeng's excellent research record, and I was keen to spend time working with his group.

Main responsibilities

I was running statistical simulations using genetic modelling software developed beforehand, to test theoretical hypotheses regarding an evolutionary process called balancing selection.

Typical day

My time was spent largely at the library, using the aforementioned software and trying to apply it using the university's high-performance computing facility.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

It was an excellent opportunity to get to grips with some new computing tools.

Challenging aspects

Unfortunately, I was over-ambitious both in terms of scope and timing. I hadn't left myself enough rest time after a previous project, and this project overlapped with the start of application season for industrial placements on my degree, so I was forced to finish the project early. However, I still feel that I gained a lot from the experience!

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

The subject of Dr Zeng's research overlaps significantly with the subject of my degree, so a lot of the theoretical underpinnings were familiar to me. However, all of the tools (software, computing environment etc) were brand new to me!

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

Yes; I feel confident that I would like to incorporate some computational work in my future research, although I think the actual subject of my postgraduate research will be quite different.

As a result of your placement/internship, what are your next steps in planning what you want to do after graduation?

I am currently waiting to hear back from various applications that I have/am about to send off.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

Think about the timing of your holidays, since this is where I went wrong... But don't let that put you off; it is still a superb opportunity, and as long as you are careful with your planning, you should go for it!

Other comments

Many thanks; it is a superb scheme and I hope that many students will continue to benefit from it in the future.

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Form completed: 02 Oct 2019

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