Student: "Find a project that you're passionate about"
“I’m Samirah, and I am a Biology student at Wageningen University & Research. My specialisation is Cell Biology and Molecular Interactions, which I find very interesting; I am excited to learn more about processes at molecular and cellular level, especially since I already have a bachelor in the field of forensic science. I already finished my master thesis, and right now I am doing an internship at Diergaarde Blijdorp.”
“Finding an internship wasn't a big challenge for me; I'm a very hands-on person, so once I knew I wanted to do an internship I just started by approaching teachers to ask if they had any interesting research projects I could join. One of the first teachers I contacted was Mirte Bosse; she taught a number of classes during my first year of the master, and I really liked the combination of evolutionary genetics and bio-informatics. Also, I knew that she was involved with animal research, which I thought was really cool as well. She responded to my email and pointed out the elephant project at Blijdorp. Long story short; I got the internship via ABG, and now Mirte is my supervisor.”
Advice for finding an internship
“My tip for everyone who wants to do an internship would be to approach teachers whose courses you find interesting, and to check the website of the chair group that they belong to; I found most of the information I needed on the Animal Breeding and Genomics page, and if I couldn’t find something, I just contacted someone who I thought would be able to help me. The people at ABG are really very helpful, so if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for information.”
“What I like most about my internship so far, is the combination between the technical side – the data-analysis and the lab-work – and actually seeing the results of what you’re doing. When I’m at the zoo and I’m taking a break from work, I can just walk through the park and see the elephants, which is really cool! It makes the research much more tangible, and it also keeps me motivated.”
“My final tip for students who want to do an internship would be to find a project that you’re passionate about. And make sure you start looking for an internship placement in time; finding a placement can take a lot longer than you might think, and it would be a shame if you can’t do an internship you’re really enthusiastic about because of time constraints.”