GABRIELA BIEL IBIOIC INTERN SUMMER 2017

My name is Gabriela Biel and I am currently studying towards my degree in Food Bioscience at Glasgow Caledonian University.

I have decided to apply for the summer intern position within the Projects team at IBioIC mainly because I wanted to try something new and discover other aspects of science beyond lab work. The offer appealed to me a lot and I didn’t get disappointed to say the least because the internship exceeded my expectation by far!

Over the course of my placement, I was involved in a variety of tasks, all of which let me apply my skills and learn new ones as well. The first week was rather calm and focused around introducing me and two other interns to all different teams at IBioIC. It let me understand what the company does which I found really helpful and interesting. Once fully set up, I was ready to start contributing to my own team. It started with basic tasks like reporting, online researching, updating customer relationship management platform (Salesforce) and creating data spreadsheets which turned out to be of a great use for the team. I also got a chance to familiarize myself with new functions of the common types of software as well as with new ones which, as I realised, will be extremely useful for my further university learning. I had an opportunity to visit various research facilities as well. I was given tours in modern automated lab in Edinburgh Genome Foundry, Brewing and Distilling facility at Heriot Watt University and many more which was an incredible experience.

As the time went by, tasks were becoming more complex and demanding - I welcomed that with excitement as I enjoy challenges. I was lucky enough to experience a close of a project call (Impact Accelerator) over my time at IBioIC and most of my tasks were focused around that. Along with my two fantastic supervisors, Jo and Sam, we went through all the applications deciding how to proceed with them and discussing pros and cons of project plans. I was able to see what the whole application process looks like and I also learnt a lot about innovative biotech trends that scientists are currently trying to implement. Having developed a strong interest in a few companies, I feel it opened my eyes a lot and gave food for thought about what possibilities there may be for me in the future.

The two other interns and I were also involved in a big project together. We were helping the Skills Manager with organisation of an Industrial Biotechnology Day for Chinese Pharmaceutical University students visiting University of Strathclyde. We prepared a presentation and we also recorded a video with master students talking about their experience studying Industrial Biotechnology. The whole day turned out to be a huge success and the experience definitely helped me improve my presentation and interpersonal skills.
And finally, my favourite project! I was responsible for collecting feedback from postdoctoral research associates (PDRA) who work on different industry led projects. I liked that task the most because I had to set up everything myself – starting from designing questionnaires, through contacting each PDRA and finally meeting up with them. I really enjoyed the responsibility I was given and it felt very satisfying to put the project into life and carry on with interviewing people. I got a chance to ask about their academic and career route. The feedback on that made me pay close attention to a PhD course as a possible option for me in the future. Because of that task, I gained a lot of self confidence in meeting new people and I started enjoying networking a lot. As a result of the project, I managed to collect a lot of information which may eventually improve many things like the experience of future postdocs working on future projects.

It was an excellent opportunity to be an intern at IBioIC. I had a great time, learnt a lot of new things and gained valuable skills, both personal and professional. I believe I really took the most out of the placement and I couldn’t imagine it being any better. I am thankful to every single person for their support and guidance, especially Jo and Sam who were always helpful and so kind to me. I felt appreciated and trusted all the time which made me feel I truly belonged there and I am so happy I could contribute to the Projects team and IBioIC as a whole.