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UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies is an interdisciplinary centre for the integrated study of science's history, philosophy, sociology, communication and policy, located in the heart of London. Founded in 1921. Award winning for teaching and research, plus for our public engagement programme. Rated as outstanding by students at every level.

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STS Summer Internships

11 October 2013

STS ran a very successful internship programme over the summer. A number of our undergraduate students were successful in applying for the internships. The students have written some personal reports about their summer experiences taking part in the STS internship scheme.  We are hoping to run a similar programme in 2013/2014 and details will be available shortly. If you think you might be interested keep an eye on the careers webpage!

Project 1: Intellectual Property in Solar Radiation Management
Project manager: Dr Jack Stilgoe (STS)

Intern: Bella Eacott (3rd Year 2012/2013)

Subject Area: Science and Society

The summer after finishing my undergraduate degree I undertook the STS studentship, working with Dr Jack Stilgoe, on a project regarding intellectual property and scientific publications in geoengineering. Whilst this connected with some of the actual content of my degree (in particular, the "Governing Emerging Technologies" module, with Dr Stilgoe), it was in all other ways a totally new experience. To start, it has been an incredible chance to experience how collaborative research projects happen, working with individuals with different research backgrounds and from different institutions. Secondly, it has been a great lesson in time management, organization and self-motivation. Throughout my degree, deadlines ensured that I would produce something in a certain time frame, whilst in this project, both what needed to be produced, and when it should be done by, was far more exploratory (but by no means less demanding!). In fact, this has been one of the more challenging activities I have undertaken whilst at UCL, particularly because working with Jack has meant that the work I do will contribute to something which is eventually published, which ups the pressure to do it well! In addition, the type of research we were doing involved me learning two new data analysis tools, which were totally new to me. All together this has been a uniquely challenging and rewarding experience, allowing me to apply the tools I have learnt throughout my degree, learn valuable new skills and experience collaborative research in action!

Project 2: Colour Recipes in Pyrotechnic Treatises, 1450-1650
Project Manager: Dr Simon Werrett (STS)

Intern: Ilaria Cavedon

Subject area: history of science

“My research aimed to identify evidence of colour in fireworks before 1800. The research had been divided into two different phases. I firstly looked through several ancient Pyrotechnics’ Treatises (from 1450 to 1650) in order to find recipes describing how to make coloured fireworks. The Treatises I looked at were in different languages: English, French, Italian, and Latin. Having found evidence of colour in fireworks, I made a list of the ingredients mentioned in the recipes I had found. The second phase consisted in researching historical information about the ingredients used to make coloured fireworks. That is to say, I had to look for information explaining what other uses these materials had in ancient times (from 1450 to 1650), and how they were made or obtained from.

The first stage of the research was more straightforward. I already had a list of Pyrotechnics’ Treatises I should have looked at. All I had to do was to extrapolate the relevant information contained in them. The second stage of the research was more arduous and challenging. Sometimes it took me long time before finding little relevant information about the materials I was interested in. In the whole, I would say that I gained more skills and learnt more in doing the second part of the research.”

Project 3: Internship in Public Engagement
Project manager: Emma Tobin

Intern: Sophie Osiecki

Subject Area:  Engagement/Communication/HPS

We are very grateful for the Support we received as part of an E-Learning Development Grant from the ELE Learning team and also to the excellent project support received from Jess Gramp. 

"The premise of this project was to work with Emma Tobin, one of the STS Careers Officers, to produce podcasts to be disseminated to the public. The main aim was to make as many Careers podcasts as possible in the given time frame for current students and recent graduates of the STS department. These consisted in either Emma or myself interviewing various alumni about their chosen career paths. I also had the very special opportunity of interviewing a scientist (and recent MSc graduate of the STS department) for the seventh installment of Emma's 'Thinking About Science' series. There was a lot of planning involved in producing these podcasts; for each one I would need to contact potential interviewees, organise studio time and prepare questions in advance of recording. The later stages were much more technical, and I was responsible for making sure that everything went smoothly during recording and that the interviews were edited effectively.

I already had some experience with the program Audacity, but this was greatly improved by the editing work I did for this project. This process not only required technical skills; I had to pay close attention to continuity in terms of content. Sometimes there would be over 30 minutes of material that had to be condensed into 15 minute pieces, and it was important that I didn't delete something that was then referred to again at another time. I soon found out that this was no trivial task but also highly rewarding one, especially once you had the finished product!

By far my favourite part of the project was being able to participate in the Thinking About Science series, but I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting alumni and the actual editing work itself. I would say that I gained a lot of organisation, communication and technical skills throughout the studentship and I am very grateful to have been involved in this project!"

Page last modified on 11 oct 13 10:00 by Jo E Pearson


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