UCL Careers


MAPS Research Internship

Read one student's account of their MAPS Research Internship.

Image of Emily carrying out an experiment in the lab.

29 September 2022

What is your name? 

Emily Worobiej

What are you studying? 

Integrated master’s in chemistry with a language, I have just finished my third year. 

Why did you apply for this internship? 

I am interested in a career in research, and this seemed like a good way to gain experience in the field. 

I wanted to enhance my lab skills in organic chemistry and knowledge of organic chemistry.

How often were you on site?
Mostly on site in the lab, some work was completed remotely. I have been working 4 days per week. 

Tell us about the project: 

I have been working on synthesising aromatic heterocyclic compounds and functionalise them with self-healing groups. The compounds are integrated into polymers to evaluate their mechanical and electrical properties. I have been involved in the organic synthesis and material characterisation. 

What have you enjoyed whilst undertaking this internship? 

Coming up with ideas to make the project work, this was a challenge at times at first. During my degree, time spent in the lab is made up of undertaking lab work with projects already set. Being ok with the project taking time and each idea not always working was a change but an important learning process if you want to work in the field of chemistry research. 

I was able to ask questions to PhD students and learnt about what steps to take if I undertake a PhD.  I felt the support from post docs was helpful along with my supervisor. 

What have you learnt whilst undertaking this internship? 

I have learnt different lab techniques, analytical techniques, refining each reaction by repeating the sequence, which might come in use next year in my fourth year. 

I have learnt that it is ok for projects to take a while. I have strengthened my presentation skills by presenting findings to the Chemistry department and improved my interpersonal skills improved skill set. 

What are your career plans?

Next year (my fourth year) I am going to ETH Zurich and will undertake a research project in term 1 & 2. After I complete the fourth year, I plan to source a PhD, or I might take a gap year, this is yet to be decided. 

What is your advice for students who are thinking of applying for a MAPS Summer Research Internship?

I suggest go for it, as the process of applying being shortlisted and interviewed is a useful life skill. The whole process of gaining experience in research helps to clarify if a career in research is what you expected it to be and if it is right for you.  It also helps with perusing a career in research thereafter. I found it an exciting experience. If you are unsure, I feel it is a great opportunity to try out. It is important to be ok with being patient, teaching labs are different, you must think of ideas and take your time.