May 15, 2013, by khyx2lyn
Life of an Intern – Research in Neuroscience
I had the privilege of conducting my summer internship abroad at the UK campus with Dr Roger Newport. The 10 weeks spent on English soil was by far the most thrilling and enlightening adventure I have ever embarked on. The amazing landscape, the historical structures, the friendly people and the cold summer was an absolutely refreshing change. Their buildings preserved for thousands of years, absolutely efficient transport network in cities and their people ever so helpful, polite and welcoming. Given that Nottingham is geographically situated smack dead in the center of UK, traveling to neighbouring cities was very convenient. Each city boasted their own ministers, abbeys and castles, and with the exception of London, are walkable, which was very convenient for me to make day trips, visiting these cities on my own.
In addition to that, the internship experience was just as remarkable. Dr Newport assigned me to a project, which I had the opportunity to design and conduct all on my own. It was definitely beneficial for a prospective final year student because that experience served as a perfect simulation for my final year project. This served as a chance for me to experience and observe closely, to a certain extent, the life of an academic, and this was useful and relevant when I consider the possible routes to take after graduation. With guidance and supervision, I managed to pull off a tiny project, though faced difficulties recruiting participants since everyone were home throughout the summer. However, that was a blessing in disguise, since that allowed me to converse and interact more with the postgraduate students there, which again was useful for when I am deciding between furthering my studies and giving a shot in the working world.
During my stay there, I was very fortunate and blessed to be just in time for the School’s Summer Scientist week. The summer scientist week was a science fair-like event for children aging 4 to 11 years old which is aimed at increasing awareness and interest in science, especially psychological science in the surrounding community. I had a booth featuring Dr Newport’s MIRAGE multisensory box, through which we made the children’s hands disappear, elongate their fingers, break off a part of their fingers, gave them supernumery limbs and so forth. It was quite a sight to watch a disbelieving child’s painted face light up with delight and surprise when we conducted the illusion. Bringing a smile to their faces, is indeed one of the most gratifying, warm and fuzziest feeling I had ever experienced. To do what they had deemed impossible, to give them inspiration, to boggle their minds, and to see them return to the booth dragging their parents, the whole experience was something I’d do again if I have the chance to. The hours sitting there from 9 to 4, was all time worth spent because of the children, although I may not be speaking for those researchers who are wanting to collect data for their studies, since excited children may not always be the most obedient.
In a nutshell, it was one summer that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Wong Pek Kei,
(Year 3 Student in BSc (Hons) Psychology, UNMC)