BSc students Ahmad and Pedro took part in the BAME Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme this summer and were supervised by Professor Thomas Prellberg. We spoke with Ahmad and Pedro about their experience, what they've learnt and how the internship will benefit them in the future.
Ahmad and Pedro with Prof Thomas Prellberg, Dr Matthew Lewis and PhD student Tom Roberts
The Science and Engineering BAME Undergraduate Research Internship lasts for eight weeks and is designed to provide undergraduate students with a chance to engage in research projects within STEM subjects. The research typically involves contributing to ongoing projects under the guidance of academic staff.
Ahmad: I applied for the S&E BAME Undergraduate Research Internship to gain practical research experience in my field of interest. This internship presented an excellent opportunity to work closely with experienced academic staff, collaborate on cutting-edge projects, and apply the knowledge and skills I've gained during my studies.
Pedro: I applied for the internship as I have been coding nearly 6 years. In that time, I have slowly started to narrow down my options of the path I want to pursue as a career, one of which was Maths based research. On top of this, I already had some experience in the techniques being used in the research done because of other personal projects that I have coded. Although the techniques weren't identical, the ideas behind them translated well.
Our research project focused on coding, Rosenbluth sampling and Monte Carlo sampling, and aimed to understand the work of our supervisor Professor Thomas Prellberg, trying to visualise his discoveries. This research has applications in statistics, coding, group work and most importantly understanding there isn’t one goal and there will be points where you feel stuck however asking help from supervisors or peers can aid a lot.
Ahmad: During the internship, I acquired valuable research skills, learned how to work effectively in a team, and gained a deeper understanding of the research process. I developed my critical thinking abilities, data analysis techniques, and improved my communication skills through regular updates and presentations.
Pedro: This internship has shown me that research is tough. There won't always be a straight path to an answer and it's not uncommon to have to reassess the model you are using or to even simplify a given problem further.
Ahmad: Working with Prof Thomas Prellberg, Dr Matthew Lewis and PhD student Tom Roberts was an enriching experience. Their expertise and guidance were instrumental in shaping my research journey. They provided constant support, shared their insights, and helped me overcome challenges. Regular meetings and discussions allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
Pedro: Working with academic staff and a PhD student created a relaxed environment to work in. If at any time I felt I couldn't fully grasp a concept, I didn't hesitate to ask for a clearer explanation and I think this in particular really helped speed up the work I produced.
The internship offers a unique chance to work closely with established researchers, build a strong network, and explore various career paths. This experience has opened doors to potential collaborations, postgraduate studies and research opportunities in our future careers. Being able to conduct research at this level is a great skill to showcase and good experience to include on your CV.
We would highly recommend this internship to other students, especially those interested in pursuing a career in research or academia. Students considering applying for the next S&E BAME Undergraduate Research Internship should thoroughly research the projects available, align their interests with the projects, and showcase their passion for learning and contributing to research. Be proactive, engaged, and open to learning from experienced researchers.