PIPS student profile

Faye Middleton

Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences (ICaMB) Medical School Newcastle University Catherine Cookson Building Framlington Place Newcastle-Upon-Tyne NE2 4HH

PIPS Internship Organisation Name 

School of Biomedical Sciences, Newcastle University



When deciding on your internship, what did you want to experience and what did you hope to gain from that experience? 

The aim of this internship was to allow me to gain experience in preparation of a wide range of reagents/techniques that were not within the remit of my PhD thereby increasing my knowledge base.  Additionally, it would allow me to work with others as part of a professional team in research management.  The practice of managing myself as part of a team is invaluable to being an employable scientist in research/academia.  In addition, this role would allow me to broaden my ability to disseminate information to a wider audience (i.e. students).  The demonstration of practical sessions to students must be engaging and informative to allow the students to learn from the experience.  Working in this role would improve my ability to engage with a wide variety of students at all levels of higher education.

Did you get the experience you were expecting and did you achieve the personal development you had hoped to make? 

The experience was far more formative for my personal development than I was expecting.  I discovered that a large part of my role was problem solving as a team within set time frames.  During my PhD I had become adept at problem solving but working as a team on a strict schedule was a invaluable experience.  I feel the skills I developed during this internship will be of significant help to me as I begin my career following my PhD.

Did you discover anything about yourself or make any achievements that you were not expecting?

I discovered that one of my strengths is to find the more efficient solution within a group and efficiently work together to complete a task.  Within my scientific experience this was not something I had previously had a chance to do and it was interesting to find that I fitted in quickly to team based tasks.  In addition, the internship allowed me to significantly broaden my teaching experience.  This is an area I developed a passion for during my PhD but during the internship I was able to gain more hours of experience.  The feedback I received from the students and lecturers reinforced that my enthusiasm is matched by the quality of my teaching ability.

Has the internship made you feel differently about potential career options and has it helped to put the skills from research into a broader context?

I feel the internship has brought in to sharp focus the steps required for me to reach my career goals.  During the internship I met many experienced scientists from such a broad background, they were all incredibly helpful in discussing their career paths so I could understand the various routes I have available to me.  Although it has made the task of reaching some of the more prestigious positions seem incredibly daunting, the people I met were very clear about the fact that my current skill set (including those gained during the internship) will be very beneficial to allow me to start the career I choose.

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