Profile: Finn Dusterwald
Qualification: Bsc (Hons) Genetics
Role at Pacific Edge: Research Associate
Finn recently made the transition from Intern to full time Research Associate. We asked Finn some questions about his internship and what it's been like making the shift.
What drew you to applying for an internship at Pacific Edge?
I was looking for a job over summer and wanted to stay within something science-based to gain some experience and further develop the skills I had gained during university. An internship sounded like a great opportunity to get some hands-on experience in a commercial setting. I had heard a lot of positive things about Pacific Edge and the research sounded like it was both innovative and had a real-world impact, which made it extremely exciting.
What did you most enjoy about the internship?
I enjoyed all aspects of my internship! Everyone at Pacific Edge was extremely welcoming and provided me with a lot of support during the 10 weeks. The most enjoyable part of the internship was all of the new things I learnt. Within my project, I was able to work with various pieces of cutting-edge technology, as well as develop new scientific skills which I had previously not had the opportunity to learn.
What aspect of the internship did you find most useful?
I think being out of my comfort zone and working on research that wasn’t familiar to me was extremely beneficial. I was also given a good level of independence within my project, which allowed me to think creatively about my experiments and build on the skills I had gained during my Honours year at university.
Tell us about your new role at Pacific Edge
My role at Pacific Edge as a Research Associate provides me with a lot of variety in the things I am involved in, as well as a good level of independence. I have continued working on various projects which involves planning experiments, working in the lab, and analysing the data I generate. I also get to expand my knowledge on cancer and cancer diagnostics, as well as continuing to develop my bioinformatic skills and collaborating with other scientists.
How have you found the transition from university to a commercial setting?
I found the transition good – not only were the Pacific Edge team extremely welcoming, but I was also provided with a lot of assistance. The internship helped a lot as it was a great way to make the transition from academia to a commercial environment and to see if I would enjoy the change. I really enjoyed being able to still work on interesting science but in a more applied way. I found it rewarding to see that our research directly impacts the lives of people, compared with the mostly fundamental research I had been used to in an academic setting.
What do you love about the Dunedin lifestyle now that you’ve finished university?
I find the lifestyle a lot more relaxed now that I am working full-time, rather than studying, as I have a more structured schedule. I find I have more time to do the things that I enjoy, as I’m not constantly worrying about assignments or exams.
Any general advice or tips for aspiring interns?
One piece of advice I would give is to ask lots of questions. If there is something you don’t quite fully understand, or are interested to know more about, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You aren’t expected to know everything coming out of university and there are so many knowledgeable people around, with lots of experience, who are more than happy to answer any questions you have.
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