Profile: Libby Willocks
Qualification: BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science
Role at Pacific Edge: Product Development Technician
What drew you to applying for an internship at Pacific Edge?
After completing my Honours year at the University of Otago I wanted to get hands-on experience over the summer break. As an undergraduate student I had heard about the exciting, innovative science they do at Pacific Edge and wanted to get involved. Pacific Edge appealed to me as it was a way to use the skills from my degree whilst improving the lives of people affected by cancer.
What did you enjoy about the internship?
The team at Pacific Edge are very welcoming and supported me during my transition into the summer internship role. I gained new skills and got to work with cutting edge technology. I felt like my work really contributed to the company and their vision. My project was super interesting and relevant which made the experience that much better.
What aspects of the internship did you find most useful?
Being offered a job in the field I studied was an amazing opportunity and would help anyone going forward in their science career. My internship project gave me the ability to approach science in an innovative way, whilst also building on the skills I had learnt throughout my study. The most useful aspect of the internship was presenting my research to experienced scientists in a professional environment, where I could really grow as a young scientist.
Tell us about your new role at Pacific Edge.
Since starting full time work at Pacific Edge I have continued to work in the same area that my internship project was in, but have been able to broaden my research and have since designed my own experiments. The awesome thing is, I have gained a level of independence whilst still being able to collaborate with the team around me.
How have you found the transition from university to a commercial setting?
It was a smooth transition and I was provided a lot of support and guidance throughout the early stages of my internship. Commercialised science is quite different from the academic research I was used to, with different goals and challenges associated. It is exciting to explore other avenues of science whilst being supported by a great team.
What do you love about the Dunedin lifestyle now that you’ve finished university?
Its great being a young professional in Dunedin and seeing what the city has to offer. Since starting work at Pacific Edge I have really enjoyed having more structure in my life to do the things I enjoy. Working gives you a breather from constantly worrying about assignments and exams. I feel as though I have more time to try out new things and visit new places.
Any general advice or tips for aspiring interns?
Apply! You learn so much throughout the process that you can take with you into any scientific career. The internship position would be suited for someone who has a strong foundation in a lab setting, gained usually through a fourth year of study. You are likely to stand out if you are able to think outside the box and are ready for a new challenge.
My advice for an aspiring intern would be to make the most of the opportunities given. Be prepared to get really involved in all areas of Pacific Edge throughout the 10 weeks. Don’t be afraid to ask the people around you for help, collaboration is where you learn the most and how you will see the best results.
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