An Interview with Widening Participation Intern, Jacob McLaughlin

What did you enjoy about the internship?

I had the opportunity to work on an interesting original project and to gain an insight into how research is conducted at the University. The JGI is a friendly team and the people there are working on a range of interesting things, while the interdisciplinary nature of the project meant there was always lots to learn and various different angles to explore. The wider Widening Participation programme was well-run and I had the opportunity to interact with interns from different departments working on a range of interesting projects.

What did you learn and what skills do you think you developed?

I learned a lot about how the wider University community operates, and about the procedures and processes involved in conducting original research. The project also enabled me to develop both new and existing technical skills, as the work involved creating documentation using tools such as Git and Jupyter Notebook, as well as using Python to conduct analysis. The project I was working on concerned using routine NHS data to predict stroke outcomes, so I also learned more than I expected about medical imaging and the NHS’s data infrastructure!

How has the experience added to your learning with respect to your degree programme?

The technical skills I developed during my internship have been useful during my degree, especially during my Year 3 Data Science module where knowledge of software such as GitHub and added experience using tools such as Python has given me a big head start. In addition, the internship enabled me to improve my research and analytical skills, which has been useful in my degree programme in a wide range of situations. The project also required me to summarise technical information to a variety of people, which has been useful in helping me to convey concepts clearly during my degree programme.

Would you recommend an internship with the JGI and why?

I would definitely recommend an internship with the JGI, as there is a friendly and welcoming atmosphere with plenty of support available. The JGI works on a number of diverse and interesting projects, so it is a great opportunity to utilise and improve your data expertise while simultaneously researching a novel subject. Moreover, getting involved with the JGI and the work they do gives a great insight into how the University works and how research is conducted, which is useful whether you are considering a career in research or not!