Anna Tiley, a previous communications and policy intern at the Society of Biology, provides an insight into the highlights from her three month placement.
The opportunity to do a professional internship for PhD students (PIPS) placement at the Society of Biology has been, without a doubt, one of the best parts of my BBSRC-funded PhD so far. The three months whizzed by and I am still surprised at all the things I managed to fit in!
It would be difficult to summarise everything, but here are some of the highlights:
1. The GM project
This was the central aim of my internship: to put together policy pages, a position statement and internal briefing notes for the Society of Biology on genetic modification (GM).
The project involved researching main questions often asked about GM. For example, what is GM? How is it done? How is it regulated? What are the issues? What can GM be used for? This required a lot of sifting through information followed by synthesising it into something more accessible to a lay audience. Although this was challenging at times, I really benefitted from the crash-course in GM and being able to practice communicating a controversial science topic.
One of the best parts of the internship was being able to attend plenty of inspiring science-related events. My calendar was always jam-packed with exiting opportunities which ranged from attending training events and press releases to helping at conferences and hearing debates on current science topics. Highlights included helping out at Parliamentary Links Day and the UK PlantSci 2014 conference, visiting the House of Commons and RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and even going to support the Society of Biology team at Science Show Off. There was never a dull moment during the internship!
3. Science communication
My social media skills certainly improved throughout the three months. As a result, I am now an avid Twitter user (fantastic for finding the latest papers and reading around my PhD area) and have had various articles published on both the UKPSF and Society of Biology blogs. I’m so glad I was able to learn these skills which are crucial for scientists, particularly when they can be used to improve public confidence in science and inspire future generations.
This internship was a very useful and enjoyable experience which gave me plenty of insight into potential science-related careers available post-PhD. I would like to thank all of the Society of Biology staff who were so welcoming, friendly and supportive during my placement. I had a fantastic time and, now that I am an official Society of Biology member, look forward to attending future events. I would also like thank the BBSRC for funding my PhD and for giving me the opportunity to do this placement.