Celebrating our Summer Internship Programme students

We recently celebrated the achievements of students who took part in our Summer Internship Programme 2020 at a virtual prize-giving event.

Now in its fourth year, the summer internship programme offers paid, project-based work experience to undergraduate students across a range of our research and teaching activities, over 8-12 weeks during the summer. Students gain practical insights into what goes on 'behind the scenes' at our School, and a taster of PhD-level study. 

Despite the challenge of Covid-19 restrictions, the School decided to continue with its summer internship programme by hosting all 33 internships virtually.

The programme’s coordinator, Industry Engagement Manager Dr Katherine Cameron, explained “When lockdown happened in March 2020, we quickly converted all projects to remote projects as we recognised that students were facing a difficult time finding degree relevant summer work and we wanted to continue to provide support where we could.”

Presentation prize winners

Students presented their project work during a two-minute video at the halfway point of their internships. First, second and ‘highly commended’ prizes were awarded by a staff judging panel and presented by Vice-Principal Professor Colm Harmon at an online prize-giving.

  • First place: Rafael Anderka – ‘Developing a Web-Based Fluid Simulation Tool’ (£100 voucher)
  • Second place: Holly Foster – ‘Resilience of Traditional Structures in Madagascar to Cyclones in a Changing Climate’ (£50 voucher)
  • Highly commended: Thomas Aston, Rahul Roy Chowdhury, Katarzyna Maksymiuk and Dagna Wojciak (£20 vouchers)

Winners: Rafael Anderka (left) won first prize, and Holly Foster (right) won second prize for their Summer Internship Programme video presentations

“Hidden possibilities”

Winner Rafael’s project – supervised by Dr Timm Krüger – involved building an accessible website to teach basic principles of fluid dynamics “in a playful and visual manner”, in order to make the subject accessible to a wider audience.

Speaking about his project experience, Rafael explained, “Even though I had experience with GPU programming before, realising this project in a web context encouraged me to find my own creative solutions. Throughout the project, my supervisors allowed me to be highly autonomous and I was able to delve into exciting technologies and techniques. 

“My advice to future summer interns would be to work hard and let other people know of your passions and aspirations. You never know what possibilities may be hidden in a summer project.”

Second prize winner Holly’s project – supervised by Dr Chris Beckett – aimed to help communities in Madagascar by better understanding the resilience of traditional structures to cyclones in the country.

Holly explained that her project focused on methods for “building cheap and resource efficient homes that are resistant to high winds and rain and make use of locally available materials”, in particular working on “the climate modelling aspect of the project, to understand the current climate in Madagascar, how it is changing and what the impacts may be on communities in the future."

Career development

During their projects, students were encouraged to complete the Edinburgh Award for Work Experience and were given access to dedicated research internship presentations by the Careers Service.

This year’s projects were funded by School Vacation Scholarships, various research grants, and Careerwise placements run in partnership with Equate Scotland.

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