Shifting mindsets, scientific translation, and virtual coffee breaks: my remote internship at LearnSci

November 12, 2021

Jiexuan Jiang is from Guangzhou, China and a recent BSc Cancer Biology and Immunology graduate from the University of Bristol. She joined us as an intern during June and July and we asked her to reflect on the experience.

Working part-time as an intern at LearnSci in the past seven weeks was an enjoyable and rewarding experience. During my internship, I have travelled from the UK back to China, spent two weeks quarantining in a hotel near my home, and received a First Class Honours degree, all of which happened while I was doing cool projects with LearnSci.

As a final year student who is graduating this summer, I really wanted to widen my understanding of the workplace and explore scientific career options through hands-on experience. With the University of Bristol’s COVID-19 Response SME Internship Scheme, I managed to secure a remote working internship with LearnSci which began during the coronavirus lockdown.

Working remotely for a new company without meeting anyone in person can be challenging. Thanks to the constant communication and continuous support from other members of the LearnSci team, I have quickly adjusted to the workflow of the company and learnt to set clear and achievable goals every day to stay motivated. The regular half an hour ‘coffee break’ when people get together to play online quiz games and the effort they made to arrange early meetings with me considering the time difference after I returned to China has really made me feel welcomed and part of the team.

During the course of my internship, I have been involved in various projects, ranging from creating instructional and scientific education content to translating existing learning resources from English into simplified Chinese. The transition of switching from a student’s mindset to an educator’s mindset took some time. With guidance and lots of constructive feedback, I have learnt to identify and break down learning objectives for a complex laboratory technique and create engaging educational content for it. From doing initial research, to producing work to the required standard, I have had the opportunity to apply my bioscience knowledge acquired from my undergraduate degree and develop valuable new skills such as scientific translation. I have also further developed my problem-solving skills and improved my oral and written communication.

Attending online weekly staff meetings and marketing meetings has given me an insight into how an SME like LearnSci operates. Engaging in multiple aspects of the work carried out at the company has made me appreciate the important role learning technology and digital publishing play in STEM education. Knowing my work will contribute to the creation of effective digital learning resources that benefit STEM students is an extremely rewarding feeling. When planning my future career path, I will definitely consider working in the scientific publishing and education technology sector. I would also highly recommend students who are thinking of doing an internship to reach out for the companies you are interested in, as I have learnt so much within the short period of time working for LearnSci.

Thanks for your help Jiexuan, it was great having you on the LearnSci team.

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