Each student takes something different away from their summer studentship experience.
Some use it as an opportunity to try things out before they commit to a career path, some as a networking tool and others as a building block for a well rounded career.
The opportunity to work with leaders in their field
I initially signed up for the Summer Studentship programme as I wanted to help bridge the transition from my theory based ELM years to my clinical ALM years. I wanted the opportunity to immerse myself in the clinical environment and to start making connections with clinical staff. Whilst my studentship certainly provided me with this opportunity, there were far more benefits that I had not foreseen.
My studentship involved analysing data that has not been previously studied. As such, the results I found have important clinical relevance and I have been constantly surprised at how important the work I completed is for health in New Zealand – all for 10 weeks of work!
Further, I was afforded the opportunity to work with leaders in their field and have gained good insight into how research works, which I think will have huge benefits for my clinical training in the future.
I have two publications that are in production and I am also planning to present at a large academic conference later this year.
I would highly recommend the summer studentship programme; the money is great, the hours are reasonable and you truly have the opportunity to contribute to health research in New Zealand.
An excellent way to spend the summer
I spent two summers working in the Mackenzie Cancer Research Group as part of the Summer Studentship programme, prior to and following a year completing the Biomedical Sciences Honours programme. I found both summers to be relaxed, enjoyable and most importantly, excellent stepping stones to further study.
I was able to use my time in the first Summer Studentship preparing for my Honours project and familiarising myself with the techniques required, while the second comprised a stand-alone project for which I have prepared the first draft of a manuscript to be submitted for publication.
The Summer Studentship programme is a great way to gain some initial research experience, which I believe is vital before jumping into a thesis-based degree such as Honours, Masters or PhD, as work in a real research lab is vastly different from controlled undergraduate labs.
Almost everybody involved in biomedical research here at the Christchurch campus is incredibly supportive of students. My supervisor allowed me to work independently, whilst always being available for any questions I might have. In addition to this, I always felt that my scientific opinion was valued even by senior researchers. All this enabled me to make connections with some of the top researchers in their respective fields and has now led on to a PhD.
All in all, I found the Summer Studentship programme to be an excellent way to spend the summer: forging connections, gaining valuable research experience and earning some money on the side. Definitely beats the usual student jobs.
Research encouraged me to be self-directed and independent
I have been lucky enough to do a couple of studentships at the University of Otago, Christchurch over the course of my degree. Both were in very different fields and both incredibly more satisfying than anything I’ve ever worked on before. You are offered an opportunity to trial the field of research in medicine and still get some time off to enjoy a beautiful summer in Canterbury.
This year, I was doing research that encouraged me to be self-directed and fairly independent. I was able to contact and meet my supervisors for assistance when needed but otherwise, the path of research was determined by me. I could work whatever hours I liked as long as I got the job done to a satisfactory standard.
It is also so rewarding to see your research develop over the course of 10 weeks. Seeing your research potentially have an effect on medical practice makes you aware that you are not ‘just a student’ and that your work can have an impact and meaning at this early stage.
A studentship gives you the opportunity to meet future employers and provides valuable opportunities to work as part of a research team in an area you are passionate about. This year, I was able to work with Pegasus Health, one of the biggest Primary Health Organisations in the country. They were incredibly supportive and passionate about research. I was able to network and it gives a valuable head-start when it comes to life after university study.
I believe doing a summer studentship builds strong foundations for a promising career in research. You learn to navigate a field of medicine and prove something that otherwise may have remained abstract. You get to meet like-minded people in a field of your interest and work with them. This opportunity furthers your chances of working in an area you are passionate about and you are able to enter it with some prior experience.
It has opened up the world of clinical research for me
The Summer Studentship programme was an extremely valuable experience that has opened up the world of clinical research for me. I have now done two studentships, each giving a different view on how to carry out research in the clinical environment.
It is a privilege to be work for a summer in a hospital that values research and clinical improvement. The supervisors and other clinical staff were very generous with their time to assist me through the study process. You feel like you're a big help to them as these projects would often take a long time to complete without a student to commit time to it. If you are transitioning into clinical years as I was, it's also nice to have a summer to get to know a few people and get a feel for the hospital environment.
My latest studentship project provided clear results that will change practice in Christchurch and provide benefits to patients, clinicians and the health system. It was particularly fulfilling to know that I had made a difference during my summer, while at the same time earning money to use throughout the upcoming year. My project will hopefully be published as a paper in the near future which is a great way to boost your CV and gives you confidence to do take on more research projects in the future. I know in the future I'm going to look back with pride at my two summer studentships and I would highly recommend it to anyone studying in the medical field.
A unique experience to see how ideas become knowledge
Over the last three summers I have participated in the studentship program. A summer job that pays well, but unlike most others available to students, is worth so much more than that.
I have had the opportunity to work in the laboratory alongside experienced researchers with an extraordinary depth of knowledge in their field.
The program has been as an excellent introduction to all aspects of research, from generation of ideas, experiments, through to analysis and presentation of results.
This reaffirmed my intention to continue into Honours, and allowed me to have a head start as I had already become accustomed to the lab environment and equipment.
I had also become proficient with carrying out some of the experiments that I would later use.
It is a unique experience to see how ideas become knowledge, and also to have had the opportunity to contribute to it.
Read the reports from Gabrielle's projects
- Investigating the contribution of hypoxia-inducible factor to cobalt-induced pseudotumour formation
- Intestinal membrane vesicles – A novel innate defense mechanism?
- Growing enteroids to study bowel disease
A fantastic way to gain research experience
Completing a studentship in the summer of 2015/2016 was truly an invaluable experience and a great way to spend my summer holidays.
This provided me with a great insight into what research entails within the medical profession.
These projects are a fantastic way to gain research experience and learn more about a specific field of medicine.
These also provide a huge benefit to the medical profession, being the most up-to-date research within your respective field. For me, this studentship provided a great deal of independence within my research and my supervisor was very approachable when needed.
It also helped create various connections within the hospital, which has made my transition into my clinical years much easier.
The experience is something I will always look back upon in advancing my medical career and I would strongly recommend a summer studentship to all.
Read the report from Edward's project
- Aseptic Loosening following hip and knee replacement - are there different mechanisms of failure?
It looks good on your CV
My personal experience with the programme was very challenging, whilst offering notable reward at the end.
I was given the freedom by my supervisors to develop the research protocol, collect the data, and analyse the data, with guidance from a large team where I needed it. As such I learned a lot about research methodology, a skill that will be invaluable as I progress through my clinical training and career.
Since completing the research and the formal summer studentship programme, I have had further opportunities arise through my involvement.
I have presented my findings at a large academic conference, and have drafted my first of two potential publications for the research completed. I have heard similar stories from many of the other students who completed a project, who are gaining lead and secondary authorships of various articles.
On top of all this, the money isn’t too bad. You get to enjoy your summer. You’re reasonably independent and autonomous and can make your own hours.
It looks good on your CV and you get further opportunities to build on that CV. I would highly recommend.
Read the report from Dean's project
- Can non-attendance to Pulmonary Rehabilitation be predicted prospectively using a question based scoring system