Big win for the School of Physics – 3rd place out of 300 UK university teams

IBM UBC final all 5The IBM Universities Business Challenge (UBC) Worldwide is the world’s longest established undergraduate simulation-based competition designed to develop employability and enterprise skills and starts with 300 teams across the UK.

Facilitated by Susan Bird (Careers Consultant, School of Physics & Astronomy), the School submitted two teams, one team making the semi-final in Edinburgh. After a keynote introduction from Shelagh Green, (Director, Careers Service), the teams did a series of intensive, timed business simulations culminating in a 60 second innovation pitch.

The Physics undergraduate team – students Imran Marwat (team leader), Fidel Elie, Ziyi Zhang, Adamos Spanashis and Brandon Christman – not only won 2nd place at the semi-final – but also won Best Business Idea on the day, beating 19 teams from other UK universities.

The School funded the team’s travel & accommodation expenses to the London final, the team was mentored by Mike Ross from Standard Life Investments & supported by the Careers Service – a good example of how we work with Schools & industry partners to support the employability and professional development of our science students.

The UoE team of physicists went on to win third place in the final gaining a prize of £250 and beating a number of business teams from universities across the UK.  A real coup for the School of Physics & the University of Edinburgh.

Here’s how team member Ziyi Zhang reflected on the Challenge:

“Thank you for being at the competition and supporting us throughout this experience. I realized studying physics not only made us “book smart” but also taught us critical and logical thinking which can be applied beyond academics.

Combined with creativity and hard work, physicists can be successful in any field of our interest. We should all branch out to areas outside of our textbook, and explore our hidden potential.”

SCI Day of Science and Careers

Organised by  School of Physics academic Dr Tiffany Wood, Director of Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership and Chair, SCI Scotland Group

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Calling UG and PG students across all scientific disciplines

SCI’s Day of Science & Careers , University of Edinburgh, 5 April 2017

Explore a wide range of careers in science-based industries. Speakers from industrial, academic and independent backgrounds will present their career pathway and offer insights in to what to look out for, and what to consider when choosing your next steps. Plus sessions on interview skills and CV writing, with opportunities to network with speakers and fellow delegates.

Talks will include the following areas:

  • Working in Analytical Chemistry
  • Intellectual Property & Patents
  • Life in an SME
  • Scientific Publishing
  • Academic Careers
  • Regulatory Affairs
  • Academic/Industrial Partnerships
  • Scientific Marketing

For the full timed programme and to book online please visit: http://bit.ly/DOSCS17

Day of Science and Careers Scotland 2017 flyer_final

Volunteering opportunities with the Royal Meteorological Society

The Scottish Centre of the Royal Meteorological Society meets in the Geography Building on Drummond St once a month during the autumn & winter, with a guest lecture each time. They need volunteer ‘Student Ambassadors’ to help with maintaining the branches’ website and to live tweet during lectures as well as potential for more if you are interested.

Volunteering as a Student Ambassador helps promote meteorology as a science, profession and interest, while improving your employability skills and boosting your CV.

The post is totally flexible around your academic studies and you will  get free Student Membership with the Royal Meteorological Society.

They ask that you commit around 2-3 hours each month. Closing date 1 May.

Please see attached for the RMetS Student Ambassador leaflet, which explains more about the Ambassador role and how to apply.

rmets-student-ambassador-guide-scotland

Summer placements with DESY

DESY is one of the world‘s leading accelerator centers for investigating the structure of matter. DESY develops and builds large particle accelerators and conducts research in the fields of photon science and particle physics. The research facilities of DESY are used by a large international community of scientists.

Each summer DESY offers students in physics or related natural science disciplines the opportunity to participate in its research activities. About 100 students from
all over the world take part in DESY’s research and attend the lecture program.

Find out more here

Application Deadline is 31 January, 2017.

An internship – why should I bother?

Good post from my colleague Jane Challinor, Information Manager, about internships and work experience.

The Careers Service Blog

On Day 2 of #ExperienceWorks, here’s some food for thought from the latest annual survey by the Association of Graduate Recruiters.

Why do a formal summer internship?  Well, agreed, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea – and for some graduate roles these structured programmes don’t even exist (there are other ways of getting experience instead*). But if you’re in your third or penultimate year of study and any of the following apply to you:

  1. Hoping to work in (for example) finance, marketing, business, engineering, IT, law, HR
  2. Wanting to build, in perhaps a more formal environment, upon the work experience you already have
  3. Open to the idea that trying something out is the best way of testing whether it’s right for you

…then you should consider applying for a summer internship.

Want to see the stats?

According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) almost three-quarters of graduate employers…

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Work placements for women in STEM

Careerwise offers paid work placements exclusively for women studying STEM subjects at Scottish Universities, as well as additional careers support and advice to all placementees pre and post placement to boost confidence during the transition into the workplace.

They will be at Careers in Engineering this Wednesday 2 November from 2-5pm at Sanderson building Kings Buildings so go and meet them!

The placements for this year have just opened for applications, and are being advertised on MyCareerHub.

Organisations providing placements include Mercury Engineering, AECOM, KP Technology, CAS, Midlothian Council, University of Edinburgh, Leonardo (Selex), Sestran, Exterity, Marine Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University and Peacock Technologies.  More to follow in the next few weeks. 

Thirteen organisations have signed up to Careerwise, between them offering 29 paid work placements, presenting a unique opportunity for women to gain valuable work experience in key STEM sectors.  Placements take place between June and August 2017 and are paid at a salary of at least £16K pro rata.  Applications are welcome from women currently studying STEM subjects at any Scottish University.  The closing date for all registrations of interest is 25th November 2017. 

You can read more about Careerwise here

Data, digital and creative internships

In summer 2017 there will be 50, 10-12 week paid internships available at some of the IPA’s 300 member agencies aimed at STEM penultimate and final year students.

The AdMission internship programme through STEP gives undergraduates and new graduates insight into the new graduate job roles emerging  across the advertising sector which benefit from degrees in physics, mathematics, computer science, data science, software and electronic engineering, economics, psychology and anthropology.

Digital technology is transforming the way advertising companies do business. Data analysis drives consumer insight. Algorithms dictate real-time media buying, coding underpins the functionality of the websites and apps built for communications and e-commerce. Behavioural science informs user experience journeys. STEM graduates who want to apply their skills to a creative communications environment are needed by the sector.

Internship roles include: data analyst, digital strategist, real-time media planner, econometrician, developer/creative technologist, user experience planner, creative planner. Want to know about the roles and how to apply?

Visit: AdMission 2017

Advertising is a reflection of society, and the sector is keen to increase their representation of the multi-cultural society in which we live and work. The AdMission Internship programme welcomes applications from Black And Minority Ethnic students to support this pipeline of talent.

STEP.org.uk offers internships in a range of other areas too and environmental internships through its Bright Green Placements opportunities

 

Data science winter fellowship: MSc students and final year PhDs

The Data Incubator is a Cornell-funded data science training organization. They offer a free intensive 8 week fellowship that prepares masters students, PhDs, and postdocs in STEM fields seeking industry careers as data scientists. The program is supported by sponsorships from hundreds of employers across multiple industries. A variety of innovative companies partner with The Data Incubator for their hiring and training needs, including LinkedIn, Genentech, Capital One, Pfizer, and many others.

Who Should Apply

Anyone who has already obtained a masters or PhD degree or who is within one year of graduating with a masters or PhD is welcome to apply. Applications from international students are welcome. Everyone else is encouraged to sign-up for a future session.

More details on their website

Data Science in 30 minutes: Learn how to build a data-science project in their upcoming free Data Science in 30-minutes webcast. Signup soon as space is limited.

European Space Agency: my summer internship experience

Tara is a final year student here at Edinburgh. She wrote her first blogpost about applying to the European Space Agency (ESA). Here is her second blogpost where she talks about what she did and what she learnt about the job, the ESA, the people – and herself.

“With my traineeship at ESA slowly coming to an end, it’s time to look back at the many memorable experiences made and interesting people I met. In the 2 months that I stayed in Darmstadt, a 20 min train ride from Frankfurt, I learnt about the professionalism in the agency and how important good communication between colleagues is. I learnt what it’s like to work independently besides one of the best mission analysts in the world and also receive constructive criticism once in a while.

My job at ESA was to improve an orbit determination software called DITAN, which was used for low-thrust trajectories such as the mission BepiColombo to Mercury in 2018.

tara-esa-satellite

Artist’s impression of BepiColombo in front of Mercury. Credit: ESA – P. Carril

Naturally as an Astrophysics student I was afraid that my programming wasn’t up to scratch but luckily I could pick up the most common routines  fairly quickly (so many nested if loops!). With the help of my very patient supervisor I learnt how to make code more elegant and use as little of it as possible. When I wasn’t debugging the Fortran 5000-plus-liner (yes, in the space sector everything gets recycled, including ancient programs from the 70s) tea breaks would take up second priority, as many staff would joke. The canteen was the meeting place of different sections, ages and nationalities.

Besides work, other topics of interest such as politics (Brexit more than once) and even personal bests at the last triathlon as part of ESA’s sports clubs were discussed. Similar to all the societies and clubs Edinburgh University offers, ESA has a smaller range of activities to make different nationalities feel at home. During one of the after-work wakeboarding events I noticed once again that ESA really supports a good working atmosphere and also emphasises positive and open thinking whilst not forgetting to be critical as well.

Sharing an office with 4 trainees and contractors from Hungary, Belgium and Germany also gave me an insight into their work, although some of their French conversations as one of ESA’s working languages surpassed my 6-weeks taster course level. Nevertheless, on multiple occasions we helped each other with technical issues or generally exchanged ideas and experiences. It was astounding that even though they had come from totally different walks of life their technical knowledge and the art of communicating this in an easily comprehendible way was exceptional. Not only in my department did I notice the conscientious and composed way in which trainees and staff would listen and respond.

As most of the staff are international, ESA hosts intercultural events such as the annual fun run, running 5 or 10 km with or without a costume as well as a BBQ, which is themed after a different country every year. This year they chose the UK and Northern Ireland, which the organisers claimed to have chosen before the Brexit campaign started (or they were testing all the British staff’s humour). Costumes ranged from business men, to green leprechauns or simply tea bags and was, besides the roasting temperatures that day, an all-round fun activity. The BBQ didn’t disappoint either and offered all sorts of traditional cuisine, alcoholic beverages such as Pimm’s and a performance by Scottish country dancers and a bagpipe player. And there was me in Germany, thinking I could escape the ever-present bagpipe-melodies known from Edinburgh.

tara-esa-group

Credit : ESA – Stefano de Padova

Another insightful event was the informal ‘space dinner’ with guest speaker Rolf Densing, director of operations at ESA, who spoke about the future in space and invited all guests to have a chat with him during the German dinner. Surprisingly his predecessor and German Astronaut Thomas Reiter made an appearance too. Although I missed my chance to speak to him, I overheard a story of him at the dinner table when he was sipping his morning coffee and let it drop in mid air still thinking he was in space! These little stories besides many others were exchanged during the meal and made the company even more enjoyable.

At the establishment I work at, the European Space Operations Centre, Security takes an important role since million-euro heavy satellites are operated from here. This meant I was obliged to wear a badge with my name and picture at all times and was checked every morning by the international security guards, who I’m sure knew everyone’s nationality off by heart and greeted them with “Guten Morgen”, “Buongiorno”, etc. Equally the staff returned the good deed with respect and a bright smile.

Possibly whoever is reading this thinks I’m exaggerating my appraisal for ESA, but with a 100% success rate for all its launched missions, its expertise is world leading and I couldn’t have imagined a better placement with such a lively and proactive vibe to it.

If you can, I would always recommend gaining some work experience in the summer, since it not only gives you a head start in job applications but also teaches you a lot about if the job is right for you in the first place. That said, I’m considering a career in the space sector more than ever before and could imagine working as a trainee for ESA or in the space industry after graduating. Equipped with my new-found motivation to pursue this goal I’m curious which challenges await when I return to Edinburgh!”

Pizza and presentation panic

Edinburgh physics student Zoe offers her latest blog post from her internship in Coherent in California where free pizza is a nice incentive!  For any of you who find giving presentations just a little bit scary, she has some very savvy advice.

At the end of my internship, I will also be required to host one engineering seminar.  My presentation will last for about 30 minutes and it will include a summary of my internship and the obtained results.

I won’t hide that at the beginning I was dreading the idea of this presentation, since I don’t have a lot of experience and talking in front of people is a skill I haven’t practised as much.  To be fair, I have presented something twice at University during the end of my third year, once for my “Research Methods in Physics” and once in my “Experimental Physics” class.  However, they were both 10 minute long presentations and they differed from the one I am supposed to give at Coherent by an important factor:  the audience.  Presenting in front of your class and professors is quite different than presenting in front of unknown people who certainly know much more than you on the topic at hand.  It will be a challenge for me to stand there and speak with confidence but the more the time passes the more excited I get to do it.

For anyone who might be feeling the same way as me, here’s my advice:  Think about it as a good practice opportunity for a skill that is undoubtedly extremely useful and valuable in any kind of profession.  And the best part about it is that we really have nothing to lose from it.

Read the full post here. The Careers Service has advice on presentations too.