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Outstanding Interns 2016

The calibre of the Ogden summer interns this year was incredibly high and it was very difficult to select the winners for our Outstanding Internship Awards. The awards recognise and reward those interns who have excelled in their placement and who have shown commitment, personal development and growth as a result of their internship experience.

The awards are only open to interns on the mainstream programme (not Create Your Own) and candidates are nominated by their supervisors. This year we had 24 nominees, with three awards being made. From a shortlist of 12 nominees, Berke Ricketti, Daniel Stevens and Sarah Bunton have been recognised as this year’s Outstanding Interns.

Berke is now in his final year studying physics at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. His internship was based at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, University of Oxford. Berke’s supervisors commended his commitment and motivation throughout the placement and were impressed by his work: “He has shown a great ability to collect data and assess its value, learn new scientific software and computing methods, implement mathematical methods, produce results, and present them in a clear way. We had a clear and ambitious program of work, which we consider fulfilled.”

Ogden Regional Representative, Dr Alison Rivett, was one of the judges, she concluded:

“Berke obviously put a great deal of time and effort into his internship project at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, University of Oxford. Despite having had no previous experience of Economics as a subject, he effectively used his physics knowledge and training to successfully complete an ambitious research exercise.  He learnt many new skills along the way, including data collection, statistical analysis, computer programming and mathematical modelling as well as presenting everything succinctly and coherently at the end.  His reflective diary was insightful and clearly articulated the learning and benefits he gained from the experience, which has also informed his future career path and inspired him to apply for a PhD.  His supervisors were evidently very happy, saying "Berke did a truly outstanding job ... we were very happy with him in every respect".  The conclusions of the project will inform their future work and are likely to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.  This internship is an excellent example of the application of physics to other subject areas and shows how valuable and transferable a physicist's skills can be.”

Berke is pictured right, receiving his award from Dr Jonathan Leach, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Photonics & Quantum Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

Daniel Stevens has now graduated from the University of Manchester with a first class honours degree in Materials Science and Engineering. His internship was based at Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd in London, where he created a ‘People Dashboard’ for the Digital & Technical (D&T) division, the largest division in Sainsbury’s store support centre environment. This new reporting tool was created in excel and included all of the key metrics and data concerning people within D&T at Sainsbury’s.

Daniel’s supervisor said that he was exceptional in all aspects and quickly became an integral part of the team. He engaged well with people at all levels of the company right up to main Board Director and was focussed, determined, resilient and constantly took initiative.

Sharon Gibbons, Executive Assistant at The Ogden Trust who helped with judging, concluded:

“Daniel made a great impression on his supervisor and worked without need for direct intervention or supervision. He became an integral member of the team and the strategic tool he created, designed and implemented continues to be used to make decisions for the division and organisation.

The People Dashboard presented a range of useful metrics for the division’s senior leadership team and offered the potential for a good level of insight to be obtained. Daniel presented and refined his work with Directors and Senior Managers, and presented at Senior Leadership Team meetings. Daniel was able to apply his technical and academic skills to a business problem and achieved fantastic results within a relatively short space of time.”

The final Outstanding Internship Award was made to Sarah Bunton. Having just completed her A-levels, Sarah took up an internship at Durham University working on optics. She immersed herself in the tasks assigned to her, testing a new piece of equipment and then working with lasers – two areas with which she was largely unfamiliar. Her supervisor described her as extremely well-motivated and enthusiastic; commenting on how she kept very careful notes and interacted successfully with a wide range of staff: “We were incredibly impressed by the quality of Sarah’s work given that she has only just completed sixth form and did not have much experience of experimental work. She also learnt some programming skills from scratch. Sarah was one of the best summer students we have worked with. We hope there may be a chance for her to come back again next year so that she can get some experience of a more research-intensive project.”

As well as the practical scientific skills Sarah gained on her internship, she learnt important transferable skills that she believes will help her in her future career path, and more immediately, in her studies at University of Bath, where she is now a first-year Natural Sciences student. “My communication skills have progressed,” says Sarah. “I am now more confident in asking for help and better at admitting when I need it, rather than just struggling on my own and wasting time. Throughout the internship, I was assigned tasks that were a challenge for me but not beyond my reach. The people around me were patient with me when I ran into problems, offering help and suggestions when I needed it, but they still pushed me to come up with answers and questions of my own.”

"The Trust has opened up so many opportunities for me!"
Sarah Bunton

Pictured above right: Sarah received her award from Ogden Consultant Dr Alison Rivett.

Applications for the 2017 Summer Internship Programme will be open in Spring.