My Science Communication Internship - Not Only Office Work

Spotted:
Science Communication intern out in the field - Not the most unexpected spotting here at CIRC

During my studies of science communication, I have gained insights into different potential work placements through previous internships and volunteering. So far, most communication positions I got to know were limited to office work where the communicators rarely left their desks. Here at CIRC, being a science communicator entails much more than desk work.

Determining Impact of External Influences on Water Properties, Photo by Joelle

Determining Impact of External Influences on Water Properties, Photo by Joelle

First, I expected my internship to be a traditional office job

When applying for my science communication internship at CIRC, I expected it to be a "normal" science communication position which for me meant sitting in my office and publishing press releases covering the exciting research done by the scientists. During my job interview, I first found out that I’d also have the opportunity to go out with the researchers when they do their field work. Already, this seemed like a step towards a more exciting internship than I’d anticipated before. Still, I had a set image of me going out with the researchers solely for documentation purposes and to collect content for the webpage.

My first day out was more than just taking pictures

Soon after my internship had started, I spent one of my first days out with students of the Arctic Geoecology course. I packed my camera, tripod, and other photo equipment, ready to be the silent observer. On site, I soon found out that I wouldn't just be the silent observer. It was quite the opposite actually. The researchers and students naturally integrated me into the work processes, and explained their research objectives. Finally, i had the chance to ask all the questions about research on lakes that I never knew I had. As I was integrated into the team, I got to understand why the students took specific measurements and what they needed them for.

Measuring Water Properties, e.g. Oxygen Levels, Photo by Joelle

Measuring Water Properties, e.g. Oxygen Levels, Photo by Joelle

How I got to drill a hole into a 65cm thick layer of ice

To take measurements of water properties, we needed to somehow access the water in the lake which was covered by a thick layer of ice. To do so, we had an electric drilling machine with us. First, the students drilled a few holes into the lake. While I watched the hole-drilling process with fascination, the students offered me to try using the machine myself. Of course, I was very excited to drill a hole on my own. And obviously, there’s pictures to proof my contribution.

Photo taken by Kimmo

Photo taken by Kimmo

During Field Work: How and what I learned while having fun

My day out with the students of the Arctic Geoecology course was more exciting than any normal day in the office. I learned about the research which scientists at CIRC do, why they do it, and why specific measurement methods are chosen. Moreover, I experienced being a part of the research process myself, not only because I was allowed to drill that hole into the ice but also through the insightful discussions with the students which allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the work they do than I could have gained just sitting in my office.

Typical Swedish Fika, Photo by Joelle

Typical Swedish Fika, Photo by Joelle

Art: “Hugo the Squid”, Photo by Joelle

Art: “Hugo the Squid”, Photo by Joelle

Remarks

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