Mikhaela’s internship with Minerva Communications exceeds expectations
Mikhaela Neequaye, a student at the Institute of Food Research, wanted to gain a better understanding of science communications and what actually happens after research is conducted. Mikhaela met Rhonda Smith, the CEO of Minerva Communications, on a visit to the Norwich Research Park and used the opportunity to discuss the possibility of an internship with the company.
Mikhaela undertook her internship from June to August 2016. The main objective of the placement was to coordinate the presence of Minerva Communications at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) 2016 in Manchester. This is a large, biannual conference that brings together leading scientists along with members of the media, government and public. Mikhaela’s role was to manage ESOF as an ‘account’, taking an administrative role in the delivery of two sessions at the conference as well as a stand at the exhibition. This included liaising with key stakeholders and conference coordinators in addition to the speakers and exhibitors attending on behalf of Minerva and their respective projects. Everyday tasks entailed a combination of administrative work, researching products, trends and attendees as well as supporting other members of the team. Additionally, Mikhaela undertook a series of creative tasks including the development of materials such as info-graphics, postcards, a quiz and videos. “I took an active role in the planning, execution and follow-up of ESOF including writing a formal report of the preparation and execution of the talk on behalf of the I.Family project, for use in future efforts in communicating the project”, Mikhaela says.
This main objective was supplemented by auxiliary, supplemental and personal objectives in wanting to attain a better understanding of a non-academic working environment, working with EC-funded projects and attaining a better grasp of the everyday workings of a science communications company as a potential career choice. Mikhaela worked with Early Nutrition, an EC-funded project separate from Minerva’s work at ESOF. This work included supporting the filming of high quality information videos from project dissemination in London as well as drafting a press release and info-graphic for the project.
During the internship Mikhaela felt she was able to upskill in many areas. Mikhaela developed her project management and organisational skills, communication and engagement skills. Mikhaela also developed her creative thinking, development and software skills during her work, producing several videos as well as writing a personal blog for the Minerva Communications website. Mikhaela also made many new contacts and expanded her professional network.
“My internship far exceeded my expectations in what I hoped to achieve”, reflects Mikhaela. “I have gained a vast amount of knowledge in funding, communications, engagement, project management, learning from a rich and diverse team from a variety of professional backgrounds and experiences (including journalism background, literature, environmental science and small businesses)”. Mikhaela continues “The sheer variety knowledge, experience and connections I have developed by working with Minerva Communications will be invaluable when I take the next steps of my career following completion of my PhD”.
The team at Minerva Communications were also extremely happy with the internship; “Mikhaela has been an invaluable member of the team here at Minerva and we shall miss her input and perspectives as well as her personality”, reflects Rhonda Smith.
Mikhaela advises future PIPS students to be proactive in finding their internship. “Being at the research park means we are inundated with some of the most influential people in science, as well the many industries supporting and surrounding research such as communications. This provides the opportunity to decide what you want and then chase after it”, says Mikhaela.
To watch the videos Mikhaela produced and read her blog click on the links below.