Research group assisstant Review

by University of Oxford

This review was submitted over 4 years ago, so some of the information it contains may no longer be relevant.


  • The Role
  • The Company
  • The Culture

    The Role

  • 1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
  • I found the experience very challenging but rewarding in the sense that I was contributing to a system that clearly needed every component to be under careful management. However, when experimental results were somewhat inconclusive or slow to obtain, it was rather frustrating-but things eventually fell into place.


  • 2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
  • I felt valued by my supervisor, yet understood the importance of him wanting certain tasks to be carried out by himself so that there was an understanding of the stance of certain areas after I'd left. However, I did feel that my independent investigations were sufficiently relied on.


  • 3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
  • Members of the group were very patient and helpful in terms of ensuring my understanding of the Physics behind the experimental work was well-understood. Technical errors were heard and amended as efficiently as possible, which I was very grateful for.


  • 4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
  • The workload varied between weeks, but in the end it averaged out to having sufficient time to complete tasks that were assigned to me and test the areas of the system that were ready.


  • 5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
  • I was entrusted with primarily testing the stabilising mechanisms, which was very important. However, I wasn’t given any responsibilities in co-ordinating tasks that weren't directly related to my region of investigation. This probably helped me to complete my own tasks more sufficiently.


  • 6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
  • Having learned a lot of new Physics, this will hopefully stand me in good stead when I encounter the topic of lasers in my third year of study and onwards. However, because there were times at which I greatly relied upon my supervisor; I am not entirely able to commence with similar tasks independently. Perhaps my limited experience in Electronics hindered me from understanding the most difficult developments that had to be made, but I definitely have a stronger understanding of most if not all the areas I was involved with.


    The Company

  • 7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
  • The atmosphere was friendly, yet studious enough to get on with tasks. I really liked how everyone was willing to help when needed, and this made members of the group and the other interns approachable.


  • 8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
  • There were sometimes delays due to apparatus not being ready, but my supervisor worked hard to sort these out. There was, however, frequently something else to be getting on with if experiments couldn;t take place.


  • 9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
  • It was important that I understood the Physics behing the areas of investigation, and all the MONALISA group members invested time and effort into ensuring that I was capable to independently persue certain work.


  • 10. What were the perks on your work placement?
  • 3/5

  • 11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
  • The group's work may well be near completion by the time I think about research employment; yet I'd be willing to be involved in future projects they conducted.


    The Culture

  • 12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
  • They were friendly, yet the independent work for most of the day meant that it wasn't as laid-back a social scene that I have experienced in other areas of University life.


  • 13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
  • I was given subsidised accommodation by my college.


  • 14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
  • I didn't participate in any nightlife-related activities.


  • 15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
  • There was limited involvement because of term time having ended, yet I took Summer dance classes that were organised by a dance committee.


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Internship (1 Month+)



August 2009

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