UROP opens up opportunities

The applications for UROP, the scheme offering research internships to undergraduates at the University of Reading, are closing today, March 31. This programme gives students the chance to participate in research projects led by academics, gain a wide range of transferable skills, and kick-start their career in the area of their interest.

Two of the students who participated in the scheme in 2016, Francesca McPeanne (Education) and Hamza Abu-Elmagd (Pharmacy), took their research projects further and, after being selected as overall winners at the Undergraduate Research showcase event last November, presented the outcomes of their research work at ‘Posters in Parliament‘ in Westminster during March.

The annual exhibition, hosted by University College London, showcases some of the best UG research in the country and saw 52 students from 27 universities display their research to a range of MPs and higher education policymakers. While Francesca’s project explored the controversial ‘bilingual advantage’ in word learning, Hamza’s work focused on evaluating stakeholder experiences of pharmacists in General Practice clinics. His poster was one of eleven research projects to be shortlisted for the overall Posters in Parliament competition on the day and was awarded joint third prize by the judging panel, which was made up of leaders in the higher education and research sectors.

A growing number of universities are engaging their undergraduates in research. Reading remains at the forefront with 2016/7 being another record breaking year for the number of UROP applications received and the number of projects being funded across the university.

Posters in Parliament, Photos by Kirsten Holst

Posters in Parliament, Photos by Kirsten Holst

Try out the summer internships

If you were standing in the queue for the Summer Ball tickets on the cold 23rd day of March, you certainly noticed the Careers Gazebo. From 11-2pm the team bravely faced the wind, welcomed passers-by, and handed out hundreds of goody bags.

The gazebo was put up on the occasion of the Summer Sorted scheme. This Careers programme was created for you to gain professional experience during the summer. If you are interested in research projects, then UROP is the programme for you. However, you may want to build up your working experience; in this case RIS is the way to go. Get started and apply for the internships on offer because the closing date for the UROP opportunities is March 31 while some of the RIS vacancies will expire on April 4.

What are the benefits of doing a summer internship? Professional development is the main one. Add to it all the people you will meet and the insights into your area of interest. In the long run these advantages will increase your chances of securing the job you want after graduation.

Until then, seize the opportunities and make the most of your summer!