A day in the life of a work experience student

Posted on August 7, 2019 (Last modified on October 19, 2023) • 3 min read • 581 words
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Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting a Year 12 work experience student, Katherine, within the CEDA team. She wrote us a blog post, take a look below to see what she got up to…


My name is Katherine Nutt, I am 17 and I go to Blessed George Napier School in Banbury. I study A Level Biology, Physics and Maths and am also doing an EPQ titled “Why are there so few women in STEM?” After 6th form, I would like to go to university to study Civil Engineering, and I ultimately want to become a chartered engineer.

I applied for this work experience placement many months ago when I was still uncertain as to what I would like to study after 6th form. I was really pleased when I got a placement in the RAL Space department (although I didn’t know what it would involve) as I have a personal interest in space and enjoy maths/statistics. This week I have been in the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA) division and my supervisor was Communications Manager and Data Scientist Poppy Townsend.

My first project was to look at the new CEDA website which is under construction at the moment and give some feedback. I had to answer some questions to see if information on the new website was easy to understand/locate and wasn’t missing any sections.

My main project was writing Impact Stories for the CEDA website. These explain what uses JASMIN and the CEDA Archive have and why they are irreplaceably important to research projects. These impact stories will also be used when CEDA are applying for renewed funding. I watched several YouTube videos, read books and read example stories which showed me effective ways to structure and write my stories. This was very useful as I have never written scientific impact stories like these before. I planned my stories using the CRACKLE (Challenge, Reasons to Care, Actions, Character, Key Benefits, Lure, Ending) and 5 W’s and a H (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How) frameworks before I started. This highlighted what questions I needed to ask the researcher who used CEDA/JASMIN, to fill in the gaps in my understanding and knowledge of their projects. After the researcher replied to my email with more details, I drafted my impact story. Then, my supervisor Poppy read through my work and together we edited it and made improvements. She showed me techniques to make my writing more effective, easier to understand or read better.

I was really impressed by how many tours I was taken on this week. They were all really fascinating and easy to understand. I particularly enjoyed seeing the meteorites in the visitor’s center.

I learned some really good transferable skills this week when I was writing my Impact stories. I no longer do much writing in my A Level subjects, so it is good that I still exercise these skills as they are very important for science communication, and my possible future career.

Do you know someone who would like to participate in work experience with us?

The CEDA team usually supervises between 3-5 students each summer via the STFC work experience scheme. If you want to experience life at CEDA/STFC, take a look at the website for details and mention your interest in CEDA within your application. 

We will soon be sharing the impact stories and new website that Katherine helped to write and review, keep an eye out over the next few months! 

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