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Remote yet tight-knit: how my internship with AMI changed my outlook

Written by: Linda Stewart
Published on: 20 Jun 2024

Third year PhD student Chuen Lee spent 12 weeks interning with AMI’s Communications and Marketing Team - here’s how it went.

Chuen Lee is doing a PhD in biological sciences in University of East Anglia as part of the Norwich Research Park Doctoral Training Partnership investigating the gut microbiome and fitness in the Seychelles warbler.

Find a PhD role now: PhD roles

He wanted to use his PIPS to gain insight into careers focusing on science communication, and became intrigued by  AMI because of its status as a not-for-proifit organisation promoting science via science magazine, journals, awards, grants and events.

“I knew that AMI hosted PIPS placements and that the feedback from previous students were excellent,” he says.

“I found out that AMI had The Microbiologist magazine and science communication is something I am interested in. Moreover, the different ways in which AMI shares microbiology is really interesting and I am incredibly grateful to experience the many techniques of communicating and marketing for AMI.”

Range of tasks

His internship consisted of 12 weeks on AMI’s Communications and Marketing Team. He found himself doing everything from writing articles for The Microbiologist magazine and jobs board; to supporting the Letters in Applied Microbiology Early Careers Scientists (ECS) Research Symposium, and reporting on Google analytics and other key performance indicators for The Microbiologist website.

Chuen also provided support for AMI’s Product of the Year Award marketing strategy and created highlights from a live experiment online seminar to be published on YouTube. He even found himself planning, scriptwriting and creating a documentary on climate change and soil microbiology - due out later this year.

The role was a hybrid placement, giving Chuen the opportunity to attend team meetings in London, Bristol and Birmingham. The monthly team meetings and regular Teams chats created a tight knit team whilst maintaining a good work-life balance.  

High functioning team

Chuen says he enjoyed the experience of being part of a large remote functional team compared to his on-site small PhD work team, and appreciated the different perspectives and responsibilities with others are working towards the same goal. 

“I really enjoyed being a part of a high functioning team which is a huge appeal of working in AMI. The communication within the team is incredible. Working from home did not reduce my ability to communicate with the team at all and that was really nice to see,” he says.

“My weirdest experience was probably my first couple of weeks, where I was introduced to the Teams chats - for multiple reasons. Primarily, the sense of humour of the team is impeccable. I think the humour definitely brings the team closer, a huge reason why they are so excellent at communication.”

Browse all microbiology industry jobs: industrial microbiology jobs

Chuen says he is grateful for the teamworking, project management and commercial awareness the placement gave him. He developed his time management skills to prioritise work more efficiently, communication skills and write content which will certainly help returning to his PhD.

Find science communications jobs in England: communications jobs

Career thoughts

The experience has also reinvigorated his thoughts about his career path.

“Although I still really enjoy research, I am now open to other possibilities and perhaps would do a different job,” he says.

“I am now more open in my job search and would be excited to see job postings that are searching for transferable skills that I have developed throughout my PhD.”

Chuen advises other PhD students to embrace their PIPS experience and gain a different perspective of the job world.

“I would say do it. A placement gives you experience working in a different environment, and it can help you discover your passion and whether you are in a healthy working environment.

“Make the most of your time at your placements by trying out new things, learning from others, and building a good network,” he advises.

Find all academic microbiology jobs: academic microbiology jobs

Browse all microbiology industry jobs: industrial microbiology jobs