Summer internship gives real-world experience

TAKE A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK

Shobana Reddy understands the value of summer internships after taking the opportunity to experience dairy farming science as a possible career instead of just a university subject. Shobana worked on a DairyNZ project this summer.

“Working for DairyNZ has exposed me to the large variety of career opportunities available in the dairy sector which I was previously unaware of. There are science teams, tech teams, environmental teams and so much more!”

 

Shobana is a University of Waikato student studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Chemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology. This summer she took a summer internship opportunity at DairyNZ.

“I worked on a pre-trial for the MBIE and DairyNZ Low N Livestock project which aims to develop genetic and management solutions for reducing nitrate leaching. I was investigating kidney function and Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) in cows at DairyNZ’s Lye Farm. The aim of my internship was to construct a scientific report detailing the full process of the GFR investigation and provide recommendations for the future to further perfect the method for the actual trial.

“I was involved in sampling (collecting blood and rumen samples) as well as processing data and samples. For the science students out there, this consisted of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC analysis), lots pipetting and centrifugation.

“This internship has broadened my horizons in terms of career options. I have also become more accustomed to being in a work environment and have greatly developed many skills which will benefit my future career (such as how to interpret and present data, correct lab behaviour or chemical handling, improvement of academic/scientific writing, animal handling, and how to use statistical software).”

“Previously I hadn’t had much to do with the dairy sector and knew little about cows in general. Luckily, this internship gave me a behind the scenes look into the field and I have learnt so much about the whole sector and the animals! I have truly come to appreciate how amazing cows are and how DairyNZ are always working to help farmers. The sector is such a huge part of New Zealand’s culture which only reinforces the importance of DairyNZ.

“While working for DairyNZ, I have continued to learn new things every day, from how to extract blood from a cow’s jugular and pasture sampling, to learning the importance of the scientific writing style. The learning is endless.”

Shobana’s advice

“If you are a student thinking about doing an internship you should just go ahead and do it. Take absolutely every opportunity you can get to make it happen. You learn so much invaluable information and it gives you practical experience which will absolutely be useful later in life.

“And if you do take on an internship, don’t be shy, take the opportunity to ask lots of questions. People genuinely prefer it when you ask to clarify things and it shows you have a keen interest to learn.”

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