- Katie's research experience : profitable and challenging
- Everyday life in Rennes : self-improvement and immersion in a foreign culture
- A fruitful partnership leading to STEM-IRSEP and Erasmus + ICM (International Credit Mobility) grants
Katie's research experience : profitable and challenging
Not only was I offered the chance to return to Rennes to complete a Masters or a PhD with funding, but my proven capacity to relocate and adapt encourages me to seek opportunities and apply for positions all over the country and even internationally
Although I already had some experience with many of the methods and machines used in the lab, there was no shortage of support and help from my supervisors and everyone else in the lab. They were incredibly patient and helpful which I believe allowed me to become autonomous in the lab more rapidly.
I was able to apply concepts and techniques I had learned in lectures and labs over the past 3 years. However, this project required a very in depth understanding of the human genome. Furthermore, the protocols used needed to be constantly adapted in the face of discouraging results which challenged me to think more critically about procedures used and allowed me to adjust my techniques accordingly. Therefore, I would say that the project was both relevant and challenging for my educational background.
I gained valuable experience writing scientific reports and received priceless advice and mentorship from accredited, published scientists. I learned a lot from the advice given by my mentors, but also through trial and error. I was extremely independent and learned to better manage scientific experiments, especially in terms of organization and consistency. I was able to not only learn new skills in the lab, but had to perfect other skills as well.
The experience made me more confident in my ability to work in research following graduation, and makes me a more competitive applicant for jobs and graduate programs. Furthermore, I believe this experience has expanded my opportunities for the future; not only was I offered the chance to return to Rennes to complete a Masters or a PhD with funding, but my proven capacity to relocate and adapt encourages me to seek opportunities and apply for positions all over the country and even internationally
Everyday life in Rennes : self-improvement and immersion in a foreign culture
"My team included me in team-building events, picnics, afternoon activities, etc. Furthermore, Rennes is a city rich with activities specifically for students and the university does a great job of informing students of upcoming events. In addition, UR1 organizes many events specifically for international students [...]
Most of these events take place during the semester. In fact, the city appears much emptier in the summer months. During my first part of the internship, between May and July, the main source of information about local events came from my research team. Therefore, students completing only a summer internship will need to seek these events themselves and may find that there is not as much going on in the city during this period."
The social and personal aspect of my internship allowed me to expand my awareness and improve myself. My comprehension of the French language increased rapidly and gave me a plethora of new resources, ideas, and ways of expressing myself. As an American, the importance of learning a new language was never stressed to me, but I feel like this is where I have gained the most from my internship. The time I spent with French students and French families gave me insight into a culture which I have familial ties to and allowed me to see my own culture in a new light. As an individual, I have been inspired to continue exploring new cultures and learning more languages. In addition, adapting to a completely new environment also required me to face new challenges daily, overcome my anxiety of making mistakes, and taught me to be comfortable outside of my comfort zone.
The challenges I faced were difficult, I often felt embarrassed and ignorant, but in the end, the rewards far outweighed the discomfort and I learned to see this discomfort as a necessary step to self-improvement. Additionally, I believe such a drastic change in environment and routine can be very helpful in encouraging individuals to look more closely at their life and to more readily make changes or create new habits."
The bus/metro system was extremely easy to use and I had no trouble getting around the city. I highly suggest buying a Korrigo Card and loading it for the entirety of the internship (rather than having to re-load it at the beginning of each month).
(More information about Getting around Rennes on the International Student Guide of CMI, or on the Tourism Office website)
A fruitful partnership leading to STEM-IRSEP and Erasmus + ICM (International Credit Mobility) grants
In order to carry out her Internship at Université de Rennes 1, Katie was awarded an Erasmus + grant, as well as a scholarship from the Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative supported by the French Embassy in the US, as part of the STEM International Research and Scholarly Exchange Program (STEM-IRSEP), a programme allowing STEM majors of Northern Kentucky University to study abroad.
Katie was one the first students to take advantage of this new funding, which is the result of a fruitful partnership between NKU and Université de Rennes 1:
Our French partners selected us due to our five-year collaboration in the exchange of STEM students to conduct research internships or attend classes
said Dr. Isabelle Lagadic, associate professor of Chemistry and STEM-IRSEP coordinator.