Why I joined the Bioinformatics Pathway: I was delighted to take on the role of Project Manager in the Bioinformatics Pathway as it afforded me the opportunity to build on my leadership experience from the June session - further developing my management and organisational skills - while simultaneously learning more about the field of Bioinformatics from the interns’ work.
- Organised 1-1 meetings with BI Leads from the June session to gather feedback and advice
- Created a Lead Guidance document with recommendations for July Leads based on my conversations with June Leads
- Created a document detailing Lead Roles to help incoming Leads to choose a position that best suited them
- Compiled Icebreaker Questions which I used at the beginning/end of every meeting as a team-building activity to encourage engagement and communication among team members.
During the BI internship:
- Scheduled regular team meetings for BI Teams 1&3
- Created agendas and meeting notes for BI Teams 1&3
- Prepared, scheduled and co-hosted informational webinars for all interns in the BI Pathway
- Lead team discussions on the importance of networking
- Facilitated communication between Leads and mentors with bi-weekly meetings
- Scheduled, hosted and created agendas for weekly Lead meetings
- Attended weekly Pathway Leads meetings with Isha and conveyed the information discussed to Leads in the BI Pathway
- Coordinated our final presentation sessions with Observers, Participants, Leads and Mentors.
- Created topics regularly and issued various reminders in the BI-Summer2020 category and in team categories to ensure the smooth running of the internship
- Facilitated feedback discussions among Leads and mentors and created a BI Lead/Mentor Feedback document.
The biggest challenge I faced during the internship:
- Scheduling final presentation sessions so that there was a minimum of one Lead and one mentor at every intern’s presentation. This was particularly challenging as both interns and mentors span over a range of time zones across the globe. Some mentors had limited availability and many interns had school commitments for large portions of the day.
How this challenge was overcome:
- I scheduled two presentation rooms to take place simultaneously via Google Meet, with two sessions in each room.
- Interns who were unable to present on Friday August 21st presented instead at a catch-up presentation session on Wednesday August 26th.
Another challenge I faced was responding to queries from mentors, Leads, Participants and Observers. These queries required problem-solving and spanned a range of topics from meeting schedules to concerns regarding deliverables to communication difficulties and inactive participants.
Further reflections: This was an invaluable and unique leadership and project management experience. I was managing interns up to twenty years older than myself and not once did I feel inferior or judged based on my age. I look forward to sharing my experiences with prospective Leads of future sessions and to using such experiences to further contribute to the STEM-Away community through mentorship and advanced program management.