Science

Case Study: Melanie Kirton

Maths student Melanie recently completed the Science Work Placement course as she worked on lifecycle costing analysis and prediction at KBR. Melanie told us about her placement over summer and the skills she gained from the experience.

Where did you go on your internship?

I did my internship with RRAS/KBR in Sydney - they coordinate maintenance for several ships. I was working on lifecycle costing analysis and prediction which was the Maths element of my placement. I am also studying Mechanical Engineering, so the placement was a great fit as it involved elements of both of my degrees. 

How did you negotiate your placement there?

I was already doing some work there on engineering and maintenance and an opportunity came up to move into the asset management department, which involved lifecycle costing. Not long after this I read about the Science Work Placement course, so I took the opportunity to gain experience there over summer and get course credit at the same time. 

How many hours did you work per week? 

I worked full-time over summer from after the Christmas break until the start of O-Week. 

What was the Science Work Placement assessment like?

I had to do a log of my hours and what I accomplished during that time. There were also exercises to update or create your CV, which I found useful as mine was a bit outdated. The main assessment was an e-journal which I found really interesting. Learning about the STAR method and applying it to my experiences was beneficial as these examples can used later in job interviews and applications. 

What were some of the key lessons you learnt on your placement?

Definitely how to interact with other departments and knowing who to go to, to get the right information.

Did you learn anything unexpected?

I was able to network with a lot of people and expand my LinkedIn account by connecting with my colleagues. I also got to meet a lot of the current graduates there and learn about applying for graduate positions which was very useful. 

I feel like the course has better prepared me for when I enter the workplace through the experiences I had interacting with the different levels and departments. 

What would you say to students thinking about doing an internship and the Science Work Placement course?

To get an internship while you are at uni is a really good way to gain some experience and understand what you will be doing when you graduate and what the workplace is like. The course allows you to reflect on your pathway.

To find out more about the Science Work Placement course, visit: science.unsw.edu.au/science-work-placement