Biology student share experiences from internships in the Arctic
Biology student share experiences from internships in the Arctic

Lab technician work – dealing with a diva, reindeer poop and messy biologists

(Photo: The nutrient analyser – the diva of the biology department)

Hi there!

I am checking in on my blog to tell you a bit more about my internship. After my first meeting with my internship host, Stuart in January, I was eager to start working and getting to know my new workplace. I started early February, and from the beginning I felt very welcomed, and am really enjoying my internship this far. Since I’m only preparing my bachelor project in addition to my internship this semester, I have really appreciated some breaks from reading articles and doing something practical.

Working as a lab technician at UNIS is very varied and flexible, which suits me perfectly. So far, I’ve been following Stuart around, helping with whatever is needed.  We have a few smaller and bigger projects going on already, one of them is to analyse some seawater samples for nutrient contents. I’ve learnt that the nutrient analyser machine is acting like a real diva, and I was surprised how much preparation is needed just to get it running for a few hours. Several details needs to be taken into consideration in order to get it running smoothly, for example all water that is used is not only distilled and filtered, but also needs to be “vacuumed” to remove gas that is dissolved in the water. I think it’s a lot of fun to learn how these analyses work though, and I am really excited to see the result of all our work.

Another little project we have going on is to reorganize the freezers where the professors and scientists of the biology department keeps their precious samples. Although this probably sounds quite boring, and definitely was a little unexciting (and cold!) at some points, I had fun doing it. Both because it was cool to see the diversity of samples that are being stored, everything from plant DNA and zooplankton to frozen seabirds and huge amounts of reindeer poop.. but also because I couldn’t help laughing a little of the hoarding and mess that some of the professors are guilty of.

So far I am really happy with my internship and I feel like I have already learnt a lot. My internship host is also a great colleague and has been very including and nice! He even got me an office in the biology department, which I am super happy about. I am very glad to be a part of the biology department here at unis and am excited to see what the rest of the semester has to bring.

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