Internship reflections – Victoria Gillman

Victoria Gillman, a postgraduate researcher from the third SUPER DTP cohort, undertook a 2.5-month internship in late 2023 with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a federal institution responsible for safeguarding Canadian waters and managing Canada’s fisheries and oceans resources. The internship was based in the Bedford Institute of Oceanography and was arranged by Victoria through her primary supervisor’s network. The aim for the internship was to integrate new poolSeq population structure data into species distribution models for eelgrass in Atlantic Canada.

Victoria shares her reflections on the experience below.

What reasons did you have for undertaking an internship?

I wanted to improve my chances for employment in the future, improve my modelling skills in a practical setting, contribute to ongoing research, and gain hands-on experience in marine genomics.

What did your internship role involve?

Under the guidance of Dr Ryan Stanley and Dr Nick Jeffery, my role was to refine a current species distribution model of eelgrass in Nova Scotia using population genetic data to improve the accuracy of the model. It then expanded to include some hands-on marine eDNA sampling from the shore and from a vessel, fish sample dissections and river fieldwork with freshwater mussels.

What were the main benefits to you of undertaking the internship?

The internship provided an invaluable opportunity to expand my professional network, gain practical insights into marine genomics, and contribute to ongoing ecological research.

What opportunities for skills and personal development did the internship offer?

The experience cultivated adaptability, collaboration, and effective management of large datasets in R. Engaging in this internship allowed me to explore more parts of marine genomics and broaden my skill set.

What were the main achievements and outcomes of the internship?

Main achievements include expanding my professional network, refining a region-wide species distribution model for eelgrass, contributing to ongoing research, and gaining practical insights into marine genomics.

Would you recommend an internship to other PGRs?

Absolutely! The internship offered a valuable break from my PhD (I suspended my studies), enabling an excellent chance to gain new skills, see different team workflows, build networks and explore career options.