Mahisha Jannat

Mahisha Jannat completed her Nuffield Research Placement in 2018 at Rothamsted Research. Mahisha presented her project Comparison of crops grown for insect food grown under different LED lights at the Big Bang Finals. We talked to her about her experience. 

Why did you apply for a Nuffield Research Placement?

I knew that I would be able to gain some vital skills that I would need in the future, so that’s why I applied to take part in a Nuffield Research Placement. I was anxious and nervous once I was successful with my application but it was definitely such an important experience in my life that has made me much more confident about stepping out of my comfort zone. 

What was your project about and did you know anything about the area before you started the placement?

My project was related to Horticulture which relates to Plants. I am an A-Level Biology student and I absolutely hated when it came to Plant topics but after this placement I came to understand how important Plants are in Biology. For me I was able to learn something very new but with the help of my supervisors it was very easy to understand the project.

Was the placement what you expected it to be?

The placement definitely exceeded my expectations. It was not simply ‘shadowing’…It felt like a real job and we were treated like real employees whilst having all the guidance and help available.

How did your supervisor help you with your project?

My supervisors advised me on the project, the research field, career choices and even guidance for University choices. They were always available if I needed to ask any questions or needed any help. I would like to thank my supervisors a lot and everyone at Rothamsted Research who were so helpful and welcoming.

Did you gain any new skills, both scientific and general work skills, from undertaking your placement?

Definitely, it involved a lot of self-development was involved like punctuality, responsibility and efficiency in work. Networking and communication – I was able to become much more confident in speaking to new people. They treat you like a real employee so you its upon you to be on time, take your breaks and get the work done; this allowed me to become a lot more responsible for myself. The insight is so valuable, I got to experience the practical element when doing the research and the office element when producing my professional scientific report. You also learn about the professionalism within the science research filed – for example how to write a professional scientific report or how to present your data.

Has your experience helped you to decide on a career path?

Yes, I have decided to study Engineering because I really enjoyed the problem solving and research element. I also received guidance from my supervisor who gave me advice about my UCAS application and different career paths.

What advice would you give to students applying for a Nuffield Research Placement?

Make the most of your placement. Understand your project, put in your own input and have fun. The experience for me was exciting because it was an actual live research project – the research you do has a real impact in the real world. There is so much you can achieve from your placement including awards such as the Gold CREST Award, a chance to compete at The Big Bang Competition and most importantly all the skills you will gain that gives you a head start for the future.

What was it like presenting your work at The Big Bang Competition?

It was an incredible experience. I had the opportunity to share my work with so many people who were genuinely interested in my research and findings; including other Parents to Examiners and Professionals from all over the world. I got to learn a lot from other projects and students as well. Nuffield also had their presence throughout and actually sponsored me for the competition. The Big Bang Competition is very well planned and it’s a huge event so it’s amazing to have been selected as a Finalist and present my work to everyone. Overall the experience was motivating, inspiring and really insightful.