My name is Charlotte Greenlees and I have recently graduated from the University of Bath with a BSc (hons) Social Sciences degree with a placement year. Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19 in 2020, I was lucky enough to complete several internships in my placement year, one of which being the Mitacs Globalink Research Internship.
As described by Mitacs, this programme is a ‘competitive initiative for international undergraduates’ which involves a ‘12-week research internship under the supervision of Canadian university faculty members in a variety of academic disciplines, from science, engineering, and mathematics to the humanities and social sciences.’
Usually, participants fly out to their host institution in Canada for the programme, however, I completed my internship remotely. I worked alongside faculty members and students from Dalhousie University - Halifax, on a project entitled ‘Indigenous participation in the development of guiding frameworks for protected areas’. One of the overriding aims of the project is to examine the impact of IUCN programs on the inclusion of Indigenous communities in protected areas governance frameworks, as well as to investigate how Indigenous Peoples can inform and influence IUCN programs and decision-making for protected areas.
This was an incredibly exciting and insightful program to be a part of, with my main responsibility being qualitative primary data analysis, involving the transcription and coding of interviews. Moreover, I contributed to the writing of the final research report by collaboratively developing the coding framework and emergent themes, as well as writing the methodology. This report is due to be submitted for peer-review in Autumn 2022, where I will be named as a co-author.
Another part of my internship involved attending meetings of the Centre for Community-Engaged Environmental Research (CCEER) and presenting updates on our project to other undergraduates and graduate students conducting their own community-engaged environmental research projects. This was a fantastic opportunity to network and learn more about the approaches taken and challenges faced by experienced academics in their fields.
While you are frequently in contact with your Canadian professor and colleagues, you are also allocated a Mitacs supervisor and group. Your Mitacs supervisor is incredibly helpful if you have any questions or concerns and having group sessions with other interns is a great opportunity to learn more about their research and university.
Reflecting on my Mitacs internship, I was able to strengthen my qualitative data analysis skills, but I also believe my professional skill set has been largely improved through numerous networking and collaboration opportunities. I am still in contact with my host professor and currently looking into postgraduate opportunities at Dalhousie University through the Globalink Graduate Fellowship!
I would thoroughly recommend this internship to any undergraduates seeking to develop their research and professional skills, whilst contributing to projects that have real-world insight and application.