Ask a student: Terence's internship experience

Publication date
Tuesday, 13 Dec 2022
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Terence Johnson is studying a Bachelor of Science. As part of his studies, he completed an internship at Esri Australia.

Why did you decide to apply for an internship?

I was getting excited about what a career in GIS may look like and I was eager for the opportunity to both build my skills further, and gain some firsthand experience working with those skills in a more professional context.

How was the process? What was the level of support from the college/university?

The process was quite simple. I became aware of the internship opportunities from a post in the RSES forum, found the one I was most interested in (Esri Australia), wrote and submitted my application. No part of the process was confusing and the science internships team was helpful with any questions.

Did you end up with the specific internship opportunity that you were after? Were there others that you were interested in?

I only had a strong interest in the internship with Esri Australia and I was lucky enough to be successful in my application.

Can you describe a day in your life as an intern at Esri?

I would make my way to the office (or later: log on to my computer at home due to COVID) and spend some time in the morning searching for data or performing analysis before a catch-up with my supervisors in the mid-morning. After a progress update and raising any questions or concerns I would go back to my work until the end of the work day. The analysis workflows were my favourite part of the work, designing and executing my own analysis of satellite data with any of Esri’s software products was very exciting to me.

Biggest achievement and/or most memorable experience from your internship?

I was able to devise a workflow that allowed me to run satellite imagery and soil carbon data through a deep-learning (AI) algorithm to explore the potential for predictive modelling of soil-carbon. The results showed that this was a very naïve approach to soil carbon modelling, but devising and preforming the whole workflow myself was extremely satisfying.

Do you believe this internship will help you achieve your career goals? If yes, how?

Definitely. I have maintained contact with my supervisors which has been an excellent start to my professional network. Furthermore, the quality of independent analysis I now have in my portfolio has already helped me to find a job in spatial analysis for forest carbon modelling with another company.

What would you say to future students about pursuing a science internship?

It is an excellent opportunity to put your academic learning to the test in a professional context and learn more about working in that environment. It is also very helpful if you aren’t sure whether you would like to pursue further research or a career in the private sector after undergraduate studies; a taste of work in industry lets you make a more informed decision.

Do you think internships are a crucial component of study? 

If you plan to transition from studies to industry (or you’re not sure what you might want to do) then it’s a fantastic opportunity to gain some tangible experience in your desired field, and it can give you a new perspective on your studies at university. For me it made me realise that I could really enjoy a career in GIS, and it gave me the confidence to pursue a GIS-related research project in my studies as well. It’s been a crucial component in my studies, giving me much more confidence to pursue my goals in my studies and career.

Find out more about science internships.

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