Featured image – Her Royal Highness (HRH) The Princess Royal shaking hands with Vilte during the opening of the Nucleus building. (Image credit: Neil Hanna)
Welcome to the sixth blog in our Employ.ed on Campus internship spotlight from Vilte Juozokaite, third year MChem Medicinal and Biological Chemistry student. It’s a great read today from Vilte who gives us a fantastic insight through her internship as a Digital Marketing and Communications Intern in the School of Chemistry…
Vilte – why this internship?
Molecules, equations and reactions – concepts I think about daily as a third year MChem Medicinal and Biological Chemistry student. I had a professionally enriching summer being a Digital Marketing and Communications Intern in the School of Chemistry through the Employ.ed on Campus programme. By doing a marketing internship, I explored the Joseph Black building in a different way; what used to be just a building for lectures, became the place to see colleagues and friends.
Although my career aspirations lie within medicinal chemistry and computer-aided drug design, I was intrigued by the advert for this position in the early spring of 2023. Motivated by recent experiences working in science communication for the Edinburgh Science Festival, I saw this intersection of chemistry and marketing to have a high potential. I was also keen to explore algorithm-driven social media platforms and use them for a good cause. Having spoken to students at our Open Days, I saw the need for the authentic student voice, and social media can help to reach those who can’t come for in-person visits or don’t believe that they can be Edinburgh students. Therefore, in my application, I highlighted the desire to be the agent for change – higher education social media has the power to bridge the knowledge gap and level out the playing field for everyone applying for their courses of choice.
How was the first week?
I would describe my approach for the first week according to the proverb ‘Well begun is half done’. My line manager Kerry Balkwill, Chemistry Alumni Relations Marketing Officer, helped to ease me into the new position and introduced me to the Professional Services side of the School. It has never occurred to me just how many Professional Staff members are needed to ensure smooth teaching and research process. From day one, I felt supported in my new role – as expected, there was a slight shift from being a student to being a staff member.
What were your goals?
In the beginning of the internship, I set myself the goal of enriching the School’s Instagram, creating engaging content that would be both interesting and useful to students and alumni. Before starting, I had never created an Instagram reel (short video), and I saw it as a fun challenge! Knowing how reels are favoured by algorithms and users, I had the space, time and resources to experiment, and explore along the way. It was a lot of hard work and very time-consuming in the planning and editing stage especially, but the results were satisfying! It made me appreciate how much time is needed to create this type of content.
What did your day-to-day internship role involve?
Due to the nature of the projects I worked on, my days this summer were quite dynamic. I had to constantly evaluate and prioritise and keep in communication with Kerry and the team. Sometimes my days would involve developing video or visual content, and other days I’d be based in one of the other campuses meeting staff from different areas to collaborate or attend different events.
Since my manager Kerry is the Alumni Relations Marketing Officer, I had a first-hand experience to see how the School keeps in touch with their graduates and uses these connections to help current students. We have implemented strategies to increase alumni engagement and show to them, and the rest of the World, what we are proud of – our community. The Joseph Black Building would be just an ordinary building on the King’s Buildings campus if it wasn’t for people who go above and beyond for each other. Our content shows to students, both old and new, that they are part of our community and belong here.
Besides alumni engagement, I also had an opportunity to be part of the Sutton Trust Summer School. Dr Jenny Gracie, our Widening Participation and Outreach Officer, had organised chemistry activities for pupils considering going into university. The experience was enjoyable not only for us, but for the students themselves – 100% of the participants rated their chemistry lessons and practicals as excellent. Personally, I was glad to help showcase the great work that Jenny does and her efforts have helped to open doors to higher education for many chemistry students.
The marketing team would not be complete without its leader – Martin Boddie! Me, Martin and the rest of the team worked closely to plan and deliver June’s Undergraduate Open Day. It was my first experience of being a staff member at such an event, and I really enjoyed its energy. Besides the usual tours and talks, I had a chance to add value and practice filming content while trying to be in five places at once! All while interacting with prospective students and their supporters – their smiles and gratitude keeps you going without needing the second coffee of the day.
Eyes on the prize, but…
With so many things happening at once, it would be easy to lose track of time. I held tight to my Gantt charts and calendars, but there were some pre-planned detours from my main mission to create fresh new student eye-catching Instagram content. The time management skills I developed during this internship will be helpful to me in the rest of my degree and in my future career.
Meeting HRH Princess Anne
The newly opened Nucleus building on King’s Building campus looked quite different on that sunny day in July. The excitement was definitely there – the Royal Family visit was upon us! I had both an honour and a pleasure of meeting HRH Princess Anne and representing student interns in the Employ.ed programme. I remember listening to one of the School’s alumni telling us about his time meeting HRH Princess Anne – who knew that history would repeat itself!
I have had previous social media management and graphic design experience in society committees, but having the creative freedom and trust from the School and my team to transform our channels took my skills to another level. Using online resources, I had a chance to explore Adobe Illustrator and Premiere Rush. While learning these hard skills, I harnessed an important expertise to have in STEM – the ability to ask the right questions when not sure of the next step. I have observed a shift in the way I approach both marketing and chemistry problems, and I believe this will be an extremely useful transferable skill moving into honours years.
Three months later
I am delighted that my work significantly increased engagement and enriched the Chemistry Instagram content, helping the School to reinforce important welcome messages. Our Instagram following is up 15% since June, with +372% non-follower accounts reached. The social media designs and templates that I have made are relatively easy to recreate and maintain after summer – continuity was one of my main objectives!
What are you doing after the internship?
In September, I returned to the University for my third year of MChem Medicinal and Biological degree. Molecules and bonds are in my mind again, but I haven’t finished my social media career yet. This summer experience has encouraged me to get involved more beyond the academic setting, with me leading the Chemistry Society this year as President. I will again be involved with the Open days in October, and you may see my cameos again on the School of Chemistry Instagram account (@edinburghchemistry)!
I am also excited that the School have seen the benefits of my internship and supported the continuation of the work which I started in my summer internship. I am looking forward to still being involved (albeit not full-time), collaborating with other Chemistry students in continuing to create student-focused content throughout the next year which I am really excited about. This will enable us to continue the momentum from my summer internship and also benefit the School to engage with prospective students and to share our student experience here at the School of Chemistry.
Many thanks Vilte for an excellent insight into your internship.
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