A student of Sheffield University, Isabelle studies Physics & Astrophysics as part of her degree and took her Industry year between the 3rd year of study and her MA qualification.
“I wanted to do a year-long placement in order to gain valuable employment experience for my CV and to explore possibilities for the type of work I would enjoy and be suited to after graduation. One of the placements offered in the Accelerator Physics (AP) group really appealed to me because the description suggested that little research had been carried out in the topic area and so the research completed during the placement could contribute significantly to the field. I was thrilled to be offered the placement in August 2016."
Isabelle's research focussed on Simulations for CLARA, looking at ways to remove 'Halo Particles', which can damage accelerator components, from the core beam. The research Isabelle has undertaken during the year has contributed greatly to the department and her work has influenced the design of CLARA components.
As an addition to the challenges and rewards of working life, Isabelle has gained some valuable life experiences along the way and has experienced living in private accommodation and has had the opportunity to “feel like a working professional".
During her year, Isabelle faced some exciting challenges such as learning complex physics, attending lectures alongside PhD students and working with software far more advanced than any she had used at University. Isabelle was able to meet these challenges head on, developing her skills in a professional environment.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my placement year, and have found all the staff to be incredibly welcoming and supportive. I have felt like a valued member of staff over the past year and have been involved with activities outside of work, too. This has enabled me to develop both technical and transferable skills in a professional environment which I am confident will be very useful when I return to University and in future employment."
Some of Isabelle's most exciting and rewarding moments of the year were talking in meetings and sharing her research and ideas, contributing to the research that ASTeC is undertaking and day-to-day problem-solving. Her highlight of the year was representing ASTeC at the International Particle Accelerator Conference (IPAC 2017) in Copenhagen, where she presented a poster and was able to share her research with experts in the field.
"My supervisor provided great support throughout my placement and the right balance between guidance and giving me the freedom to lead the investigation myself. In May 2017, myself and the other ASTeC sandwich students were funded to attend the International Particle Accelerator Conference (IPAC 2017) in Copenhagen. This was a fantastic opportunity for us to create and present posters on our research, network with PhD students and professional physicists, and explore the other areas of research in accelerator physics."
Staff in ASTeC strive to create a welcoming environment for everyone in order to help promote a culture of collaboration. Isabelle's supervisor, Frank Jackson, commented that “I am so pleased with Isabelle's year at ASTeC. ASTeC has been taking sandwich students for several years and I am always impressed by their quality. While they gain valuable experience through the scheme, they also contribute significantly to ASTeC's projects and provide new perspectives and insights into our work. This was certainly the case with Isabelle, and working with us she achieved deeper insight into her project area (field emission from electron guns) and produced internationally significant results which she presented the main accelerator conference (IPAC 2017). It has been a pleasure to work with her and I wish her the best of luck with the rest of her degree and whatever she chooses to do next."
Isabelle's Top Tips for Year in Industry Students:
- Take your time with the application and really research the company to find out what they do and why they do it.
- Put yourself out there! Get involved in social activities that are available such as lunch-time clubs. Network and build lasting relationships in the workplace.
- Make a positive impact on the place you are working.
ASTeC would like to wish Isabelle and all of our Year in Industry students the very best of luck for their return to University. We hope that you have every success in the future and your contributions to ASTeC have been extremely valued over the past year.