Jevon Marsh is an undergraduate student at Memorial University who recently completed a research internship in Germany, where he worked on developing a medicinal agent for diagnosing cancer more efficiently.
Marsh is in his fourth and final year of a joint honours degree in chemistry and biochemistry. Last summer he was accepted into the very competitive Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE), an exchange program that partners undergraduate students in North America and the United Kingdom with Doctoral Students in Germany.
Selected undergraduate students get to travel to Germany where they receive a stipend to spend the summer working with their doctoral student mentor on a research project. Marsh was excited to land a spot working on an interdisciplinary project that allowed him to work with technology he might not have had access to otherwise.
“It was a project that played the fields of organic chemistry, nuclear medicine, and radio-pharmacy,” Marsh said. “I got to work a lot with radiology which is something I don’t really get to deal with in my own institution. So it was a really great opportunity for learning and broadening my knowledge in different fields of science.”
While he was thrilled to be selected, Marsh was also nervous about traveling to a country where he didn’t know anyone and couldn’t speak the official language. Trying to find an apartment long-distance ended up being one of the most stressful parts of doing the internship.
Before travelling to Germany, Marsh did a two-week volunteer placement in Spain, where he had no WI-FI. With less than month before his internship started, he found himself rushing out to cafes to do Skype interviews with potential landlords. He finally secured a place a week before arriving in Germany. It took a while to get settled in, but Marsh ended up feeling very at home in Germany.
“The culture was obviously very different and trying to adapt took a couple of weeks, but I got the hang of it and I actually miss it now that I’m back home,” Marsh said. “I come from a very rural community in Newfoundland and travelling to the other side of the world, interacting with people from different cultures with different ways of thinking, it really opens your mind.”
Marsh’s experience was so eye-opening that he and fellow student Lauren Winsor are hosting an information session to let other students know about some of the research exchange opportunities available to undergraduate students.
The session is scheduled for tonight, Wednesday, November 8th at at 6 p.m. in EN-2040 at Memorial University. It will cover what application processes are like, where to find more information and why these programs can help students’ academic careers while so helping them grow as people.
“I’m trying to get students to take these opportunities that they might not even know exist because it’s not just about learning all the neat science, you learn so much about yourself and the world in general,” Marsh said. “You just never know who you might meet and what kind of opportunities could arise.”