8 December 2022
Nine students have been placed across Aotearoa to kick start their summer internship with Bioprotection Aotearoa (BA), participating in research and gaining practical experiences and skills.
Their journey began with a Noho Marae at Ōnuku in Canterbury, getting to know the BA whānau and learning more about it’s kaupapa.
After building a sense of belonging, they respectively ventured off to begin their own programmes of research under the guidance and mentoring of fellow Early Career Researchers and supervisors.
Liadan Dickie is completing her internship at Lincoln University, mentored by Postdoctoral Fellow Alexa Byers. Her main project will use qPCR to investigate Phytophthora communities in Kaituna Valley, which she is currently writing a proposal for.
In between all this, Liadan says she has also been given opportunities to “practice DNA extraction techniques, subculture and examine Phytophthora isolates, set up some river baiting trials for Phytophthora, conduct a literature review, and help out with an experiment looking at the effects of drought on soils.”
Zsaleya Sword-Tua is working out of Otago University. Zsaleya says she has been learning things every day since her internship began, looking for wing malformations on bees to see if the degree of deformity is associated with varying levels of varroa mite.
“This is to see if we can use prognostic tools to understand the health of beehives” Zsaleya says, “It has been an awesome experience, getting to see first-hand how work is done with bees.”
Both Liadan and Zsaleya agree that their time so far with BA has provided them with a variety of experiences and opportunities.
“So far, my studentship has provided me with experience across a range of different things and I look forward to what’s next to come.” says Zsaleya. Liadan adds “I’ve already learnt a lot and feel inspired to keep learning more.”
In April 2023, all summer scholar recipients will present their research in an online webinar.