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Published: 07 June 2015

Sean Cleator - MMath (Year 3)

I decided to apply for a summer research project because I wanted to understand what skills and attitude were required for a research career and to see if research, possibly through a PhD, was a career path I would like to take.

I decided to apply for a summer research project because I wanted to understand what skills and attitude were required for a research career and to see if research, possibly through a PhD, was a career path I would like to take. I enjoyed the self-motivating work environment which I found more liberating than previous office work. I also found the exploration entailed with research to be very interesting as well as enjoyable, and found that this was strengthened by working with experienced professionals in the field.

Through the project I learnt how research is typically conducted in a formal environment. For instance I learnt how to use meetings with supervisors to advance the project and solve any difficult problems I was facing.

This was important as the experience of my supervisors was crucial in helping  the work to flow into new interesting directions. Sometimes progress slowed when facing tough problems but most mathematical and academic challenges were solved during talks with supervisors, leading to a much faster pace of work. The pace of the work increased towards the end of the project as I understood better how to work with my supervisors.

I also learnt how to present data in a clear, concise way, so that my supervisors and other academics could interpret the work and make useful suggestions for improvement. Due to the experiences gained throughout the project I would definitely recommend the experience to other students, especially those contemplating further academic work.

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