By Linda Newman
I could sit here and tell you about the fantastic experiences my fellow intern Fraser and I have had since we arrived in St. Louis and started working for Monsanto courtesy of the Saltire Foundation. I could tell you about the incredible research facilities at Monsanto. I could tell you about farms we’ve visited. I could tell you about the entertaining weekend we had traveling to Iowa with two of our colleagues or the trip I took to Chicago. But I’m not going to do that.
Instead, for my final blog of the summer and this incredible internship, I’m going to tell you about something that may seem insignificant in comparison but to me is so much more important.
Although every Saltire Scholar was lucky to get their internships wherever they are and whatever they are doing, I feel especially fortunate to have gotten mine. I am physics major back at Edinburgh University, which may not at first seem entirely relatable to the marketing and communications position I’ve been in this summer. So I feel extra privileged that my Monsanto interviewers thought I would be able to perform in this role.
I find my degree interesting, exciting and impossibly challenging at times. But throughout my last three years at university I’ve realized that being a “physicist” isn’t what I want to do with my life. What I want to do is take my love of science and my love of public speaking (I am president of the Edinburgh University Debates Society) and combine these two skills in whatever job I do. I want to make science more accessible and interesting for the general public. I want be part of helping people understand why science is important, and how through science and technology we can change the way we live so we can work towards living in a sustainable way.
Before I started this internship, when someone asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I would mumble something about “science and communication.” But from all the people I’ve met in the last eight weeks at Monsanto, I’ve gained an insight into what jobs actually exist in the field. And they are more varied, exciting and interesting than I realized. Even within the company there are so many “science communication” jobs, as well as all the other jobs out there!
This internship has made me see what opportunities I have – and I am so excited. I mentioned the people I’ve met having fantastic, exciting jobs; for the last eight weeks, I’ve been one of them. Monsanto tailored our internships so we are doing jobs relating to what we want to do in our careers. Throughout my time here, I’ve been working on science communications projects. And I’ve loved it. It’s challenging to figure out a way to make science interesting and accessible, but it is a challenge I have immensely enjoyed and one I want to continue to work one once I leave university.
So, thank you Saltire and Monsanto, for not only giving me the opportunity to go to an amazing country and have awesome experiences, but also for making me realize that my “dream job” does exist and giving me a chance to try it this summer. And thank you for giving me the confidence to know that this is the field I want to work in, and that if I put my mind to it, I can be pretty great at it!
Linda has been interning with Monsanto this summer through a program hosted by the Saltire Foundation.