New Internship to Grow Highly-Skilled Scientists

Scion Interns

Monday, 17 Dec 2018

Seven Toi Ohomai students are undertaking internships at Scion, a New Zealand Crown Research Institute, this summer in a new initiative created to develop highly-skilled scientists.

The internship programme was launched this year as a result of a Scion Toi Ohomai partnership agreement, which aims to build strong links between the two organisations. The seven interns started with Scion and will work in the organisation until February.

Scion is a Crown Research Institute (CRI), which is a government-owned company that carries out scientific research for the benefit of New Zealand.
Principal Scientist and Research Leader Dr Tim Payn says the students will be able to contribute to national and international research and technology projects while with Scion.

“We specialise in research, science and technology development for the forestry, wood and wood-derived materials and other biomaterial sectors. We hope to show some of the exciting work scientists do and give students an idea of what a career in science can look like in addition to the specific skills they will learn in their internship.”

Tim says students will work on selected Scion projects and be mentored by leading scientists within Scion teams. 

“They will be able to contribute to national and international research and technology projects. Scion is a Crown Research Institute, which is a government-owned company that carries out scientific research for the benefit of New Zealand. We specialise in research, science and technology development for the forestry, wood and wood-derived materials and other biomaterial sectors. 

“We hope to show some of the exciting work scientists do and give students an idea of what a career in science can look like in addition to the specific skills they will learn in their internship.”

Intern Mawaddah Badrul Azmi, who this year finished her Diploma in Environmental Management (Level 6), says she wants to establish a career in the environmental industry because she loves working with plants.

She says through the internship she has been given access to scientists and researchers, who will help her take the skills she learned at Toi Ohomai and apply them in the industry.

“I'm so honoured to have this opportunity because it will help me achieve my ultimate career goals. Since starting, I have been working really closely with scientists and researchers at Scion in the area of plant morphology and exploring the diversity of approaches on the plants.”

While at Scion, Mawaddah says she will focus on a project that looks into the advanced tissue culture techniques for novel plant growth regulators with Associate Professor Dr Jana Krajnakova.

“We plan to study the role of melatonin and serotonin in enhancing the initiation frequency, proliferation rate and improving the physiological quality and quantity of somatic embryos.

“At the moment I have been conducting a series of lab-based experiments focused on different developmental stages of somatic embryogenesis, especially initiation, proliferation, and maturation of two target tree species, Pseudotsuga menziesii and Pinus densiflora. This will be involved in transferring embryo in the megagametophyte to a media and grow them.”

Other interns and projects are:

  • Anita Lewis who will look into the analysis of plastic micro particles with Jamie Bridson.
  • Ian Legge and Manasvi Singh will investigate quantifying the impact of microsite variation on the productivity of Eucalyptus fastigata and Eucaplyptus regnans with Dean Meason.
  • Arpit Puri will explore the PLA-wood veneer products and interfaces with Warren Grigsby.
  • Inekah Gutierrez will examine the optimisation of microbial fuel cells with wood membranes for wastewater treatment and energy production with Gerty Gielen.
  • Natasja Cranswick will study insect lighting with Andrew Pugh.