Blog series: Stephen, Graduate Intern

Stephen Leonforte has recently joined the Outreach and Widening Participation team as a graduate intern. Here is the first of a series of posts giving some insight into his role and the work that we do.

So, I’m the new graduate intern in the Partnerships, Data and Communications branch of the Outreach and Widening Participation department at the University of Sheffield. I graduated last July with a BSc in Biomedical Science.

I’ve worked with students before and applied to this role because those experiences  have been really rewarding. This is the first entry in an account of my day to day experiences; an overview of my first month; a conglomeration of my experiences, if you will; a step by step guide to being unintentionally 2 minutes late to work every day.

Well, maybe not the last part…

In all seriousness though, this month has given me a number of excellent development opportunities and I’ve been able to do so many things which I wouldn’t elsewhere. I’ve been managing outreach social media accounts, shadowing a range of different initiatives and presentations (The Brilliant Club, Realising Opportunities, Excellence Hub and more), learnt new skills and have met a whole host of lovely, diverse people.

Essentially, what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been involved with events and planning right from day one. By day three, I was already in the midst of a Realising Opportunities event on campus, helping to engage able students from under represented backgrounds and ensuring they’re aware of the opportunities and experiences available to them in Higher Education.  By day five, I was involved in my first Partnerships event and recounting my experiences and advice about university to a group of aspiring local Year 10 students. By day seven, I was travelling externally to visit my first school.

I’ve been proud to be an ambassador for the University and have had a brilliant first month. The University is also committed to a Graduate development programme, where all of the graduate interns take part in training exercises and get to network with each other. So far we’ve had to simulate the running of a university, by being allocated different roles, such as corporate or faculty positions. We had to attempt to keep the ol’ gal running like a well oiled machine by negotiating budgets and logistics with one another and consolidating our efforts to generate an overall score for our university. This score then reflected how well it was run.

We didn’t do very well… but this was to begin with. As the game went on, we all improved our ability to collaborate so much, and it was genuinely a lot of fun. You could see that we grew into it and eventually got so much better at working together.

I’ve also had the chance to attend a Learning and Teaching forum where colleagues across the university congregate to discuss future strategies and share ideas and best practise. This is just another example of something I had never even considered I would get to experience when I was a student here 7 months ago.

If you’re thinking of staying in Sheffield after graduating, and aren’t sure what to do for 6 months, I’d really recommend applying for one of the graduate internships. It really doesn’t matter if it’s not my shiny, coveted position, as all of them look so good.

It’s a great chance to learn new skills, meet lots of new people and grow. You’ll have a great time. Stay tuned for month numero two.


Graduate Internship website

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