The Summer Internship Experience: Nalisha Parmar
This year we were very pleased to welcome our first Summer Intern to Silsoe Odours, Nalisha Parmar. Nalisha joined us from the University of East Anglia, where she completed a BSc in Environmental Earth Sciences. Nalisha wanted to experience the field of Environmental Odour Control and Management first-hand. Here, she tells us more about her experiences with Silsoe Odours.
What Led You To Silsoe Odours?
When I completed my final university lectures, I began searching for an internship for the summer. I primarily wanted to gain experience in the environmental consultancy sector. I found the Silsoe Odours internship on the UEA Careers website. Not knowing much about the landscape of environmental odour control and management, I found the job title intriguing.
In May, I travelled to Bedfordshire to interview with the team. They were all friendly and welcoming, and explained more about the role. Finally, I got to participate in an Odour Sensitivity Test. This assessed whether I would be suitable to work as an odour panellist, measured according the European Standard BSEN13725:2003. The test established my individual odour threshold estimate is 22 parts per billion. Importantly, this is within the acceptable range for a panellist.
After spending the day with the team and getting to grips with life as an odour consultant, I decided Silsoe Odours would be a great place to spend the summer.
What Did You Get Up To?
First of all, I spent time familiarising myself with Silsoe Odours and its various procedures and documents. In particular, I focused on report content and writing styles because part of my role involved proof-reading reports. Likewise, I also made sure I was up to speed on odour guidance such as the European Standard BSEN13725:2003, and IAQM regulations.
The laboratory team, Jill Liddle & Paddy Schofield, showed me the ins and outs of the odour laboratory. Through the course of the summer I learnt how to pre-dilute and measure H2S concentrations in the odour samples, operate the olfactometer and computer programmes and organise the panellists. Jill also showed me how to prepare and make the Nalophan ‘odour bags’ which we use to collect samples.
In addition I got the chance to participate in fieldwork, accompanying Robert, James and Victoria on various sites. I participated in odour sampling and field odour impact surveys. Sites I visited included waste water, rendering, waste transfer/recycling, oil works and chicken farms. On one occasion we needed to take an odour sample from a 15m high stack. It wasn’t an easy task but became a very memorable experience! I was taken aback by the difficulty in climbing the stack, because I misjudging the height while watching James swiftly climb the ladder. The hardest part of the task was climbing back down – I decided heights were probably not my forte.
Here’s a snapshot of Nalisha and the Silsoe Odours team in action over the summer.
What Did You Gain From the Experience?
Working at Silsoe Odours has allowed me to gain and develop new skills. I particularly improved my report writing and analytical skills. I also grew my multi-tasking abilities by dealing with multiple projects and deadlines.
Furthermore, my time at Silsoe Odours has given me the opportunity to gain experience in environmental odour control and management. It has reinforced that I would like to pursue a career in environmental consultancy. I really enjoy the mix of fieldwork, office-based elements and the ability to work with clients.
Overall, my time at Silsoe Odours opened up a whole area of environmental consultancy for me that I knew very little about. In fact, it’s led me directly to my new role at RSK as a Graduate Air Quality Consultant, which I will be starting in October.
Thank you to Robert and the Silsoe Odours team for giving me such a memorable experience.
And She’s Off!
There’s only one way to say farewell properly. Cake, of course. In Nalisha’s case, vegan cake!
In an excellent example of serendipity, Victoria prepared this delightfully lemony drizzle cake, while Nalisha has treated us all to chocolate and bakewell tart cupcakes. Probably a good day to pop along to the lab and say hello!!
Nalisha has certainly made a great contribution at Silsoe Odours. We’ve loved having her in the team and wish her every success in her future career at RSK.
Find Out More
We’ll be on the lookout for our 2019 Summer Intern soon! So if it seems like that could be you, we’d love to hear from you.
Plus get in touch to find out more about environmental odour control and management.