Victoria Funke

Profile

Victoria Funke

Programme

BSc (Hons) Agriculture

Employment

Biointeractions and Plant Health Intern, Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands

My placement experience

I chose to complete my placement at Wageningen University and Research because I’ve always wanted to work within academia, and have a keen interest in plant diseases. I would very much like to work in such an environment upon my graduation, and after completion of a Masters degree.

I had previously attended a talk at Wageningen UR and thought they sounded interesting, so I decided to browse their research groups online and contact the one I found most appealing. I was fortunate enough to be offered several different placements, but took the one at Wageningen UR due to its excellent reputation within the agricultural sector. I also had very limited laboratory experience, so was looking to increase that.

I really loved working at Wageningen UR and am sad that my placement is over. The team I worked with was fantastic, my supervisor was a very good teacher who always had time to explain things very well. The projects I worked on focussed on bacterial diseases mainly on potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries. My day-to-day responsibilities included assisting the researchers, collecting samples from the university farm, processing the samples, conducting field experiments, and a lot of laboratory work; preparing media, isolation of bacterial colonies, counting colonies etc.

I also had the opportunity to collect my dissertation data, so I’m ready to start writing it up when I return to the RAU for my third year.

I feel my placement has given me the opportunity to get to know a very different part of agriculture which I hadn’t experienced before.

I gained many skills, including lab techniques, working with people from different cultures and religions, working within a small team but also within a very large organisation, and working in an area I had previously very little knowledge of. I had no laboratory experience to start with, so it was a little frightening having to learn everything from scratch. It all worked out well though, and within a few weeks I had found my feet.

I feel my placement has given me the opportunity to get to know a very different part of agriculture which I hadn’t experienced before. Over the time of my placement I got to know great people from other countries and make some valuable contacts. Working in the laboratory of Wageningen UR has been a great experience and I think it will make me a more rounded candidate for future jobs.