Niamh reflects on her first few days…

Niamh Donnelly, S4TP Summer Intern 2017

Walking out of the tube station into the brilliant sunlight of a July morning is a wonderful experience in itself. On top of this, imagine seeing Big Ben for the first time, rising magnificently against a bright blue sky. I could barely suppress a grin as I weaved in and out of tourists and irate commuters. It was the third day of my internship and the culmination of a year’s work for Solutions for the Planet: the Big Ideas final, held in the Houses of Parliament. It was, I thought as I spotted the team, not a bad way to start a job.

I had started working that Monday, where I sorted out the paperwork, met the team and attended a meeting on the logistics of the day. I was shocked and impressed to see the sheer level of detail necessary in planning an event such as this. Tuesday came, and with it another meeting finalising the day’s schedule and everyone’s role in it. After this, I was given time to read up on the inventive ideas the teams had come up with. I was thoroughly impressed and excited to see the teams present these ideas the following day.

The day went without a hitch and I met some interesting people, notably Leeds Central’s MP Hilary Benn, who engaged me in a conversation about Russian politics, something which we had both studied. This was a fantastic learning opportunity for me as I was far more confident than I thought I’d be. Best of all, I had the chance meet and talk to the teams who had worked so hard to get there. The hard work and dedication they had shown to develop their projects was fantastic and I was blown away by their presentation skills.

I left Westminster as happy as I was when I came in; the sun was still shining; the day had gone well and I felt hopeful that scientists will find solutions to our sustainability needs. And if this doesn’t happen today, well then, I know 45 young people who are more than capable of making an impact.