Interning With OxFizz: Daisy's Experience
I initially applied for the OxFizz internship halfway through my final year of studying Biology at university, after panicking at the prospect of graduating with no plans. I found out about the opportunity through the Moritz-Heyman internship scheme, which is a programme at Oxford that aims to support low-income students by offering bursaries, fully funded internships, volunteering opportunities and career development sessions. I chose to apply to OxFizz specifically as their ethos is to ensure that students from all backgrounds have fair access to top universities, which is a cause that I’m incredibly passionate about, having benefited from access work myself. I was interviewed over Skype by Lee, the previous Access Programme Lead, and was really excited to be offered the internship, along with another intern, Miranda.
During my four weeks with OxFizz I worked on a variety of interesting projects across Digital Communications, Marketing and Volunteer Management. On Digital Communications and Marketing, I wrote and published blogs for OxFizz’s two operating arms. These online resources are targeted towards Oxbridge applicants, and are designed to provide free Oxbridge admissions advice for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. My blogs covered university life and application advice, with some focusing on specific academic subjects. This allowed a continuous flow of blog posts, which was important for providing students with a wide range of high quality resources at a key time of the year. I really enjoyed writing these blogs as it felt like an effective way of using my own experience of the Oxford application process to support and advise future generations of students.
I also updated and developed an existing media and conference schedule for our summer school in Oxford, through carrying out online research on potential partner sites, and communicating with their advertising teams. I summarised this in a report, which I presented to the team at a review meeting. I recommended websites where we could place a free listing, and suggested potential premium listings, based on metrics such as click-through rates and website traffic. I also put together a social media strategy, suggesting methods of boosting current follower counts and reaching a wider audience to the team. My suggestions were taken on board for implementation for this year’s sales-cycle. This definitely improved my confidence, as well as developing important research and communication skills.
Working on Volunteer Management was particularly important as OxFizz has a business model reliant on volunteers delivering our services. We pride ourselves on our network of dedicated, long-term volunteers and so providing support to them is a top priority. With this in mind, I streamlined a number of online subject resources and produced a set of criteria to assess their quality. I collated the best ones, and created a practice biology interview using questions and ideas from my own interviews and tutorials. I then produced a set of web pages linking to the resources, which the volunteer coordinator can use to share with volunteers in the lead up to events. Creating these helped me develop a keen attention to detail, as well as skills in website design. I also redesigned a flyer aimed at recruiting new volunteers from a specific target audience, and produced an information document encouraging headteachers to sign up to our Access programme.
In general, I gained a key insight into the inner workings of a social enterprise as well as experience of working in an agile environment. I instantly felt like part of the team, presenting progress on my tasks at regular stand ups and participating in fortnightly sprint review and planning sessions. I really enjoyed the experience of working with a small team, made up of a lovely group of people who deliver amazing value for our Access students. I had a great time carrying out the internship and felt incredibly supported throughout - I’m looking forward to coming back to OxFizz and helping out as a volunteer!