IF you are a student who yearns for knowledge, new experiences and good exposure to science communication and science journalism, Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (Mabic) is a place for you.
Located in Monash University, Mabic is a small cubical office that carries great potentials and huge possibilities. I first got to know Mabic through Dr Mahaletchumy Arujanan, whom I invited as a panel speaker for the UNIMAS GMO Awareness event that I organised in 2016. That was when I applied to Mabic as an intern student to fulfil my university requirement.
Although the internship period was only 10 weeks, I spent three months from June to August 2018 as an intern at Mabic as the possibilities to learn was endless at MABIC.
There was never a monotonous moment for me at Mabic, as I attended workshops, events, open houses and press conference. There were many opportunities to learn, network and grow.
One of the most interesting learning experiences that I had at Mabic was facilitating the Asian Short Course on Agribiotechnology and Pre-COP MOP workshops.
I met a coterie of scientists, biosafety officers, lawyers, farmers and policymakers from all over the world, and witnessed an interconnecting ecosystem in the field of biotechnology which I never got to experience from my lectures.
Initially, I felt inferior as I was just an intern student who knew very little, but my confidence grew after I met people who were very kind, humble and encouraging. Through my interaction with these people, I gained insights into the opportunities for my further studies and future career in the biotechnology field.
While in the university I was taught about the concepts of how things work in the lab, in Mabic I learnt why they were important. I began to appreciate the value of communicating science to school students and the public, and this was what Mabic was doing. The Petri Dish is also a great platform for me to learn media styled writing as compared to scientific writing in our university. Another great experience that I had was attending a meeting in
UKM. It was amazing to see how Dr Mahaletchumy moderated the whole discussion during the meeting between the educators and an industry player.
Throughout my internship, I got to learn a lot from Dr Maha, Shamira and Farah, who were the backbones of Mabic. The mentorship at Mabic was priceless. It was not only through the words of encouragement and advice gained, but Mabic practises the values they portray in how they handle people and situations. To me, Dr Maha was not only good at what she was doing, but she also has a kind heart and encourages her interns to step out of their comfort zones. Despite her busy schedule, she would always find time to talk to me and was willing to attend to my comments and suggestions.
My internship experience at Mabic may be likened to the last piece of a missing jigsaw puzzle that completed my life as an undergraduate student. It has given me the necessary exposure in the biotechnology industry and I came to understand the importance of science communication.
In short, it was ‘fruitful’, ‘enriching’ and ‘an eye-opener.