Edyta Niemczyk, an ambassador for science and research

Published on 28/06/2021

What made you do a PhD?

It goes back to middle school in Poland when a student association came to my class to show experiments in physics and chemistry. At the time, when I saw a simple reaction of two solutions, I thought: this is amazing! And this feeling never left me. In fact, I became an active member of this association throughout my studies. A few years later, here I am, a PhD student on polymers science.

Why being involved in science outreach?

When one learns physics or chemistry at school, it is often through books, which makes it difficult to grasp these subjects. With experiments, you can show the fun and exciting side of science. And, that’s exactly what we were doing in this association. We wanted to show that these domains are not as complicated as they seem, that everyone can pursue their own path. I also did a voluntary service by going to schools, most of them in the countryside. Our aim was to raise awareness about science and to try to create vocations through small scientific experiments.

Did it change something by coming to Luxembourg?

I realised that most people were speaking French rather than German! But I also found new ways to spread my passion about science and research. I followed a science communication course at the University of Luxembourg and participated in “My Research in 90 seconds”. It was great to get these transferable skills and being able to share my research topic to the general public.

You are also committed to the PhDs community, aren't you?

Yes! LIST gave me the opportunity to be a representative of the Luxembourg doctoral students community by participating in 2019 in the LIST PhD Day during which PhDs can present their work to one another. I also participated in last year’s National PhD welcome Day and it was a bit more stressful! Due to the pandemic, the event was 100% digital. I knew that I was speaking to almost 100 people but couldn’t see them. Seeing the number is scarier than seeing faces in my point of view. Once launched, I nevertheless enjoyed exchanging with newcomers and giving them tips based on my own PhD journey.

In relation to that, how are you managing your PhD during this pandemic?

More efficiently and especially during the confinement. There was no choice but to perfectly plan my time on the rare occasions I could access the lab. During the other times, I could then devote myself to writing my thesis and publications. And, to keep a cool head during this more stressful time – and avoid procrastination – I do a lot of yoga and hiking. I used to climb with my colleagues but as it is an indoor activity, we had to find other ways to do sport. Fortunately, we managed to climb the Himalayas last year and did not have to postpone our trip.

 

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 Edyta NIEMCZYK
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