Fall is coming! MtL students meet in Aachen
At the end of September, we spent the MtL Fall Days in Aachen, hosted by our local partner institution DWI - Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials.
These have been the first MtL Days in person and many students and Fellows met for the very first time!
On 28 September, everyone made their way to Aachen and gathered at the Centre Charlemagne for the scientific warm up. The Centre Charlemagne is located in the old town of Aachen, right between the beautiful Cathedral and the Town Hall. Great opportunity to already do some sightseeing on the way! After everyone arrived, Prof. Andreas Herrmann from the DWI welcomed everyone to the upcoming event and scientific exchange and gave some insider tips for great bars around the city, to be discovered later in the evening. We spent a great first evening with pleasant conversations and getting to know each other while enjoying delicious finger food.
The next day continued on the top floor of the SuperC, where we were greeted by a gorgeous view over the city during golden hour. After the welcome by Prof. Andreas Herrmann, the first round of presentations started with a keynote lecture by Wilhelm Huck from Radboud University Nijmegen: “Towards the origins of complexity”. This set the stage for the following insights into the latest Matter to Life research by MtL PhD students and Fellows.
In order to waken not only the appetite for lunch, but even more for the poster session and to attract the audience, all presenters gave a 2 minutes poster pitch. Many of our students prepared a poster and gave us a brief outline and a reason to later visit their poster and learn more about their recent discoveries.
In the afternoon, the second part of talks by Fellows and PhD students took place. Alongside others, we got an insight into exciting research at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the discovery of potential new parasites.
All participants could continue to exchange and network throughout the evening with a subsequent Libanese finger food buffet dinner. What a great end to the first day!
On the third and unfortunately already last day, we gathered again at SuperC for an insightful workshop focusing on career development presented and moderated by career coach Dr. Amani Said. In an engaging way, she taught our students how to develop a professional identity and how to identify their ideal career path as well as how to think out of the box and identify personal strength and preferences.
Moreover, the workshop included a career panel joined by climate consultant Wiktoria Zaton and climate officer Michael Maurer together with former MtL PhD student and start-up founder Niklas Rindtorff as well as MtL Fellow Kerstin Göpfrich. They discussed their career paths, decisions they made on the way and lessons learned. Michael Maurer phrased the key findings as following:
- Don´t compare yourself to others. Everyone´s background, needs and goals are different.
- Take time and listen to yourself. Find out what you REALLY care about and act according to it.
- Success can be many things. But only you define what success is to you – no one else.
Afterwards, there was an opportunity to mingle with the panelists and to learn more about their experience during a coffee break.
With that, Prof. Andreas Herrmann and Prof Stefan Hecht thanked those involved in the organization as well as everyone for coming and concluded the MtL Fall Days 2022.
We are thankful for this opportunity to get together in person again and discuss the science we are passionate about. Not only did we learn a lot and were able to strengthen our network once again, but we also had so much fun – we cannot wait for next year’s meetings!