What is your qualifying background?
I studied food chemistry at the University of Münster and completed my education as a food chemist doing the German one-year „legal clerkship“ and state examination. Following my studies, I worked at Eurofins GfA Lab Service for 2.5 years, a testing laboratory in Hamburg, which is specialized in the analysis of persistent organic pollutants in environmental and food matrices. I was gripped by the topic, its global context and the processes behind it, and eager to work on it scientifically. So I was very lucky to get a PhD position in the Department for Environmental Chemistry here at the Institute of Coastal Research to work on the distribution and fate of emerging organic contaminants with a focus on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
How would you describe your working daily routine?
As our work includes completely different parts, there is no typical daily routine. Of course there are office days and times when you sit down to plan, evaluate or compile things. To collect samples we go on field trips, which are often followed by weeks full of lab work. So there is always a lot of variation which I like very much.
Do you have a big aim?
Right now, my big aim is to finish my PhD. Afterwards, I would like to continue working in interesting projects that could make a positive impact and allow me to completely stand behind the work I’m doing.
What has been your biggest success so far?
This question is tricky to answer as it’s always a matter of perspective how to define success and measure it. During the time of my PhD, it was feedback and discussions at conferences and workshops, which showed me that our results could be relevant for future monitoring work and regulatory activities and gave me a lot of motivation.
In terms of dreams coming true, it was the participation in an Arctic expedition onboard the research vessel “Polarstern” this summer. The cruise was a unique experience in all matters, from conducting research in this remote area, to meeting international scientists with a lot of different backgrounds, to the overwhelming nature.
Do you have any personal distinctive mark?
It’s my running shoes, which carry me through life since I was a child. Starting with middle distance runs like 800 metres and cross country races, I ended up with longer runs up to marathon. Running helps me to overcome worries, makes it easy to order my thoughts and gives me new ideas.