Meet Fleur, CERN technical student from The Netherlands

I have learnt so much from being here.

Hello Fleur, tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to CERN? 

Hello! My name is Fleur and I was born in the Netherlands, but grew up on a small Caribbean island called Curaçao. When I finished high school I moved back to the Netherlands to study Applied Physics at the Delft University of Technology. After finishing my bachelor’s degree I wanted to gain more practical experience in the field of physics, and I have always been fascinated by CERN and their research. After some googling I found the Technical Student program, which is exactly what I was looking for!

What do you do at CERN today? 

I work in the Vacuum, Surfaces, Coatings group (TE-VSC). Here, I do research into electron stimulated desorption at 4.2 K. Using an experimental setup, I look at electron-induced desorption effects on different coatings, mainly the amorphous carbon coating that has now been installed in the High-Luminosity upgrade of the LHC.

What is working at CERN like for you?

Working at CERN has been amazing! I have learnt so much from being here. Doing research in the place that is at the forefront of science alongside incredibly knowledgeable colleagues is a privilege.  Being in this intellectually stimulating environment has definitely further increased my love for physics and science in general. What has made this experience even more unforgettable has been the people. Meeting passionate people from all over the world who all work towards the same goal has been truly inspiring.

What have been the main hurdles or challenges you encountered along the way?

I would say the main challenge was adapting to teleworking and the restrictions imposed during the pandemic. Luckily, I could still work on-site two or three days a week to run my experiment and spend the teleworking days processing data or working on simulations.

What advice would you give potential applicants?

If you love science and if you enjoy being in an international environment surrounded by beautiful nature, this is the place for you! Don’t get discouraged by the prestige of CERN (I know I almost did), go ahead and submit your application because you never know what could come from it. There might be a project that is perfect for you and your skillset, and you could end up having the most amazing time here. I am super happy I took the leap of faith and applied.

Inspired? Take part and apply now for a technical studentship with CERN!

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