"Hi! My name is Angelina, I am Dutch but I was born and brought up in France. I did an apprenticeship in physics here at CERN and graduated last summer. I studied this as I love physics, it is less abstract than chemistry for me, it’s concrete and manual, hands on, and mixes electronics, mechanics and measurements."
How did you find out about the CERN TTE programme?
My apprenticeship supervisor told me about it and I looked it up on the CERN webpage and I didn’t hesitate: the excitement to work at CERN, to participate to the technology and research did it for me.
Did you have any hesitations?
Absolutely none. I even fought to get accepted, as at first I was told my diploma didn’t quite correspond to criteria, and in the end all worked out and I could join the programme.
So what do you do here at CERN?
I work on magnet preparation, starting with bending long copper tubes, which are brazed together. I assemble all the parts, and wrap the whole coil with fiberglass. We take this to the polymer group and they mould it in resin, for me then to clean them and prepare for the next preparation. Owing to delays in the delivery of the mechanical parts I had to machine the pieces myself thanks to the supervision of my colleague Jesus Manuel.
It’s a very important part of the magnet’s functioning and requires care, patience and a lot of organisation. I also have to write the procedures.
What were the challenges when you arrived?
Already speaking French helped, but it was a completely new technical field for me. My colleagues helped me and supported me so much so I was able to then dive in head first, got the hang of it with time, I persevered. I work in a great team who really are helpful.
What are the highlights of working here?
The people I work with. The diversity of techniques and technologies, and the opportunity to do things I never would have done elsewhere, learning very fast. It is very fulfilling to be able to learn so much from such kind people. It’s super enriching on a personal and professional level.
Any particular messages to other aspiring technicians out there?
Don’t hesitate. Even if you don’t speak French, there are lessons to get you integrated rapidly, people all around you will make an effort as well to be understood: if you make an effort, if you take the initiative, people will help you. At CERN you never feel isolated. As well as the professional aspect where you learn and evolve, people coming from afar can meet others people and integrate easily: CERN offers so many leisure options, several different clubs, events and festivals; there’s a lot of social stuff going on. I belong to the dancing club where I learn salsa.
I feel it’s a privilege and an honour to contribute to CERN.
How cool is that?