Andrea Moneo, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. J.R. Galán-Mascarós (ICIQ) has defended her PhD thesis entitled “Bistable Molecular Materials: Triazole-based Coordination Chemistry of First Row Transition Metals” (assigned to the Department of Physical and Inorganic Chemistry of the Universitat Rovira I Virgili) publicly on December 18th at the ICIQ Auditorium.
The members of the examining committee were: Enrique Colacio Rodríguez (Universidad Granada), Francisco Lloret Pastor (Universitat Valencia), Nuria Aliaga Alcalde (Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona)
Dr. Moneo is from Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a beautiful town in La Rioja, Spain. She obtained her Chemistry degree and Master in Nanostructured Materials form Universidad de Zaragoza. In 2017, she began her PhD at ICIQ in Prof. José Ramón Galán-Mascarós’ group. She likes playing sports and running.
Why did you become a scientist?
I always liked science; I was very curious about it in high school. I had doubts about whether I should study chemistry or physics, but in the end, I went for chemistry because during my senior year I enjoyed the classes – even the exam! I actually decided then and there to study chemistry.
From the lessons learnt at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
There are a lot of interesting conferences and courses at ICIQ. One of my favourites was about oral presentations and how to improve our communication skills. For example, when you are giving a talk, you shouldn’t focus on yourself but on the audience. If you look at the audience, you’ll see if the message is coming through and how to keep their attention.
What ICIQ moment you’ll never forget?
I will never forget the first day: my lab mates gave me an ICIQ-tour. We went through Xavi’s glass-room and when I saw him working, I remembered that when there was a medieval fair in my town, there was a glass-blower who played with the kids by blowing glass and turning it into dust. I told Xavi that he reminded me of that man, and it turned out it was him all along!
What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your PhD? What advice do you have for someone who’s starting their PhD now?
Organization is very important: I would have liked to be more organized from the beginning – I guess we all need to learn that the hard way. But the most important advice, to me, is that you have to balance personal and professional life. The better you feel with your personal life, the better you will be at work, you’ll even be more creative. You will spend many hours working, so you need to be passionate about what you do. Last but not least, you have to question yourself and be critic with your work – and avoid comparing yourself to others, because, regardless if you do well or not, you need to question if you are proud of what you have done. The world and academia are already competitive, and comparing yourself with others does not make you advance either personally or professionally.
Where are you going next? What will you do there?
I will stay at ICIQ for a year as a postdoc. Later, I’d like to continue with a second postdoc somewhere in Europe. I don’t want to change the topic of my work, but I want to apply it to other fields like nanotechnology or biomedicine.
If you were a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?
I would like to be a SQUID, a magnetometer that measures the magnetic properties of molecules – I have used it so much! I like working with it because it’s very precise in everything it measures: the temperature and the magnetic moment. Also, it has a funny name!