Nataliia Vereshchuk, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Antoni Llobet (ICIQ), has defended her PhD thesis entitled “Rational design of the molecular Ru-based Water Oxidation Catalysts” (assigned to the Department of Physical and Inorganic Chemistry of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili) publicly on January 14th.
The members of the evaluation committee were: Dr. Marie-Noëlle Collomb (Université Grenoble Alpes), Dr. Nuria Romero (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and Dr. Xavier Sala (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona).
Dr. Vereshchuk is from Ternopil, a small city in Ukraine. She obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the National Technical University of Ukraine. During that time, she did a research stay at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. In 2016, she was awarded a BIST PhD fellowship, with which she began her PhD at ICIQ. She likes to practice yoga and go hiking.
Why did you become a scientist?
I often wonder how on earth I got here… but then I realize it’s because I stayed curious, I took risks, and I continued to aimlessly launch myself into the unknown.
From the lessons learnt at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
One of the first skills that you will pick up in your PhD is the ability to manage your own time, how to be independent and personally for me, to be resilient.
The feeling, with which I am leaving ICIQ is of enormous and endless gratitude to all the people that had been with me for four years. The time here has made me not only a good scientist but also a better person.
What ICIQ moment you´ll never forget?
There are hundreds of stories…We used to entertain each other by changing the computer background photo with something funny or usually funny and very inappropriate. So, the lesson to learn is always to lock your screen and if you do not, check it without your boss around…. otherwise you (as well as your boss) might be very surprised!
What advice do you have for someone who’s starting their PhD now?
That depends on your goals and expectations for the PhD, but I would say: work hard and stay curious. Knowledge comes from experience, so experiment, fail, learn, and repeat.
I think the most important lesson is to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Always find time for a beer with friends and a coffee break with colleagues, the most creative ideas come during those moments. And be honest, especially to yourself!
Where are you going next? What will you do there?
First, I will go on vacation. Then, I will continue as a Postdoc researcher at Dartmouth College (NH, USA). There I will join Prof. Katherina A. Mirica’s research group, where I will be developing, synthesizing, and evaluating conductive framework materials in the context of chemical sensing of electrochemically active analytes.
If you were a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?
A sonicator, since it is noisy and annoying – as I am, sometimes.