Mabel de Fez, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Galán-Mascarós, has defended her PhD thesis entitled “Cost-Effective Materials for The Energy Transition: From Water Splitting Catalysts to Carbon Dioxide Adsorbents” (assigned to the Physical and Inorganic Chemistry Department of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili) publicly on February 11th.
The members of the evaluation committee were: Dra. Mónica H. Pérez Temprano ( ICIQ ), Dra. Marta Liras Torrente (IMDEA Energía) and Dr. Jorge García Ivars ( Ainia Centro Tecnológico).
Dr. de Fez is from Valencia. She did Chemical Engineering at Universitat Politecnica de Valencia and then moved to Madrid for her master’s in Chemical Engineering at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. There, she worked as an intern at IMDEA Energy and learnt about ICIQ and applied for her PhD position in the Galán-Mascarós group. A social person, she spends her free time with friends – preferably by the sea.
Do you have a goal as a scientist?
After finishing the thesis, I think that the work I’ve done can help the scientific community work on renewable energies, so important right now. My motivation for my thesis was to contribute to solving the energetic crisis, helping our society use energy sources that don’t pollute. As a scientist, my goal is to help humankind.
From the skills developed at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
Learning how to work in a team! It’s so important to learn how to deal with people, that they might have a bad day from time to time, how to ask for help, and a long etcetera. And mostly, that you don’t work alone in science, the research group you are part of will have a great impact on what you do and how you do it.
A moment you’ll never forget:
Anytime I had to do a presentation because I had to overcome my fear of public speaking. These moments have been so important for my professional (and personal) growth.
What advice do you have for someone who’s starting their PhD now?
Be passionate about what you’re doing. You need to enjoy your work and be passionate about it because that’s what will make you carry on day after day.
Who has been your greatest motivation?
It’s a cliché but my supervisor: he’s an awesome scientist, boss and even better person!
What’s the thing you enjoyed the most about your thesis?
The outreach activities. I enjoyed bringing science closer to students, explaining to them what being a scientist entails and breaking gender stereotypes. Also, making them realise that what you do as a scientist is always supported by older research and what other people have done. You can’t be a scientist in isolation.
Science is fun because… you learn and discover new things!
I really enjoyed doing outreach activities like talks at schools. I wanted to expand my horizons so I’m now enrolled in a master to become a science teacher. But I might also apply for postdoctoral positions, I haven’t really decided yet.
If you were a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?
I’d be a wrench because it makes difficult stuff easy. The beginning of my PhD was kind of tough, so I learnt how important helping others is. Now, when someone new comes to the group I do all I can to help them, we need to take care of each other, especially during your PhD!
Tell us something about you that we might not know: Obsession with Audrey Hepburn, I’ve seen all her movies!