Work Experience Opened New Interest

July 28, 2014
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Moving between STEM fields

During my work  at the Rome Agency for the Preparation of the Jubilee Year 2000 I had changed my mind again: the desire to continue to study and investigate similar research problems was ripe inside me.  I started to study again, and I won a fellowship for a PhD in Operations Research at the University of Rome La Sapienza. The doctoral program lasted three years, during which time I continued studying logistics problems, in particular problems related to the monitoring of urban traffic networks.  I was eventually awarded the bi-annual "UPS-SOLA Best Dissertation Award" (Section On Location Analysis) for my PhD dissertation.


During those three years I had the opportunity to travel to many conferences and share experiences with other researchers. I also spent several months at the Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering at the University of Arizona. They were beautiful months in which I fell in love with the saguaro cacti, the copper colored mountains, and the man who would later become my husband.

At that time I realized slowly and serenely that I liked the academic life. I did not want to enter the academic world in order to acquire the "privileges" of those who work at the university. I was simply and, I admit, naively, driven by the desire to study. Throughout all this, the encouragement of my family was very important. My family supported me unconditionally.  They followed my education with attention, care and dedication, and they helped me so I could take every opportunity life offered me.


After receiving my PhD, I became a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Salerno, and a year later I became an Assistant Professor there. Salerno is about three hours away from Rome and my friends and family, but I was comfortable there. The work was what I wanted, and Salerno is a beautiful city near the beach and the Amalfi coast, and the people there are warm and inviting.


But I felt uneasy.  Something was wrong, or rather something was missing. I kept thinking of a guy whom I had met in Arizona among those beautiful mountains and with whom I had kept in contact.  I had to do something and I wanted to change.


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