Hi, I’m Que, ERS9 of the PROTECTED project. I carried out my PhD at the university of Liege, Belgium. I have just finished my PhD during the pandemic COVID-19. I’m writing to share with you about my amazing PhD, I literally mean “AMAZING”.

GAINS: I am one of the lucky ones to receive the “prestigious” Marie Skłodowska-Curie (grant agreement No. 722634) for the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. It’s great and I really appreciate that. 

1. A PhD for sure. While the pandemic (once-in-a-lifetime) turns normal life of many people upside down, I feel myself lucky enough to be able to finish my PhD on time. I spent 2-month lockdown to finish my thesis. I did a virtual thesis defense. It’s weird if you asked me, but I was able to invite friends from all over the world. That’s great J. So if you plan one, go ahead, you would like it.

2. Amazing advisors. I have two “super”visors, Prof. Marie-Louise Scippo and Assoc. Prof. Marc Muller, who I admire and learn a lot from them. They are the best that I could wish for. I find myself really lucky to be their student. I am greatly appreciated their dedication and support not only in scientific but also in personal life.

3. Friends. My amazing labmates who work with me, eat with me, talk with me, and workout with me every day. And of course my beautiful friends from the PROTECTED project, we have some ups and downs together. We become a ‘family’ thanks to the project brining us together.  

My labmates (not all of them)-The “PROTECTED” family, picture credited for Mazia Amber 

4. Beautiful home town Liege referring to my last article.

5. Last but NOT least. My 3-year PhD gave me a lot of chances to travel to several conferences, summer schools, courses, etc. I even don’t remember how many, so that my advisors told me I’m not in Liege for half of my PhD. Although they take time, but they are great chance to meet people, “grow” your circle of experts and friends, and of course to enjoy PhD life. One of the conferences I like the most is the DIOXIN conference in Kyoto, Japan, August, 2019. I’m glad I did it with the plus of the rich Japanese culture, people, and landscape. Then, the summer school in Chile, November, 2019. Although it ended shorter than planned due to the increasing protests, it was awesome. I felt in love with Valdivia, and the ESRs and the supervisors together overcame the crisis. That’s unique 🙂     

REGRETS: I have nothing to regret, maybe I should have not travelled around so much, haha, but well, it allowed me to enjoy 100% of my PhD so why not. It’s great when you can do what you like and make the most out of it.

FUTURE PLAN: I’ve secured a 2-year postdoc in Uppsala, Sweden, my new adventure in the north begins.

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