Now I am finally writing this last blog as ESR of PROTECTED project trying not to feel too emotional, although not very successful I must say!
From the very first moment I step onto a plane in Havana in 2017, I knew my life was going to change forever. I was going to be more than 10k miles apart from my family, my friends, and everything that were remotely familiar. I needed to learn to be independent in every sense of the word, and although it was tough at first, right now I am very proud that I made the decision to follow my dreams.
Spain has welcomed me, and my co-workers and job environment have been fantastic these past years. However, I spent almost half of my PhD abroad, in secondments, conferences, and training schools. I have visited many countries and prestigious institutions, and for that I am grateful to European Commission ITN’s vision of networking and collaboration in science. I consider this to be crucial for growth as a scientist but also as a person.
There have been very difficult moments these past years, especially in my personal life. The support that I have received from my love ones determined that I successfully completed my PhD on time. The last challenge that we all had to face was coronavirus pandemic that since March 2020 lock down our human interaction and certainly it still is damaged our mental health. Once again, I am tremendously thankful to the incredible people I am fortunate to share my life with, and that were the reason why I remain sane with a global pandemic and the final stage of my PhD.
In the Acknowledgments section of my Thesis, I wrote a note for PROTECTED family, that I would like to share here with all of you.
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”
I gratefully thank to my Project’s coordinator Lisa Connolly and to my Project’s manager Katie Austin for your closeness, dedication, and mentorship during these three years in the “PROTECTED family” and during my research visiting at Queen’s University of Belfast when I learned so much and have an amazing time with my great lab-mates Mazia, Cher and Toby.
Thanks also to my advisors during my research stay at the University of Liège: Marc Müller and Marie L. Scippo and to my colleague Que for your kindness and for sharing your experience and collaborate with my research ideas. I believe that we accomplished a lot together! From my time in Liège I thank the wonderful team at GIGA research lab, especially to my kind lab-mates Gus and Ratish.
I deeply thank all the ESRs of PROTECTED project, the ones that I already mentioned, and: Maria, Melissa, Chiara, Vittoria, Clèmence, Bérénice, Solomon, Tarek, Anteneh, and Ajay with whom I have experienced incredible adventures around the world, both professional and personal.
It was a great honor to be part of such an amazing team of young scientists in love with their research. I am looking forward to meeting you somewhere, someday, and nostalgically remember the years in which the study of endocrine disruption brought us all together, from 12 different countries (Cuba, Cyprus, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Nepal, Nigeria, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, United States, and Vietnam), with different cultures and scientific backgrounds, but with the same goal: to become Ph.D.
Finally, today, few months after defending my Thesis and being now a Ph.D. in Chemistry, I am sure that I will live the rest of my life proud of having the opportunity of being a “Marie Curie fellow”, since I have learnt that it is a different and amazing way of doing a Ph.D. Undoubtfully, once in a lifetime experience!
I say goodbye to everyone, with the phrase of our idol Marie Skłodowska Curie that I have assumed as dogma in my thesis and in my life:
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood”
My very best wishes to all!