My road to academia was long and winding. I always had part-time/summer jobs since the age of 15, so I was no stranger to the working world. After my BSc. I worked for a year before deciding I was bored and wanted to learn something new, and an MSc. in Heriot Watt University Edinburgh in renewable energy seemed like an interesting field to get into. After this was another period of working in jobs in Barcelona that were fine, but the major challenge was physically going to the office 9am to 6pm, 5 days a week, rather than any stimulus from the work itself. After two years, I was bored again.
After some soul searching for what I wanted to do and where I wanted to live, I set my heart on the south of France and the largest international scientific project ever undertaken: ITER, the first full size nuclear fusion reactor. Fusion energy satisfied my desire to learn, and the Côte d’Azur my desire for sunshine and good wine.
In order to break into this field I needed to level up my education once more, with an MSc. in plasma physics at Queen’s University Belfast. I never did get the call back from France, but on a wet and windy evening in a Belfast Tesco my phone rang and the voice asked if I would like to do a PhD in fusion energy in Italy. Two weeks later I was having pizza and a Chianti in Padua, a city near Venice, and the dream of France got quickly replaced by my new happy reality.