Hi, my name is Jordan Fordyce and I am originally from Canada. I’m an almost-finished MSCA PhD student doing a double doctoral degree between Ireland and France at Munster Technological University and Université de Montpellier within the OPTAPHI network.

I completed my bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics at the University of Alberta. I actually transferred out of Electrical Engineering to Engineering Physics in order to transition to academic research in Physics, since I fell in love with the idea of working with lasers. I continued with a master’s degree in atomic, molecular, and optical physics at the University of British Columbia and pursued a project in cold matter physics. I had the opportunity to collaborate with the University of Freiburg in Germany where I was able to do research for almost a semester and fell in love with being abroad. During this degree, I took a course called “Technology Entrepreneurship for Engineers” and I felt like it was better for me to transition out of academia and to expand my ability to work in optics and photonics. So, I decided to pursue a PhD on semiconductor laser fabrication which I am completing this year.

I’ve been interested in physics since I was 15 and read Stephen Hawking’s book “A Brief History of Time”. That led me to start my academic journey at 17 with the WISEST (women in scholarship engineering and science technology) summer camp that a high school teacher encouraged me to participate in. I got to work with an amazing chemistry research group working on organic photovoltaics and this experience really started everything for me. They invited me back the following summer and gave me the confidence to explore other different departments/areas related to potential research interests I had over the summers during my BSc.

There have been many ups and downs for me and periods of extreme motivation and periods of disinterest. I am really passionate about my interests and like to give it my all so I needed to find a way to achieve a bit more of a work-life balance so I could work in a sustainable way and pursue other hobbies as well. I found moving during the course of my degree extremely invigorating and I feel very lucky to have been able to experience so many different cultures. It came with its own challenges though and I am looking forward to staying in one place for a while when I decide where I’d like to go next.

I think it’s important to not be scared to try something and see if it suits you. You can quit and change your mind at any time or you can find shorter projects so that you can get a feeling for the field… but you never really know if you like something until you jump in. It’s better to spend a few years doing what you love then none at all. The other thing is that what you love doing can change over time so changing your mind isn’t a failure!