At HZB about 150 young scientists are working on their doctoral dissertation. 81 come from abroad to Berlin to do their PhD in the HZB labs in Wannsee or Adlershof. The PhD students at HZB have organized themselves: twice a month, they invite to an informal get-together, they plan workshops and an annual PhD retreat in a country hotel in Brandenburg. This is actively supported by the management. I recently asked Daniel Meza, one of eight current doctoral student representatives about their activities.
Daniel, why do you work as a representative in the PhD students organization ?
Daniel: Maybe it’s a bit romantic, but for me the doctorate is also a time when you can make friends for life. And that’s when you need to get involved. Together we can achieve more, I think.
What are you doing concretely?
Daniel: We invite to a regulars’ table twice a month, where we discuss problems and help or support each other. We also ask what kind of additional training doctoral students would like to receive; for example we are currently organizing new programming courses. Particularly nice is the PhD retreat: we spend three or four days in the country every summer. This is not organized by the representatives, but by five other committed doctoral students who have always done a great job in recent years.
How many doctoral students participate in the PhD retreat?
Daniel: About half of them. That’s very good, because some of them have measurement time or simply can’t take time off on these days. At the retreat, workshops are offered on topics that are of particular interest to people. For example, how to write good publications or present your work better, but also about career opportunities outside science. We also discuss other issues and elect the new representatives.
Why did the PhD students elect eight representatives?
Daniel: HZB is big, there are two locations and different buildings and laboratories at each location. That’s why it’s great that we now have eight contact persons, so there’s always one person nearby.
And here are the seven other representatives: If you are a PhD-student at HZB: get in touch soon.