Adriana Telesca started working in ALICE in November 2008 as a Marie Curie fellow at a project called ACEOLE; an EU-funded 7th Framework Programme project offering work opportunities and research training in the field of data acquisition and electronics for the LHC experiments.
Adriana joined the ALICE DAQ group as a Marie Curie fellow, working for 3 years in the testing of the storage system’s performance as well as the DAQ farm. Adriana also collaborated closely with Barthelemy von Haller in the development of the Data Quality Monitoring (DQM) software. At the beginning of April 2012 Adriana became a CERN staff member in ALICE, where she continued working with the ALICE DAQ team. She worked once again on the DQM software development as well as in the R&D for the O2 project.
However, Adriana always wanted to explore different areas of science and make the most of her training as a Marie Curie fellow. After all, one of the main aims of a Marie Curie fellowship is to give to people the opportunity to develop their professional careers and encourage them to get a broader education from other disciplines that will help them in that sense. Researchers can use part of their budget for training in different subjects.
Adriana says: “I used it to participate in conferences, technical courses but I also invested in an MBA specialized in technology management. Moreover, I familiarized myself with the basics of accounting and management but I also learned how to exploit technological changes and drive innovation”.
Adriana pursued her MBA in Technology Management via distance learning with the Open University, London. She felt that this could add to her previous expertise as an engineer and help her broaden her technical skills; after all “the profile of an engineer who has a knowledge of business administration is well received and offers many opportunities”.
Studying for a demanding degree like an MBA requires a lot of time. She comments: “It wasn’t an easy decision as one has to be determined to invest a lot of free time. I opted for distance learning as I continued working. Despite the difficulties I think that it is always worth investing in further education and looking back in time I am very happy that I made this decision”.
Studying for an MBA not only equipped her with knowledge about financial and managerial aspects but also helped her develop her organizational skills. This is equally important, as her job as resources coordinator means that she has to manage many different sub-projects, each with its own particularities that can be handled only by efficient organization of time and available resources.
Was this a difficult career step for her? “In ALICE my interest in the domain of technology management was already known. Therefore, when I was presented with the challenge of moving from a technical job to the coordination of ALICE resources I thought that this was a great opportunity and a big challenge”.
Following her long experience in the DAQ team, Adriana felt that this was the right time for her to move in a different field. “I liked my job in the DAQ and this period is especially exciting as we are working on many different projects in order to meet the requirements of the ALICE upgrade plans”. Adriana is still working on some of these projects.
As Resources Coordinator she appreciated a different part of the experiment that sometimes people tend to forget. The technical part is only one part of the story; one has to think of the importance of resources and how crucial is to manage them in order to carry out all the activities and realize the future research programme of the experiment. Moreover, she likes to think of her new job as: “a reinvestment of her past experience and knowledge but also a challenge for professional growth”.
Adriana learned many things over the last months when she started her mandate as ALICE Resources Coordinator: “I studied the constitution of the ALICE collaboration, the different contributions coming from different funding agencies and many other rules that ensure the smooth running of the collaboration. Her overlap with Catherine Decosse has been essential. Adriana adds: “This is not a job that can be handed over from one day to the other. It is based on the experience that you gain over the years and I have learned many things from Catherine; working with her has been a fruitful experience”.
Catherine Decosse will continue working with Adriana over the next few months. “I feel more and more confident and independent on certain aspects of managing the resources of the collaboration. These days we are working on the book closing for 2013 and the budgeting for the next years”.
Finally, we asked Adriana whether there had been any unexpected difficulties: “I had thought about the job quite well. I expected that this would be a job that one has to make decisions and perhaps the most difficult part is to have every clue that will allow you to make a decision. In other words, the biggest challenge is to understand how things are organized, find the required resources and use them in the most efficient way”.