by Polly Bennett. Published: 27 April 2012

“I was always the kind of little girl who likes to fix things. I would try to connect everything in the house and people were always asking me to make something like the TV work when it was broken. So I had a kind of predisposition for engineering-type subjects let’s say.” Her childhood dabbling with household electronics led Adriana Telesca, of ALICE’s Data Acquisition (DAQ) group, to study electronics and telecommunications engineering in later life. Originally from the village of Lequile in the sunshine-soaked paradise of southern Italy’s ‘heel’, Adriana moved to Ferrara in northern Italy for her Bsc and Msc university studies. “Before finishing my Msc I also did an internship for 6 months at EPFL, Lausanne, where I worked on my Msc thesis.” Following her degrees Adriana worked at a telecommunications company for one year before applying for a position as a CERN Fellow.

Adriana Telesca

Adriana Telesca

Adriana has been working in the ALICE DAQ team since she first received her Fellowship in November 2008. “There I’ve been working on different things, like testing of the storage system or monitoring hardware. My specific role now is to find a replacement for the performance monitoring software we use; one that would suit our needs more in terms of reliability and general quality. I am also working in close collaboration with a colleague on the Data Quality Monitoring software.”

Adriana was initially funded by a Marie Curie Fellowship, and in addition to her main area of research she had the opportunity to develop her training and education in a number of very different areas of science and academia. “The aim of the Marie Curie programme is to create European researchers with a very broad education. As well as my work at CERN I’ve done communication courses, how to make presentations or things like that, and I participated in a school on data acquisition and triggering in collaboration with other CERN experiments.”

In addition to this already large workload, Adriana has taken on the monumental task of doing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Technology Management via distance learning with the Open University, London. “I can do it while working but, yeah, it’s a lot. I have the last 2 courses in May and I’ll be finishing at the end of the year, so when I am done I will have a life; hopefully; finally.” On why she is doing an MBA at all Adriana says, “At the beginning of my education my idea was to go into something that was more managerial than technical. Luckily I had the opportunity at CERN to work for 5 months in the HR department, where I could see how it is to work in a more administrative role. I like it but it’s not for me to start this kind of career yet. I actually like to work on practical projects and so I want to stay in a technical role for a very long time. But I still decided to broaden my technical studies a bit now with the MBA.”

With such a full schedule it’s a wonder that Adriana has time for any extracurricular fun. But being equipped with serious organisation skills Adriana parcels her day into manageable chunks. “Then I can still enjoy the mountains and the lake. I’m a water person, so in the summer I go very often to the lake for swimming or just to be with friends. When I was younger I used to go to the beach every day for 3 months during the summer and I miss it. But the lake here is a good replacement. In the winter I ski in the Alps or try to travel a little bit. It’s nice that Geneva is really in the middle of Europe.”

“I like Geneva. I really like to be in the centre of a city and so I live here rather than in France. I like to have everything close, so if I want to go for a drink in the evening I can just go without taking the car. There are lots of things in the city but it’s also somewhere you can have a quiet, relaxed life. When you want to find something more interesting you can just take a plane somewhere as it’s so well connected. That’s the thing I like. Where I was living in Italy was really at the bottom, it’s really in the south. It has a small airport and just to get to Rome it’s already 600 km; So Geneva is nice for that.”

At the beginning of April 2012 Adriana became a CERN staff member in ALICE. “I am very happy to have the opportunity to continue working in a very nice environment like that of the DAQ team and in such a rich experiment’s collaboration. Those elements always pleasantly push me to give my best and to grow as a professional.”