Interviews jIAPS

Interview with Marisol Castellanos and Anna Christoforidou

The jIAPS Editor-in-Chief is continuing to interview the 2022-23 EC – they have nearly reached the end, both in terms of the EC members to be interviewed and of their time as jIAPS Editor-in-Chief! This time, we have combined two interviews into one so you get two-for-the-price-of-one. Enjoy reading the interview.

What are you currently studying?
Anna (IAPS Outreach Officer): I’m currently in my last year of Bachelor studies at the Physics Department of the University of Athens. My special interests include (but are not limited to) Photonics, Plasmonics and Biophysics. My thesis on Computational Electromagnetics is titled: ‘A Comparative FDTD/Analytical Theory Study of EM Wave Propagation in Dielectric, ENZ and Plasmonic Media’.
Marisol (IAPS PR Manager): I finished my Bachelor degree of physics at the Physics Department of the University of San Carlos de Guatemala. My main interests are Complex systems, Biophysics and Computational Neuroscience.

What does your role involve?
Marisol: The PR manager is responsible for overseeing the outward look of the association, managing its public voice and promoting important information to the members. They actively manage social media and run advertising campaigns on different topics, while promoting inclusivity. Additionally, they handle the creation, design, and distribution of advertising materials such as flyers and brochures. They also manage the merchandise store. They work closely with jIAPS to publish the IAPS magazine annually and support the IT manager in website management.
Anna: Apart from organizing and supervising School Day and IDL activities/events as well as reviewing and approving the outreach grant proposals, the role of the outreach manager is being unfolded mostly behind the scenes. Having weekly meetings with various associations, organizations and outreach initiative projects, takes up most of my time as an outreach manager. The goal is to get to know people in the outreach fields, connect them with IAPS and brainstorm accordingly to create collaborative projects. So even if 20-30% of those meetings turn out to become a direct outreach project, all of them are a different learning experience.

What is your favorite part of your role?
Anna: The aforementioned meetings are definitely my favorite part of my role. More specifically, getting to know and interact with different personalities with a common passion for outreach. One of the most emotional experiences was getting to know the Pakistanee Professors Dr. Anisa Qamar and her colleagues, who are organizing the International Young Physicist Tournament (IYPT) 2023 for the first time in Pakistan. These women are real fighters in the science communication field against all obstacles, they truly inspired me. Another example that comes immediately to mind, is the opportunity to connect with Dr. Pranoti Kshirsagar and The Science Talk project. A YouTube channel owner, podcast creator, invited speaker to conferences and workshops, scientific blogger and of course an active researcher, she does most of her work voluntarily with the goal of helping fellow scientists communicate their work better. A humble and giving person to the core, Pranoti has become a mentor to me, we are having meetings regularly and the collaborative ideas are many to date.
Marisol: My favorite part was being able to express the message we wanted to convey in each post or activity through art and design. Art is a voice that doesn’t need to speak. I enjoyed including everyone, and that was reflected in the posts and campaigns we created, such as Women in Physics.

Can you give one top tip for applying to become part of the EC?
Anna: Give as much thought to your letter of candidacy as to your CV. A strong CV is nothing if not supported by an organized and realistic letter of candidacy.
Marisol: One top tip for applying to become part of the EC is to demonstrate your passion and commitment to the organization’s mission and goals. Being genuinely passionate about the organization and its mission will make you stand out as a dedicated and enthusiastic candidate. It will also show that you are genuinely interested in making a positive impact and contributing to the organization’s growth and success

Which part of IAPS do you enjoy the most?
Anna: Getting to travel and meet people with similar interests, all around the world.
Marisol: Sharing with different people and cultures which have similar interests but different perspectives. Besides, go to events and meet amazing people with whom you create networking.

What’s it like being on the EC?
Anna: Being part of the EC is first and foremost way more time consuming than I imagined. But I am really grateful that even though I became a member in the middle of the year, I was immediately welcomed by the other guys that helped me adjust to the workload and the EC routine procedures. I truly believe that the EC experience is directly dependent on and changes according to the people that constitute it.
Marisol: What I liked the most about being on the EC was the diversity of people and cultures I encountered. Each of them taught me valuable lessons that helped me grow both professionally and personally. Despite the challenges we faced, it taught me to work as a team and improved my skills.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of joining IAPS?
Anna: Do not even think about it. I am a firm believer that one should seize every opportunity that comes their way. Any physicist can find or create something around their interests in IAPS.
Marisol: Be honest and clear with your goals, and assess if you have the necessary time to perform the role adequately. Enjoy the constant learning.

How do you prefer spending your summer?
Anna: A kind of childish literature book at a nice, calm beach in Crete (the biggest island of Greece, where I am from).
Marisol: I enjoy climbing volcanoes or mountains. I love watching the sunset, listening to the ocean waves, and appreciating nature. I also meditate and go cycling.