Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Raka, I’m an Indonesian who studied at l’X in the Energy Environment: Science and technology Master program. Currently I’m pursuing a doctorate study in the similar field at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland.
Could you please tell us more about your current position?
The exact title is called research assistant here. I have been assigned to evaluate whether the efforts to recover valuables from waste make environmental sense or not—a big question that remains open, and we are going to find it out after carefully designing our circular economy metabolism in the mining industry.
So, the field itself is a nexus between environmental engineering, mining & metallurgy, and industrial ecology. What makes it also exciting, is the fact that we’re working in an interdisciplinary team of multiple institutions across Europe, thanks to generous funding from the EU Horizon 2020 research scheme.
Was it easy for you to find a job once graduated?
I would say it took time to adapt myself to job-seeking mode right after finishing my last internship and wrapping up the final defense. The process to finally discover my current position was pretty straightforward and clear, so there’s no apparent difficulty to tweak job applications. Though I must say that recruitment processes are more than that: to name a few such as interview, focus group discussions, and other screening processes might require extra preparation efforts. But again, lessons from one failing application can literally improve the next ones.
What skills gained during the STEEM program have you been using in your current position?
My specific program has taught me to think from multiple angles: I remember taking classes about natural-based solutions to environmental problem, project management courses, and even more tech-loaded courses in modelling/ simulation. At the end of the day, they have been positively carried with me to my current project, because now I’m in charge of linking research results from our partners and come up with tangible solutions as our project’s proposal, potentially targeted to decision-makers. In a nutshell, l’X equips their students to get out of their comfort skills by providing courses from various disciplines.
What do you like in your work?
Freedom of thinking process, exploratory journeys, and friends full of wits/ creativity. In combination, they represent complete autonomy to the researcher but still pave a corridor with clear goals ahead of us.
What memories do you have of your time spent at l'X and in the STEEM program?
There are so many I couldn’t name every memorable experience. But some highlights are:
- Fun sport classes once every week. I took climbing and boxing; super tiring but extremely enjoyable. I may have gotten stronger as the bonus of rigorous trainings, I guess…
- The thrilling sensation to present our final projects in front of a renowned professor at l’X: The criticisms are very sharp sometimes, but they improved substantially our work quality in the end.
- Graduate degree visits to Annecy: a weekend full of laughs and adventures!
- Regular eventual dinners/ meetings at the hall. There, I always met our presidents, coordinators, and even fellow GD-students from different majors who kept inspiring me in so many ways.
What are your ambitions for the future?
Using knowledge to save the world from sustainability pressing issues: either as an engineer, researcher, or policymaker. Possibilities are still widely open, but for sure I will take a leadership helm to realize this vision.