Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Gabriele Leoncini, I am Italian and I moved to France nearly five years ago. My adventure in this country started as a Master student at l'X following the STEEM program and currently I am a PhD student at INSA Lyon working in the thermal engineering section.
Could you please tell us more about your current position?
I got a PhD position and my current topic is the energy/economic optimization of the thermal management system for electric vehicles. PhD students not only work on their topic, sometimes you have the possibility to supervise master students and give lectures too.
I am a special case since my PhD is funded by an external company, Renault Trucks. Thus, my results are implied in some internal project carried on by the company itself.
Was it easy for you to find a laboratory to pursue your PhD once graduated?
In order to primarily find the PhD, I had to contact the professor that works on the field I am interested in, and I got the chance that a PhD topic was available at that time. I also had to go through the administrative recruiting process and the recruiting process of the company too.
What skills gained during the STEEM program have you been using in your current position?
My work mainly focuses on thermodynamics and numerical simulations. Realizing physical models of reality through Python/Matlab is something that I have done frequently during my Master course for several subjects.
What do you like in your work?
What I like the most is the freedom I have choosing one path, investigating solutions connected to it and if it doesn't work start again and try another path. This could not happen if I was working for a company. Deadlines are on the long term and leave me space to evaluate several paths, although it might not be the right one.
Do you think your diploma and the name of Ecole Polytechnique are assets to start a career?
I think what counts more are your skills and mindset. I would evaluate myself for what I am capable to do, rather than my diploma. However, the diploma for sure is an indicator of which skills you have developed during your academic path.
What memories do you have of your time spent at l'X and in the STEEM program?
I made good friends and I am still in touch with them. This is the most precious memory I have, the relationship with international people coming from all over the world.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I would like to be a professor. Path is long, I will make mistakes, learn from them and go on. As I am doing in my PhD.