Questions to Harriëtte Koop and Caroline Obermeyer

Caroline Obermeyer and Harriëtte Koop recently joined the EMFL News team. Since December 2016 they work in the field of communications in Dresden-Rossendorf/Germany and Nijmegen/Netherlands, respectively. We interviewed both of them and talked about their jobs, their positions, their expectations, and their life in general.

What is your position in general and what are your tasks regarding EMFL?

Caroline: Regarding the EMFL News I took over the project management from Christine Bohnet. I coordinate the delivery of articles and work closely together with Jochen Wosnitza regarding the content. I communicate with the advertising agency as well as with the EMFL board of directors and the people who are in charge at the sites in Grenoble, Nijmegen, and Toulouse. At the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), I work in the department of technology transfer and legal affairs. Mainly I am responsible for a project called „TTO-Alumni“. Together with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) we are currently exploring opportunities to enhance technology transfer into society.

Harriëtte: In December 2016, I started working as a Science Communication Officer at the High Field Magnet Laboratory (HFML) in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Hereby, I replaced the former Science Communication Officer, Iris Kruijen. In this job, I am concerned with the communication of new scientific research and other news of HFML towards the media and the general - non- scientific - public. Regarding EMFL, I write news articles, which are published on the EMFL website and in the EMFL News, such as items for this ‘Meetour-People’ section. For EMFL News I work together with Caroline.

Where do you come from?

Caroline: I am originally from North Rhine-Westphalia/West Germany but I live in Dresden/East Germany for several years now. I really like the city and the landscape of Saxony. Especially the Saxon Switzerland is a natural paradise to go hiking and climbing. I can highly recommend everybody to visit this region.

Harriëtte: After living in Utrecht for several years, I recently moved back to Nijmegen. Unlike Utrecht, Nijmegen is a small and intimate city right near the German border. It is the city where I  did the first part of my studies, so being back again evokes some nostalgic feelings.

What is your professional background?

Caroline: Before I started my job at HZDR, I worked at the BASF Schwarzheide GmbH. There, I was in charge of public relations and internal communication. I did my Master’s Degree in „Culture & Management“ at the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz. I received my Bachelor’s degree in „Sciences of literature, culture and language for Spanish and German“ at the Technical University of Dresden. During my studies I worked at the department of communications at Siemens AG and gained a lot of experience in the fi eld of public relations and marketing.

Harriëtte: After I’ve graduated with a Master’s degree in Neurobiology, I started working as a science journalist at the Dutch national science radio and television program ‘De Kennis van Nu’. Several years later, I currently have actually three positions as a Science Communication offi cer at the Radboud University: I work at the HFML, at the FELIX Laboratory, which is a free-electron laser laboratory and located right next to the HFML, and I also work at the Donders Institute, a neuroscience research institute. In these jobs, I inform the media on new science results, support researchers with their media appearances, and organize open days and other events for the general public.

What do you like about your job here?

Caroline: I really like the fact that I am surrounded by scientists who admire the things they are doing. It is very interesting to learn something new every day. Since I don’t have a scientific background, it is even more exciting to get an inside view to thisworking field.

Harriëtte: The high complexity of the technology necessary for creating the high magnetic fi elds at HFML fascinates me immensely. Since I do not have a background in physics, I still need to learn a lot about the science behind all the research at HFML. But I am convinced that I will fi nd my way, with some help of the researchers at HFML.

What is important for you regarding the fact that you work in an international team?

Caroline: I think it is a big privilege to work in such an international work area. The most important thing for me is that the tasks are clear and that you can rely on your team members. Of course all of us have a different cultural background. But in my opinion that makes it even more exciting. Since Harriëtte and I are working together on the EMFL News, I really hope I can meet her in person someday. This hasn‘t happened yet, but it anyway works just fine.

Harriëtte: When walking through the corridors at HFML, you hear a wide variety of languages spoken. The fact that both the visitors as the in-house researchers are so international creates a very nice and open atmosphere. Furthermore, I like to collaborate with people from other magnetic field labs in Europe, such as Caroline regarding the EMFL News, and see how things are done over there.

If you are not in the office, where do we find you?

Caroline: If I am not in the offi ce, you can either find me sitting at the sewing machine or doing outdoor activities. In my spare time I really like to do creative work like sewing and wood-work. Besides that I like to go hiking in the woods, traveling to different countries, or do biking trips. A good book gives me the chance to relax and to enjoy Sunday afternoons.

Harriëtte: When I am not in the offi ce, you can fi nd me either in the cinema or hanging on a climbing wall. Nijmegen is a nice city for these activities, since it has a very nice arthouse cinema and a brand-new indoor climbing wall. However, when I have the chance, I would like to do more outdoor climbing in more mountainous areas.