Technically I started to make doll houses when I was very very very young. I was always playing with houses in some way.
I never played with dolls I played with the houses.
So now this is more of a grown up thing and it's still kind of a game to just play dollhouse.
Of course it's more about the house itself, it's the decoration, it's the creating, it's the, you know, the materials, how to be the right ones.
The scale has to be right the right one. I came to Wageningen University, I chose that program because it was Urban Environmental Management, with a program on Sustainable Building.
That was very interesting for me, that was what my thesis in Mexico was about. And I knew that the Netherlands everything about sustainability and sustainable building was really advanced.
So I contacted the OTB Research Institute and to see if they could have space for me to do-- to see if they had a place for me to do my internship. And after that they offered me to stay as a PhD student.
The main conclusion of my thesis, which was based on statistical analysis of large data sets in the Netherlands, was that even when we are building more efficient energy-efficient buildings in the Netherlands and Europe, the energy demand is not really reduced that much or as expected because of the influence of occupants in the buildings.
So there's some things called the rebound effect, it's very known, that means when you have more energy-efficient house you think that you can heat it longer or higher because it's an efficient house, right. So that means that the energy is going to rebound.
The energy use. That was my conclusion, that it's not a good enough regulations, we also need to study people and to help people how to use in a better way their own houses. I was in Academia sometimes, most of the time you see for yourself, you have to develop your own career, you have a career, you have to publish, you have to apply for grants.
But it's always, almost all the time, for your own career, for the sake of your own career. And at research I really have to learn to work with my colleagues, and to understand that it's not I'm working by myself, but I'm working with them. And I have to learn to take advantage of what they already know.
So if I have a doubt, I don't have to go and try to find it out on the internet, I can just go to my colleague next door and ask. But at the end I am going to always be Mexican, so I bring things from there.
I think the way that I express it mostly nowadays is through my ceramic, one of my hobbies. I think that I'm inspired by Mexican artisans in the way I do my own pieces. So for example, this is, I call it Catineja,
It's my masterpiece. It's inspired by Catrinas in Mexico, these are figures that represent the death. They don't normally have a rabbit head but a normal head. But they are very common around the Day of the Dead in Mexico.
My advice to PhDs or to phD students right now would be to not be scared of making the wrong decision. Sometimes very often we hear, "oh if you go to Academia, you stay in Academia, you won't be able to go to the industry later on or vice versa and that sounds very true.
I think that's very-- as long as you are a bit flexible and keep your eyes open I think you can always find something very interesting and you can even shift back to Academia again if you want to. I think you shouldn't be scared of making your own decisions because at the end of the experience is what it comes.
My name is Olivia Guerra-Santin, I am a grant advisor and project manager at the Unireserach.