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3rd ZHM Summer School

ZHM 3rd Summer School 2019 Group Picture

Photo: HZG/S. Jördens

From 13 to 17 May 2019, the Summer School of the Graduate School for Materials Science took place at Bildungs- und Tagungszentrum Tannenfelde.

Experience report

Hi, I am Khausik Narasimhan. I am in my second year of my PhD in Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht. I have attended two ZHM summer schools and one ZHM symposia so far. The ZHM summer schools have been a great experience. I would like to highlight three main aspects of the summer school.

Non-technical key competencies: Competencies such as scientific writing, presentation skills, time management, etc are very important for a doctoral student. Not only for a career in academia, these skills can be handy even for a non-academic career path. The ZHM summer schools are designed in such a way with various workshop options to choose from, which is suitable for students in different phases of their PhD. For example, project management, time management for first year students, poster presentation, scientific writing for second year students and career management, stress management for students who are about to finish their PhD. Therefore, I think it is better to attend ZHM summer schools more than once during the PhD. Sometimes we might have a chance to meet a trainer from the previous year and have a word about how we’ve implemented the techniques learned in their workshop. It is worth investing time for developing these skills.

Social and scientific networking: The ZHM summer school is the best way to make new friends. For me, it was very hard in the beginning to find some friend outside my department until I attended my first ZHM summer school. Apart from making friends, it helps to get to know fellow scientists who work on topics that are similar or related to ours. This paves the way for a constructive discussion to develop our work and provides a chance to a get feedback on our work. It is very important to know what other people are doing in other departments.

Motivation and rejuvenation: I never miss a ZHM summer school mainly because of the feeling I get after attending it. I feel rejuvenated and motivated at the end of a week-long workshop. Amidst workshop-sessions, we have time for relaxation and other activities like sports and games. It provides a good break from hectic routine, lets us slow down, and facilitates self-reflection.

I highly recommend the PhD students to attend these summer schools to make the most out of their doctoral studies.

Text by Khausik Narasimhan, PhD candidate