Felipe Cicaroni Fernandes – Standing for the position of Director of Membership Activities
Current Career Status: PhD Student
Institution: University of Warwick
Location: Coventry, UK
Country of Origin: Brazil
Background: I am currently a 3rd year PhD student in the Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing Group, WMG, University of Warwick. I have been seduced by sustainability since my first experience as an undergraduate researcher in 2010 when I worked in the area of conductive polymers for photovoltaic applications. Currently, I am working on the boundaries between Chemistry and Engineering through the elaboration of green composites using bio-based epoxy resins derived from waste cooking oil and reinforced with flax fibres. I have always been passionate about how the concepts of green chemistry can be translated into other disciplines, particularly in Materials Science and Polymer Engineering. During my free time, I practice Judo and I found it an excellent way to relieve stress, develop focus, disciple and improve my health. I have competed in local tournaments (no significant results yet, I am afraid), and I am hoping to be upgraded from green to blue belt in the next couple of months.
Statement of Interest:
My first contact with NESSE was last year at the ACS GC&E in Portland, OR. In this occasion, I immediately recognized the potential of such initiative and realised that this was the community I was looking for since I began my involvement with sustainability. When I came back to the UK, it was clear in my mind that I had to get involved with NESSE and find ways to contribute and strengthen this cause. I started spreading new about such unique network, and something began to germinate here at the University of Warwick. Since then, I have been working together with an amazing team on the creation of a Sustainable Science Group at our home university, and we are close to start promoting our first set of activities. Whilst motivated to help NESSE by transforming the SSG at Warwick into a reality, I also identify in the opportunity of acting as Director of Membership Activities the perfect chance to devote more of my time into two things I am passionate about: sustainability and supporting people.
I am highly motivated to plan, elaborate and execute creative activities that will not only increase the number of members affiliated to NESSE but also enhance their experience as members of the largest global network of early career researchers in sustainable sciences so they can make the most of it. If elected, I hope to contribute by developing more unique ways in which the members can interact, collaborate and be nourished into a more prosperous and successful career in sustainability. I plan to support NESSE and the member of the network through the following activities:
a) Elaboration of career development focused activities: i) Online events through the development of webinars with successful professionals working in the area of sustainability (academically and/or industrially) or on the development of transferable skills. ii) Events in collaboration with conferences and workshops such as panel discussions aimed for early-career researchers. iii) Independent events with the same aims. The objective of these activities will be to help NESSE members to identify and sharpen the professional skills demanded by the area of sustainability.
Regarding experiences that might contribute towards my role as Director of Membership Activities, I have participated in a number of team-based activities in public engagement and science communication that tought me a number of crucial aspects regarding team working. My first experience was during my Master’s Degree, back at the University of Campinas (Brazil), by running outreach activities about polymer recycling and extrusion. I also had the chance of successfully organising together with some members of my research group a Summer School in Sustainable Development during my first year as PhD. In sequence, I had the opportunity to oragnise the department conference. I was elected as conference chair and was responsible for overseeing a team of 9 people and a budget of approximately £7000. Our combined efforts resulted in an increase of about 40% in the number of attendees and 100% in the number of posters.
More recently, I have been supporting the Outreach Team in my department by running an activity call “Egg Tower”, in which students from Years 4-8 learn about light-weight materials and crash structures. Finally, I have been working as Post-Graduate Mentor together with the PG Community Experience Team. My duties are to provide pastoral support and advice for postgraduate students through an online platform and face-to-face meetings.
In total, I participated in three events organised by NESSE over the past year: the ACS GC&E 2016 social, Science for Sustainable Development: Early-Career Leaders Day (December 2016) and the panel discussion organised at ISGC 2017. The combination of these three event provided me with a clear picture of the values of NESSE as an organisation and were clear demonstrations of the passion and commitment of the Exec members. I am confident that these previous experiences will help me in the organisation of future actions that will benefit the network.