Salja is studying Chemistry at the Chemistry Academy Graz and has been our summer intern for several weeks now, supporting our colleagues in the Design for Technology Development (DfTD) area. We caught up with her at the end of her internship to learn more about her experience at BNN.
Salja, we are so happy you chose BNN to do your summer internship. Can you tell us why you chose BNN?
Salja: When I encountered your website, I was particularly drawn to BNN’s role as a non-profit research organization committed to supporting safety, quality, and sustainability aspects already during the development phases of new technologies. In addition to your focus on sustainability, I was impressed by your commitment to equity and inclusion, emphasized in your ‘Gender Equality Plan’ on the website. This not only spoke of a respectful working environment but also highlighted your maturity as an organization. Finally, your expertise in nanotechnologies and commitment to keeping members informed about nanomaterial regulations stood out as a learning opportunity for me.
Describe a typical day at the office for you.
Salja: A typical day at the office consisted of performing desk research. For example, to map the Austrian and international nanomedical community, I was researching specific and identifying their key expertise. My task was to collect this information to foster new networking opportunities. I also spent time on miscellaneous research tasks, such as helping to write reports and delving into topics such as Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design chemicals and materials. In addition, I attended meetings to grasp the discussions and dynamics within EU projects, and occasionally reviewed and commented on project reports. Learning played a significant role – I completed an online course on EU nanomaterials’ legislation and watched recorded and live webinars to further expand my knowledge.
What was the most interesting task you did here?
Salja: I enjoyed the opportunity to constantly learn about new technologies. The dynamic nature of the work made it engaging. One of the standout tasks was delving into chemical regulations. After attending a course I summarized the subject, deepening my understanding on what I learned.
What have you learned from BNN that you will take with you along your career path?
Salja: Communication has stood out as a crucial element, and I realized that without it, progress in any aspect is hindered. Furthermore, it was enlightening to see how far we still need to go concerning the health and safety aspects of nano-related issues. Additionally, I’ve understood the necessity of being continually updated with State-of-the-Art research and regulatory requirements, especially when considering bringing new technologies to the market, given that regulations aren’t a standard part of most curriculums in schools/universities.
Your internship is coming to an end soon. What are your next steps?
Salja: Following the final exams at the Chemistry Academy Graz, I hope to find a position that allows me to apply and expand upon the skills and insights I’ve gained at BNN.