Candidates for DION Board 2023

DION is extremely pleased to introduce the candidates for the board 2023. The following candidates have shown interest and enthusiasm to run for DION president/vice president and board positions. We would like to remind you that it is still possible to announce your candidacy. You just need to fill out this form. You can even step forward as a candidate during AGM!

Candidate for DION President / vice president:

Diana Giovanni Magnano

PhD Candidate, Department of International Business, Ålesund

Short biography:

Diana is 26 and she is half Italian and half Ethiopia. In her culture, there is a strong value of family, friends, history, and food. She believes that family, culture, and her overall life experience has shaped her personality traits to be bubbly, funny, and outgoing. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, meeting new people, hiking, and enjoying good food, beer, and live theatre.  She is PHD candidate at the department of international business at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Ålesund, Norway. I completed a second cycle studies in international business and marketing specialization in innovation and entrepreneurship at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Ålesund, Norway. My PHD is part of the “Sweet Spot Project” which is an interdisciplinary collaboration to identify the primary sources and hot-spot areas of plastic pollution in Norwegian waters. My research focus is on circular business models for firms involved in marine plastic management.


My motivation of joining the DION board 2023 as a president/vice president is to represent and work hard on behave of the temporary staff to make sure that voices are heard as everyone’s voice matters. I believe that true success is only achieved when different ideas are taken into consideration. I will work to create the platform for the temporary staff to contribute their opinions about how to make our work environment and community better places to thrive in.  At the end of the day, these are only possible when there is an openness to listen, a willingness to collaborate, a passion for others and a commitment to a shared vision. These are all core values that I would like to espouse if I get the chance to represent the temporary staff in the DION board 2023.

Behnam Balouchi

Postdoctoral Fellow and lecturer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Trondheim

Short biography:

I have had postdoc and lecturer positions at NTNU, Trondheim since 2020. I am working in the hydraulic group and supervising some master students at NTNU. I have experience working in various universities and international teams. These opportunities helped me to be trained in my skills in the explanation of intellectual concepts and help me certainly to have effective communication with other people in some international teams. Therefore, I understand the challenges related to temporary employees in an international environment like NTNU very well. In addition, I have wide experience in managing and cooperating with various associations or organizations since 2007. For instance, I cooperated with other associations related to NTNU such as DION, IAHR-YPN, and ISAAN. I am the digital content manager of IAHR- YPN (young professional network) which is the most famous association related to water engineering in the world. My interests and expertise in nature or outdoor activities, all the above-mentioned experiences, and the unsolved problems of temporary employees at NTNU encourage me to nominate myself as a candidate for the president/vice president and board member of DION.


I have worked in a temporary position at NTNU since 2020. Therefore, I understand the challenges related to temporary employees at NTNU very well. In some points, I feel I can help DION to have some interesting events for temporary employees after work, and in some points, I feel that I should do something to improve the work conditions of temporary staff at NTNU. This is the reason that I had a strong connection with other associations and organizations of NTNU such as DION in previous years. Now, I see that there are some serious unsolved problems that I should talk about it with a loud and clear voice to show that DION is not just for the spare time of temporary staff. WE NEED REAL ACTION, and I hope I can do it.

In addition, I really like to improve our knowledge of various cultures and especially the Norwegian culture as an international work environment. So, I have a high motivation to have some culture base events in the future. In addition, I have good experience having indoor or outdoor activities, which motivates me to work as a team at DION to improve the freshness and happiness in our work environment.

Gabriela Kazimiera Warden

PhD Candidate, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Trondheim

Short biography:

I am a PhD candidate in Materials Science, working on optimization of fused quartz crucibles used in production of monocrystalline silicon for solar cells. I graduated from the 5-year Materials Science and Engineering program at NTNU in 2020 and started my PhD the same year. I am originally from Poland, but moved to Norway when I was 16, which has given me the valuable perspective of always being “in between”- which creates a good basis for appreciating the two cultures (and criticizing them, if needed!).

Throughout my master’s and PhD-time, I’ve been on two research stays outside of Norway (Italy and Germany), both of which have given me valuable experiences and skills, that I would like to use in the board position.


My motivation to join the DION board is to take care of the interests of temporary employees at NTNU. As a diverse group, we have specific needs, opinions and ideas, and I would like to facilitate all the different voices to be heard. I appreciate the work that DION as an organization is doing, and I would like to become a part of it.

Candidates for DION Board:

Fei Song

PhD Candidate, Faculty of Engineering, Trondheim

Short biography:

I am a PhD working with marine ecosystem and have been active in many student organization, such as NTNU Ocean Club and NTNUI diving group. In the NTNUI diving group, I was the coordinator of voluntary work; and in NTNU Ocean Club, I was leader of project group “Ocean Experience” and Head of Communication. I really enjoy being part of organization and contribute to its growth.


Joining DION would be an incredible opportunity to not only be a part of a thriving community of PhD students but also to contribute to an organization that has already had such a positive impact on my PhD life. Having attended many events organized by DION, I have been thoroughly impressed with the level of organization, engagement, and support provided to students; in addition, many workshop/seminar prove to be useful and relevant for my PhD later, such as the mental health seminar i November. As such, I am eager to become a member and to help further the organization’s mission by contributing my own ideas and skills. I believe that joining DION would not only allow me to grow personally and professionally, but also to make a meaningful impact on the PhD community at large.

Shubham Jain

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Computer Science, IE, Trondheim

Short biography:

I am a Post-Doctoral Fellow at IDI working with “Extended-Reality” technologies. I joined NTNU in August 2022 to manage the “XR-NET” laboratory/network at IDI. I am originally from India and have lived in Thailand, France, Germany, and Austria throughout my education. My research expertise is in digital technologies, and how they can be deployed in different contexts.


Since my interests are aligned with collaborative research, being a board member can bring up great insights on to networking and collaboration between researchers at NTNU, and give a chance to reflect on them. Further, being the interim Chair of the Marie Curie Alumni Association Norway Chapter, DION can be a great resource of information to organize activities and events in collaboration.

Gabriel Andy Szalkowski

PhD Candidate, Department of Information Security and Communication Technology, IE, Gjøvik

Short biography:

Hey there, nice to meet you! I’m Gabriel, a theoretical physicist turned Digital Economist and Sustainability researcher. I know, it’s not the most obvious career transition, but I’ve always been driven by curiosity, exploring new things, and a desire to make a positive impact on the World around me. Growing up in a multicultural household has definitely shaped my worldview and given me a peculiar perspective on things. My parents are Polish with some Belarussian roots, but I was born and raised in Spain. So, I guess you could say I’m a bit of a cultural cocktail! As for hobbies, I’m a bit of a chameleon. I love nothing more than a deep conversation over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that’s your thing), but I’m equally at home at a big, loud music festival. I’ve actually volunteered at organizing several editions of the Basowiszcza festival, so I know my way around a mosh pit!

I would say I truly love learning, both about the World and the Universe, and about the people around me. I firmly believe that everybody has a story to tell, and I will listen to anyone that wants to tell theirs.

In terms of organizational experience, I’ve also worked with a charitable initiative in Valencia, Spain, where I helped with planning, fundraising, and delivering food to families in need. It was incredibly rewarding work, as it gave me a chance to use my skills to make a tangible difference in people’s lives.


For me, DION is an incredible initiative. Being a participant in DION’s activities has been a wonderful opportunity to meet people, learn and have a good time. After a year with all of you, it is my turn to give back to the community, by becoming a member of DION’s board.

What do I mean by that? Talking from my own experience, starting a PhD can be scary, confusing and lonely, especially in the beginning, but together with DION we can make it less so. I see DION as a bridge that connects us, early stage researchers, from different faculties and departments, different backgrounds, and from all over the world, to help us deal with those aspects that are often overlooked in our work life. From Mental Health workshops to social and cultural events, we have had many valuable initiatives this past year. We will continue in that direction, and especially at a local level. Last year, only about 27% of DION events were held in Gjøvik. I believe we can do better, by building upon past initiatives and proposing more social and career-building events (like the “Pitch your Research” and “Vision Engineering” workshops held in Trondheim). I am committed to contributing to building this bridge of ours, DION, which helps us pave our way through the road of our PhDs. Thank you for considering me as a candidate for the DION board.

Davit Gigilashvili

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Computer Science, IE, Gjøvik

Short biography:

Davit Gigilashvili received his BSc degree in Information Technologies from the University of Georgia (2015), MSc in Color and Applied Computer Science from Jean Monnet University, University of Granada, and NTNU (2017), and PhD in Computer Science also from NTNU (2021). Currently he is a postdoctoral researcher at NTNU’s Department of Computer Science in Gjøvik. His research interests include visual perception of appearance and virtual reconstruction of cultural heritage. During his PhD, he has served as a DION board member for two terms in 2018-2020.


I served as a DION board member from Gjøvik campus back in 2018-2020. Being a DION board member has been not only a nice memory, but also one of the most rewarding experiences from my PhD at NTNU. Now I want to bring my experience back to DION – this time as a postdoc. As a postdoc and as a representative of a smaller Gjøvik campus, I believe I will broaden board’s perspective on the interests, rights, and wellbeing of the temporary scientific staff. And I have exciting ideas for activities too that I’m very much looking forward to realizing – to improve my colleagues’ mental wellbeing and simply have fun together! I love board games, quiz games, hiking, photography, arts, and of course, pizza – so you can guess… 😉

Mobina Mobini

PhD Candidate, Department of Computer Science, IE, Gjøvik

Short biography:

Mobina Mobini is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at NTNU, Gjøvik, Norway. Her research is focused on understanding the influence of content on image quality assessment. She completed her M.Sc. in Computer Science at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences, Zanjan, Iran, where she conducted research on full-reference image quality assessment. Mobina has also worked as a teaching assistant in Expert Systems and as an adult English teacher.

As a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at NTNU, Gjøvik, I am highly motivated to contribute to the academic community and support the professional development of fellow colleagues. I believe that serving on the DION board will provide me with a unique opportunity to gain valuable leadership experience, broaden my perspectives, and contribute to the improvement of my academic life at NTNU. Moreover, I am excited about the prospect of working with a team of highly motivated individuals who share a passion for academic and mental excellence. I am confident that my background in Computer Science, my experience as a teaching assistant, and my communication skills make me a strong candidate for the position. I am committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in academic settings and to ensuring that the voices of all DION members are heard. Thank you for considering my application. I am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to the success of DION and to make a meaningful impact on the academic community at NTNU.

Øyvind Eikrem

Research fellow

Short biography:

Dr. polit, cand. psychol., cand. philol. 25 years experience in higher education in Norway and abroad. Former dean, head of department, visiting prof. (Fulbright, Uni. Minnesota).


Wanting to take care of the interests of temporary employees at the NTNU.

Yue Yu

PhD Candidate, Department of Physics, Trondheim

Short biography and Motivation:

My name is Yue Yu and I am a PhD student from Department of Physics, Trondheim. I have lived in Trondheim for 4 years, and I know the city very well from the angle as a new resident and a parent. I benefit a lot from DION’s activities, and I would love to make contributions as well.

Anastasia Skarpeti

PhD Candidate, Department of Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering, Ålesund

Short biography and Motivation:

My name is Anastasia Skarpetki, I come from Greece, and I work in the Department of Maritime Operations at the engineering faculty. I was a DION board member from 2022 to 2023. I have many interests, such as yoga, climbing, mountaineering, and running. Last year I organised DION events on campus Ålesund, such as yoga for stress and release, board game evening, språkafe, and created a TEAM channel to connect all the PhD, postdoc, and temporary staff in Ålesund to facilitate our communication. My plan is to continue working to connect people and improve our working life. Events that I will be happy to organize are the “Soft skills” and also an event to inform about the possibilities of exchange and funding.