Candidates for the 2021 Board

Find out who is running (so far) for the new DION board and DION president positions. It is still possible to announce your candidacy, see more information here.

DION Board Candidates

Alicia Vallejo-Olivares

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Materials Engineering, studying the recyclability of aluminium food packaging. I come originally from Spain, and I first lived in Trondheim as an exchange student back in 2015. I then fell in love with the Scandinavian nature and lifestyle, which led me to undertake a masters degree in Sweden, and finally come back to Trondheim in 2020 to embark on this exciting and challenging PhD journey.

As the covid-19 pandemic slowed down both my private and professional life a year ago, I became more aware of the importance of organisations as DION. Especially now, I try to grab every opportunity to socialise, network or develop as both researcher and science communicator. A month ago, I organised a meditation workshop financed by DION. I am also involved in the Pint of Science Festival organisation, which will be held in Trondheim in May. Regarding my Norwegian level (hopefully, my colleagues agree), I can make myself understood and understand most (if dialects and speed allow) of what is discussed around the lunch table.

If I am chosen, I would be glad to be a board member of DION during 2021 and do my best to support the rights and improve the work environment and growth opportunities of the temporary staff at NTNU.

Amanda Holstad Singleton

My name is Amanda Holstad Singleton and I am a PhD candidate at the Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine studying antibiotics and bacterial stress responses. I first moved to Trondheim in 2015 to study biotechnology at NTNU. After completing my master’s degree in June 2020, I got the exciting opportunity to start a PhD at the Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine.

The past year has been tough for everyone, especially if starting a new position where opportunities to network and socialize with your colleagues have been limited. The connections and friendships formed at work are critical for engagement, productivity, and feeling valued. Organizations like DION are very important, especially in a time like this when it is already challenging to meet new people, both at work and socially. Starting my PhD in the middle of the pandemic, I know how hard it can be meeting new people and building a network. Because of this experience, I would like to be part of the team that supports and represents the interests of doctoral candidates, post-docs, and temporary scientific employees, and hopefully, help prevent too many new employees from feeling lost. I am fluent in both Norwegian and English, and thus will be able to reach out to all NTNU employees whose interests are promoted by DION.

If chosen to serve on the board of DION, I would do my best to help create a platform for doctoral candidates, post-docs, and temporary scientific employees to interact and have their voices heard by NTNU. Hopefully, the DION board will be able to organize more exciting events in the future, both online and in person.

Gabriela Kazimiera Warden

Hello! My name is Gabriela and I am a PhD candidate at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. My PhD-work is related to quartz crucibles used for silicon production for PV-applications. I was born and raised in Poland, but I moved to Norway as a teenager back in 2011. I did my high school years in Bergen (unfortunately, I did not inherit the bergensk dialect), and then came to Trondheim to study Materials Science and Engineering, which I fell in love with.

I started my PhD in November 2020, and have since then taken two courses, spent a lot of hours in the lab and read tons of articles. However, the social aspect of my work has not been a great part of my daily life. This is why I decided to join DION. I see it as a possibility of gaining new exciting experience, meeting new people and at the same time doing something valuable for others in the same situation. Even though Norway is considered to be a paradise for doing your PhD, there still exist some challenges that I would like to work with during my time as a board member, if elected.  I think my biggest motivation for joining the board is the mental health aspect of doing a PhD, which is, in my opinion, very often neglected and/or downplayed.

I would be very glad to join the DION board and work for the well-being of all temporary scientific employees at NTNU.

Martin Brattmyr

My name is Martin, and I would like to apply for the position as a board member. I am a clinical psychologist, doing my PhD at department of psychology at Dragvoll. This is my 2nd out of 4 years, researching psychiatric outpatient treatment for adults. I’m currently deputy for representing temporaries at the institute board, and got previous experience with board work, amongst other as chairman for a local union for psychologists in Västmanland, Sweden.

Being temporary employed, we are implied to accept a great deal of uncertainty. This is of course a huge contributing factor for stress and other mental health issues. The current situation with Covid-19 has not only contributed to this, but it has disclosed other factors that makes us exposed for hazards, amongst other work enironment problems. I regard it as important to adress potentially harmful psychosocial factors, to also shed light on protective factors and role models at NTNU. Therefore, as a running board member, I would amongst others serve for a mental health perspective for temporaries.

I am looking forward to see you all at the next board meeting.

Olga Cherepkova

My name is Olga. I am in the first year of my PhD, working at the Colorlab in the department of Computer Science in Gjøvik on the topic related to Image Quality Assessment. I did my Master’s under Erasmus Joint Degree Program with specialization in “Colour in Science and Industry”, which allowed me to visit and live in beautiful different places and get in touch with the people of diverse cultures. It was an exciting experience, which brought me to Gjøvik for the first time in 2016, where I have spent almost a year. In January 2021 I came back here in Norway to continue research in a PhD.  I am happy to be here again and love Gjøvik with all my heart. At the same time, I feel the need to participate in social life and get the opportunities to meet new people and stay in touch, as community plays an important role in healthy and fulfilling living, especially in a small city, and while working on a personal research project, which does not give many ways to connect with other people (especially when the situation is exacerbated by today’s conditions). Community brings us back together, allowing to get to know each other’s culture, story, and background, makes us feel connected, supports during difficult times, and gives a feeling that you are not alone, as we are all going through similar processes. Its role cannot be overestimated.

I am still in the process of discovering Gjøvik and believe that there is much more to find out. I feel that the mix of diverse cultures is very concentrated here, which gives a unique opportunity to be a part of this international environment and to look at the world with the eyes of a person of a different mindset. I would love to share my experiences exploring this cozy town and together with the DION team to find more opportunities to connect us all together, to create for NTNU researchers, employees, and their families more beautiful moments to share together and to enjoy your stay here, regardless of what you are working on back in the lab, if you just came here and feel a bit lost or if you have been living here for years. I hope that the DION group team will be well-balanced to be able to create and organize exciting activities more efficiently in each city: Trondheim, Ålesund, and Gjøvik. 

Regina Matveeva

My name is Regina and I am a first-year PhD Candidate in chemistry, working in the field of theoretical chemistry. Originally I come from a Russian city called Samara, which is located at the beautiful Volga river. After high school graduation I moved to Germany, where I studied chemistry in the gorgeous college town, Heidelberg. During my master studies I had a unique opportunity to work on a number of research projects in different areas of chemistry, from homogeneous catalysis to bio-organic chemistry. One of these projects I conducted at NTNU in Trondheim and I was fascinated by the work-life balance and the international working environment. So I decided to come back to start the marathon called a PhD, three months ago.

Throughout my time in Heidelberg, I have been involved in extracurricular activities as a member of a student’s body and as a participant of an interdisciplinary academic work and exchange series called “Kolleg Europa”. The goal of “Kolleg Europa” was to promote an international dialogue on European issues among the students from different countries. As a consequence, I am not only an experienced team-player, but I am also used to taking on responsibility.

Due to the current situation, I wasn’t able to be socially active that much last year and I noticed how much I missed it. That’s why I jumped at the chance and applied straight away, when I saw the call for DION Board members for 2021. I think the work of organizations like DION is very important because it not only represents the interests of PhDs, post-docs and temporary academic stuff, but also actively interacts with them through various social events and thus creates memories. DION is a place where I could contribute all the experience that I gained so far and together with other members make NTNU an even more attractive work environment for temporary academic stuff. If elected, I would also be happy to work with others members to develop ideas for more activities that could bring us together despite the current situation, so that we still will have some positive memories despite these difficult times. 

Wolf Ludwig Kuhn

Hei! My name is Ludwig, and I really don’t know why my parents decided to put another name before my commonly used first name. Anyways, I am a PhD student at the department of Energy and Process Engineering, IV-faculty at NTNU. My project is about degassing air-supersaturated water within hydropower plants by using power ultrasound, and explaining that in detail takes usually a couple of minutes. Although the project is interdisciplinary, my educational background is engineering science, and I hold a M.Sc. from the Technical University of Berlin, which is roughly the place I grew up as well. I came to Trondheim to write my Master’s Thesis in the fall 2018, and got stuck with the great city and the beautiful Norwegian nature. After a year as scientific assistant, I started the PhD at the Waterpower Laboratory.

As I foreigner, I know of the hassles and difficulties regarding the start-up phase at NTNU and the integration process into the Norwegian society. This helps me to give feedback and indicating points of improvement. Furthermore, I have been volunteering since my school time, where I was participating and partly leading a group against racism (“School without racism – school with courage”). During my studies, I was engaged in the organization and implementation of the introduction week for new students within my line of studies. Nowadays, I am treasurer and board member within NTNUI Rumpeldunk.

For the DION board, I would bring the experience from former volunteering as well as a great motivation to organize social activities, which most of us had a shortage of due to the Corona pandemic. I am also very interested in communicating with the NTNU board and make useful changes for all temporary employees at NTNU.

Celebrating Spring Equinox with a Bonfire

Spring is slowly taking over Norway. With this occasion, DION invites PhDs, PostDocs, and temporary staff at NTNU Gjøvik and their family members for an outdoor gathering next Wednesday afternoon (the 24th of March). There will be a cozy bonfire, together with hot beverages, light snacks, and good company. The event will take place at Organisasjonskollektivet, the black house on the small hill just beside G-building.

Please register here.

DION statement on NTNU’s funding of open access publishing

On January 6th, 2021, NTNU library announced that it would no longer be possible to apply for support for open access from NTNU’s publishing fund. No warning or prior announcement were made, leaving many temporary scientific employees with limited options when it came to the work they had submitted or were about to submit to a publication which publication cost (APC) was formerly covered by this fund. Meanwhile, no extension or increase of quotas have been negotiated as part of the UNIT agreement, to compensate for the loss of support from the NTNU publishing fund.  

While some faculties or departments are exploring solutions to replace the support provided by the NTNU publishing fund, other are unable to do so, leaving the cost of open access publishing to the employee, their project budget or their supervisors. It should also be noted under Plan S, many temporary scientific employees not only want to publish in open access but have to, under the funding their position is based. Moreover, due to the nature of their contract (e.g. PhD thesis) many temporary scientific employees have to get their work published in the near future and cannot afford any delays (e.g. having to withdraws and re-submit or wait for a new funding mechanism to be created next year).  

DION is greatly concerned about the inequalities between employees, departments and faculties this situation is leading to, and the risk it presents to employees whose thesis or contract depends on having their work published within the year. Therefore, DION urges NTNU faculties, NTNU board and the prorector for research to act: 

  • In the short term, DION urges NTNU to ensure equitable funding solutions for 2021 for temporary scientific employees publishing in open access publications formerly covered by the NTNU publishing fund. 
  • In the long term, DION calls on NTNU to build and extend sustainable mechanisms and agreements to support open access publishing amongst temporary scientific employees.