Sofia's 2 months at the Chunlei Guo China–US Photonics Laboratory

Sofia Charlotte Maurina  from Italy had the opportunity to come to the Chunlei Guo China–US Photonics Laboratory (GPL) just one year after its inauguration. This gave her the possibility to observe, learn directly in the research field and assist the structuring of a scientific laboratory.

She said what first caught her attention was how young this new situation felt: not only regarding the age of professors, students and staff, which is impressive itself, but also thoughts, actions and the actual research approach.

Professors guide research projects up close, interacting with students, monitoring progress, while being supportive, but maintaining their distinct role; students help each other in different fields and work together to achieve their goals. Everybody contributes in generating an atmosphere that is creative, fresh, yet productive and professional.

She also do believe what makes this laboratory so avant-garde, besides the advanced equipment, is the people that have joined it. They make the difference. They made the difference for her.

Now she's an undergraduate Italian student and, when she first arrived to Changchun, I had no research background and no Chinese knowledge (which she still does not have). At the time, she did not realize that, without basic Chinese language, she could not do common daily things. she did not realize English could be useless in accomplishing daily tasks. She said "I found myself totally off guard, with no independence. I do not know what I would have done without the people of this lab."



Sofia with the staff and students in GPL (Left three, photo by CIOMP)


Everyone in this lab works incredibly hard and together: they team up and help each other when needed, maintain their integrity and their personal aim and goals. They have specific tasks to achieve, which they pursue with passion and devotion. They respect lab rules and roles, keeping a healthy stimulating environment, sharing anything, respecting everybody’s space. They believe in what they do and simply love research, dedicating their life to it.

Among all their duties and deadlines, they gave her their undivided attention. They dedicated her their time, both in the research field and in daily life. They guided her through her learning process: she was free to try, maybe fail, then allowed to correct her mistakes. They gave her advice, they ordered food for her . They introduced her to their taste, their traditions and culture. They took care of herin every possible way.

She learned that in China, in an academic environment, among the universally recognized roles such as professors, assistant professors, PhD and master students, interns and so on, there are traditional roles as well: a colleague with a higher degree would be a Shi-Xiong or Shi-Jie; a colleague with a lower degree would be Shi-Dì or Shi-Meì. The prefix Shi is associated to the academic world, while the second part of the word stands for family members: older brother, older sister, younger brother and younger sister respectively.

In her permanence at the Lab she learned that every single person working in it lives up perfectly to both the academic role, as much as the traditional one. As for her, her experience, well, she felt a ShI-Meì(younger sister).



Sofia attended the 10th CIOMP Sports Meet(photo by CIOMP)



Sofia Charlotte Maurina   

Sofia Charlotte Maurina, born in Milan, Italy. An Engineering undergraduate student, from the Politecnico di Milano, majoring in Physics, mostly in laser and nano-technology studies. She spent the summer of 2017 in the Chunlei Guo China-US Photonic Laboratory at CIOMP in the area of "Femtosecond Laser Processing". She carried out a study of laser-induced crystal growth during her intern, which will be the main topic of her undergraduate thesis.


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