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CERN Alumni: Two years of creating links

The CERN alumni map in Restaurant 1
(Image: Laure Esteveny/CERN)

A huge CERN alumni map has been installed to celebrate CERN Alumni Day and the second anniversary of the launch of the network. Over the past week, the Office of Alumni Relations has been busy indicating where our large community of alumni are located across the globe and pinning their well-wishes on the board.

In two years, the network has now grown to more than 4500 members spanning all parts of the world, as is evident from the messages displayed on the CERN Alumni map. For instance, one alumnus, Gottfried Kellner, former group leader in the ECP department, writes, “Greetings from Ua Pou, part of the Marquesas Islands in the Pacific Ocean. I am on a long trip across the world, but I always follow the CERN Alumni news and tell people about CERN and the research done there. I am surprised that many have at least heard about CERN, even if they do not quite know what we do. I try to give them a better idea.”

Multiple messages have been sent to us by alumni remembering their experience with pride and a hint of nostalgia for what they gained from working at CERN. This is the case for alumnus Pedro Silva, former TTS fellow in TE-VSC, who writes, “It is with great pleasure that I take part in this community. It all started in 2012 when the TTS programme was launched at CERN, now known as the Technician Training Experience. I applied for this great opportunity and had the chance to be one of the first five candidates chosen for the programme. I spent three extraordinary years at CERN, gained outstanding professional experience and many friends made for life.”

Many CERN alumni go on to set-up their own start-ups or companies, often with great success.“Best wishes from Guyancourt (1st office) as well as from Valenciennes (2nd office) and of course Stręgoborzyce (my family home). Let's grow and grow and show where we are after our experience with CERN,” writes Wojciech Jasonek, Mechanical CAD Engineer, former technical student in EN-STI.

One of the network’s objectives is to help early-career physicists to move out of academia if they choose to do so. Matin Durrani, editor of Physics World sent the following message: “It’s great that CERN values the network of physicists past and present who’ve passed through or been based at the lab! The network has already led to some very useful contacts for me.”

Indeed, since the launch of the network, more than 300 job opportunities, posted by alumni or companies aware of the skills and profiles developed at CERN, have been published on the alumni.cern platform and several members have been successful in finding employment through the network. Furthermore, the CERN Alumni Network continues to unite people from all over the world, with a common interest in STEM, a message clearly communicated to us via our members. “May the network expand and the members prosper, carrying the message of research at CERN and uniting the world,” writes Anna Vayaki, retired experimental particle physicist, now based in Athens. Jon Kapustinsky from Santa Fe, New Mexico and former user of the CMS collaboration, states, “My first experiment at CERN was in 1983. CERN was, and continues to be, the paradigm of human achievement, with arms open to the entire world.”

Anyone who has been (or still is) a user, associate, fellow, staff or student at CERN, is eligible to join the network via alumni.cern.

“I dreamt about a better future here and felt like I was doing something meaningful for humanity.”
– Antonio Intini,
Summer student for the LHCb collaboration (2004)