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Carmen S. Menoni

Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer
Engineering Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
Country of origin: Argentina

What I do.
As a university professor, I develop and teach courses at undergraduate and graduate levels, and secure funding to support a research program in which I mentor students at all levels. My students and I work on manipulating light to learn about the physics of materials, and develop new optical methods and instruments, such as very powerful microscopes. All of these activities are very dynamic and stimulating, and require that we combine analytical, design, hands-on, and communication skills to make progress.

What I find exciting.
There are many aspects of my profession that I love: working with enthusiastic students and instilling in them the love for learning; the creative aspect of research and the excitement of discovery; the independence I have in selecting the research areas I want to work on; and the opportunities to meet and work with people from all over the world.

What I wish someone had told me.
I wish I had been told to look for ways to constantly evolve, broaden my interests, and search for new opportunities in which I could exploit my knowledge and strengths; to not be afraid of failures but learn from them; to develop a network of support; and that it is very important to plan strategically how to balance professional and family life without feeling pressured to do everything at once. Eventually one learns all of these skills, but having a good mentor from the onset helps a lot.