Belén Rodríguez Soto, graduated in Economics and with the Physics degree almost finished, obtained one of the two summer fellowships for non-STEM students. Before starting the master’s degree in Innovation and Economic Development at the USC next course, she told us about her experience as an economist at the institute and about her plans to do a PhD in the future.

By Alfonso Alonso

Q: What is Physics for you? 

A: It is the most basic science, the one that helps you answer the most fundamental questions. It helps to satisfy human curiosity and also allows you to solve problems in other fields of knowledge. 

Q: How can we relate Physics to field of Economics?  

A: I think that talking about Physics and Economics is talking about basic science and application. Fundamentally I believe that the connection between the two is in the transfer, in terms of technological impulses, and the innovation that can be given from there. 

Q: Did you know the IGFAE?   

A: Yes, during my studies in Physics I had teachers who were from the institute and since 2017, when it was awarded with the recognition of the María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence. I think that it got more relevance with it because before that it was a little mixed with the Faculty of Physics. The IGFAE is a world-class center. I have always worried about knowing the institutions that are part of the USC (University of Santiago de Compostela). 

 Q: How did you get to know the summer fellowships? 

A: A teacher with whom I have a very good relationship in the Faculty of Economics told me about them. Thanks to that, two days before the deadline ended I started updating the curriculum, writing the motivation letter and submitted my application. 

Q: Did you expect to be selected or did you not have high expectations? 

A: I thought I could fit well in the institute because of my academic record and curriculum. I didn’t think that I was going to be selected with a very high probability but I did put my hope in the two NO-STEM fellowships

Q: What did you do in the center throughout the month? 

A: I prepared a report on the potential of the institute and detection of strengths that it has for technology transfer and its contribution to socioeconomic development. I researched a lot on the internet and read the documentation they gave me at the institute.

Q: What would you highlight as the main strengths of the institute?

 A: The human capital it has. They are top-notch researchers internationally.   

Q: And the weak points? 

 A: I think it should be improved the number of women working at the institute: eliminate that gender gap in the world of Physics and also strengthen networks with the local industry and generate new markts. 

Q: Let’s talk about challenges, what were your main obstacles? 

A: Of course, arriving to a new center in a month like July, which is complicated, after an intense academic course, and trying to do a good job in such a short time. 

 Q: What did you like most about this experience? 

A: Having the opportunity to be in an institute as relevant as this and to start working in a field in which I will try to work in the future.   

Q: Finally, to what extent has this experience increased your worth as a researcher? 

A: It has been an enriching experience that has allowed me to know how a center with these characteristics works internally. However, it is still too early to talk about open doors, but I hope that this experience will help me in the future.