A conversation with Alessandra Mazzai

Curly-haired and chatty, she can reduce her sleeping hours but not the time devoted to social life or morning yoga. An interview with the dynamic and energetic Francesca Larosa, junior researcher at the RAAS division.

What’s your job at the CMCC Foundation?
I am junior researcher in the RAAS division, where I work on two projects related to Climate Services (EU MACS and CLARA). I am also attending the second year of the PhD in Science and Management of Climate Change: my research is focused on how climatic information can have effects at various levels: micro (individuals), meso (organizations) and macro (policies).

Which road led you to CMCC?
After a work experience at FAO in Rome, I moved to Nicaragua to CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) where, for 18 months, I worked in the field of climate change adaptation. In 2017, I found out about a pre-doc position at CMCC. I applied immediately, and it gave me the opportunity to come back to Europe.

Is your current job the one you had dreamed of when you were a child?
To be honest, my dream was to become President of the Italian Republic (well…I still have time!). Nevertheless, I can say that I have always asked a lot of questions, and that is what I keep doing in my research, trying to answer questions that we have not yet posed or to which we have given unsatisfactory answers.

Could you tell us the most beautiful moment in your experience at CMCC?
8 June 2017, Glasgow, ECCA 2017 (European Climate Change Adaptation Conference). I was casually dressed in pink, I had a PPT with a pink background specially designed to be consistent with the conference graphic design (the background of the room was also pink… how embarrassing!). Immediately after presenting my work, I received news of the acceptance from the CMCC-Ca’Foscari PhD! I had been accepted by other doctoral schools, but I wanted this. I was happy with my experience at CMCC, and I wanted to continue my collaboration here.

What’s on your workstation?
Stabilo colored pens (one of my obsessions), a statuette of Anakin Skywalker, character from Star Wars (my true passion), a sticker from NASA that reminds me of the recent experience at the Climate Kic InnoSpace Journey and a plant that, given my lack of green thumb, is kept alive by my colleagues!

How do you travel to work?
After my yoga session, I walk through Venice for thirty minutes, and finally take the bus to VEGA. This walk – with a coffee in the same bar every morning – helps me remember the beauty that surrounds me: a kind of dynamic meditation… but also the opportunity to make long phone calls and organize my social life.

What do you do in your spare time?
I play the violin (I attended the conservatory, I’ve been playing since I was three), I talk, I go out a lot for aperitifs and I travel a lot, having many friends all over the world. I could never give up the morning yoga routine and my evening social life – I chose, rather, to reduce my sleeping hours!

Cinema or literature: give me a title and explain your choice
Literature (I like talking too much, therefore I cannot go to the cinema because I should stay quiet!). 1984 by George Orwell, because it’s remarkably timely and The Unconsoled, by Kazuo Ishiguro, because it is a labyrinth obscured by an amnesia, a surreal plot that is revealed only at the end of the book.

What’s your maxim?
“Be bold, often italicized, never regular”. My hair represents my personality: it is bold and sometimes, depending on the climate, it can become a little italicized. I cannot make it straight: when my hair is regular I cannot concentrate, I lose my power. This is how I want to be: a person who has an impact, which gives energy, one of those that you notice when they leave the room, because the party ends.