Next step: public speaking

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She surrounds herself with loved ones, plants and simplicity, and takes part in theatre classes to help her face audiences at conferences with steady nerves. Let’s get to know Marta Ellena, the PhD candidate who has made the climate-health nexus her forte.

Interview by Alessandra Mazzai

What’s your job at the CMCC Foundation?
As part of the PhD in Science and Management of Climate Change, under the supervision of Paola Mercogliano (REMHI Division), I am studying the nexus between urban microclimate and population health. I also collaborate with the CSP Division in providing scientific and technical support to the Italian Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea on climate change adaptation in the context of the actions planned for the international negotiations of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). Finally, I collaborate as an expert with the European platform Climate-Adapt, where I update contents related to “climate & health”.

What brought you to the CMCC?
After an internship at the Adaptation Programme of the UNFCCC, I collaborated with Arpa Piemonte on the topic of climate change in relation to urban population health for my thesis. This is how I first learnt about the REMHI division of the CMCC.

Is your current job the one you used to dream of as a child?
As a child, I dreamed of having a job that would give me the independence I needed to live a free and creative life, something that I could continue to be passionate about and that would help me feel fulfilled. I am happy and grateful because I believe I have achieved most of the “ambitions” that I worked towards in recent years.

Tell us about a special moment during your time at the CMCC
There are several moments connected to the CMCC that have filled me with happiness. Certainly, I will never forget the moment I realized that I had obtained my first contract with the organisation, in January 2019: it signified that my professional life was going exactly the way I wanted it to!

How do you travel to work?
I usually take the metro – which allows me to get on with reading a good book – and then I walk part of the way, listening to an energetic song to start the day in the best of moods.

What ritual is never missing from your workday?
As soon as I arrive at the office (or as soon as I start working), the first thing I do is open my email and answer everything. Then I open my to-do list and, step by step, I carry out my tasks for the day.

What do you keep at your workstation?
There are many plants (cactus, aloe vera, potus, …). I love being surrounded by greenery, it gives me a feeling of serenity. Moreover, my office colleague at the Epidemiological Centre where I am currently working (Local Health Board TO3) loves plants, therefore we have created a kind of “happy oasis”.

Movies or literature? Tell us about your preferences.
It depends on the period and the type of work I am doing. As I often read articles and reports for my research it’s not always easy to read a book after work. Despite this, I am pro-reading right now! I’m reading The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende and I can’t wait to start the next book on my list written and published by a dear colleague and friend of mine: The Climate Negotiations by Federico Brocchieri.

What do you do in your spare time?
I love being surrounded with friends and family as they are fundamental components of my life, playing with my nephews or even taking some time for myself and listening to music while walking in a park. Soon I hope to go back to attending theatre classes, which I believe will also help me in my future job: you need strong nerves, good diction, and the right amount of confidence to face audiences at conferences and seminars!

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