Markus Nemitz Internship Interview

As a CDT student, Markus Nemitz completed an extended internship at the University of Michigan in 2018. He then went on to a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. He was interviewed about his time in Michigan in October, 2019.

Do you feel that the time you spent on your internship, it was time well spent? There were some benefits from doing this?

Michigan is now my second favorite place … I still have really strong connections. I am now applying for faculty positions, and I spoke, two weeks ago to Prof. Edwin Olson, my advisor in Michigan. We had a great chat and he also told me that he would give me a letter of recommendation, which is really useful for the next step. The entire experience with Michigan created a lot of collaborations but also a lot of friendships…

Do you feel that your time, doing this internship, did it change you? Do you think about things differently or do you work differently? Did it change the way you operate by having that time in a different group?

I think it did change me quite a bit. I think the entire experience of being outside your comfort zone, being in a new country. It’s still an English-speaking country, but the US and the UK are still very different. … I think it made me more open minded but also extremely focused on my studies. I’m still driven by this. I’m still driven by how to construct my research into something useful, something that’s beneficial. If I work on something that won’t lead to a publication, then I would drop it … I think overall my experience made me very aware of what I wanted to do in the future, and that is staying in academia and I think once you make that decision, you can take many steps to accomplish that, much more before you finish your PhD. What I mean by that is that in the US, the kids go to the undergraduate degree, and they know already they want to become a professor. So they get awards and fellowships and grants already as undergraduates because their professors also help them in that. Then at the point of (starting) the PhD they already have one or two publications. … The entire experience in the US made me very aware of that and I think it helped me now, with faculty applications, it made me aware of … tenure track and how to pursue that. I think it fundamentally changed me, the entire experience.