A courageous step that counts

Minerva’s daughters: Jil Meyers is a PhD student at the MPI

April 29, 2024

Jil Meyers studied at the Technical University of Cologne and had already gained professional experience when she began her PhD studies at the Max Planck Institut für Kohlenforschung. In this interview, she explains why she gave up her permanent position to complete her PhD in Prof. Dr. Ferdi Schüth's team. 

Jil Meyers has been a PhD student with Prof. Ferdi Schüth in the Department of Heterogeneous Catalysis for more than two years. She is particularly interested in electrically conductive fillers for coating metallic bipolar plates in fuel cells. Incidentally, it was not clear from the outset that she would do a doctorate after her studies at TH Köln.

What brought you here? Tell us about your way to the Kohlenforschung!
Jil Meyers: After my studies, I did my Bachelor's and Master's in Chemistry at the TH Cologne, I first found a job in an industrial company. However, I quickly realized that this wasn't the right job for me and that I wanted more responsibility and to be challenged more in my job. Therefore, at some point I looked around for a doctoral position. Of course, I knew the MPI from my studies. I applied and fortunately was accepted.

What do you like about your work?
Jil: I really enjoy working in the lab and think it is great that there are always new challenges for me here. I learn something new every day, there are hardly any routines. I can develop and try out my ideas and gain lots of experience.

What are your professional goals?
Jil: I would like to return to the industry at some point, but in a position where I can contribute my experience and knowledge. I want to make a difference, make the world a better place. Moreover, what is very important to me: I want to enjoy coming to work every day.

What has been your most difficult step so far?
Jil: The decision to give up a permanent job to do a doctorate really wasn't easy. I had to weigh things up. What if I fail? What if the subject doesn't suit me? I had to find my way out of my professional routine and back into an environment where I had to learn. It took a while, but in hindsight I'm very glad I took this step.

Do you have a role model?
Jil: There are definitely women who I admire for their achievements. But I don't have a classic role model in the sense that I want to copy someone. I always try to find the right path for myself so that I am at peace with myself.

What advice would you give to young girls who are interested in working in a scientific institution?
Jil: Pursue your interests and don't let it get you down, even if people say something can be difficult or you might not be able to do something. And believe in yourself. There are always ups and downs, but it's worth sticking with it!

If you had one wish: What would it be?
Jil: I would like everyone to be as happy and content as they are and for no one to have to pretend.

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