My PhD journey: the last update

My dear readers, let me introduce myself again.


Dr. Martina Bodner

On the 15th January 2021 I finally defended my PhD thesis. It has been an incredible long ride, let me share my journey with you.

Some of the accomplishments of my PhD

In November 2016 I started an unfunded PhD, so I worked full time for the whole period.

For my graduate program it was mandatory to attend summer schools, national and international congresses and spend at least 3 months abroad. I used all the holidays of my full-time job to attend summer schools in Utrecht, Berlin and Florence; national and international congresses in Bolzano, Oristano, Florence, Venice and Innsbruck; and I split the period abroad into two shorter periods of 6 weeks each both in Berlin, one at the BfR (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment), the other one at the TUB (Technical University of Berlin).

I published four papers, two as first author, which were included in the thesis. After thesis submission (in May 2020) I manage to published another paper and another one is currently under review, both as first author.

Between November 2016 and January 2021 life happened: I got divorced, sold my house, my mom was diagnosed with leukemia, had a transplant and died 11 months after the diagnosis, I met an amazing man and together we had a daughter, I was diagnosed with (high functioning) autism, I wrote the PhD thesis during the lockdown of to the worst pandemic of the last 100 years and started this science communication blog.

As far as science is concerned, I learned a lot about spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, statistics and multivariate data analysis.

But from a personal point of view the PhD taught me even more!

I learned that I am enough, that I deserve to aim high, that I don’t have to listen to the little voice in my head and fight every day my impostor syndrome, that I can be a mother, that I can be an example for my daughter, that I am resilient, strong and I know when to ask for help (a big thank you to my therapist!). I learned that I have a lot of people who love me and support me, no matter how strange I am.

Thank you all for being there and remember: don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.

You can!


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