Name: Iwona Podsiadlo
Position: Young Graduate Trainee (YGT)
Department: Sensor Performance, Products and Algorithms Section – EO Mission Management & GS Department
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Iwona and I have been a Young Graduate Trainee at ESRIN for two years. I have been working on calibration of data for Sentinel-1, Sentinel-1A and 1B. I studied computer science in the field of geology and geophysics at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow.
What does your daily work look like?
My primary task is to write scripts for the calibration of data from Sentinel-1. For that, my supervisor helps me to perform my work by answering all my questions and sharing his expertise.
Very recently, I have also started cooperating with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for an intercomparison exercise between Sentinel-1A, Sentinel-1B and Radarsat-2. On a daily basis, the work involves data analysis, coding and exchanging information between agencies.
What were your previous professional experiences before you joined ESA?
I entered the professional world when I graduated with my engineering degree. I worked for several IT companies. The experience that also helped me to join ESA was my Master thesis which was devoted to SAR image classification using a neural network. For this thesis, I was using data provided by ESA.
What are the advantages of working for ESA?
ESA gives you an unique opportunity to work in an international environment and to meet a lot of dedicated scientists, engineers, managers and administrative staff. ESA organizes several conferences where you can meet and talk to the best specialists of their fields.
Do you have practical tips for students/graduates?
Yes. I would tell them that they should start to prepare their future career as soon as possible. I would advise them to look for internship opportunities during their studies and also to select the topic of their master/engineering thesis carefully, keeping their post-graduation goals in mind. Meanwhile, you have a great opportunity to prepare for your future job and I would advise them to use that time wisely!
What is the coolest experience you had at ESA?
Well, I think my best experience was the trip to Kiruna in Sweden. We went there with my colleagues from the YoungESA group, a networking and development group that fosters contacts and building knowledge among young professionals at ESA.
We saw the ground-based space-tracking station which is part of the ESTRACK (European Space Tracking) network, one of the EISCAT (European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association) research radar, and Esrange, the rocket range and research centre located outside the town of Kiruna. We also had an opportunity to see the launch of REXUS (Rocket & Balloon Experiments for University Students), and the Northern Lights!
This year, I am going to Kourou, in French Guiana. Unfortunately, no launch is foreseen at that time, but we will still have a chance to visit the space centre. I am sure it is going to be exciting!
When did your interest in joining ESA begin?
When I was a child! I have always wanted to work for the space sector. I learned about the European Space Agency while I was still at university. Then, I said to myself that my Master’s degree had to be related to ESA’s activities… and that is what happened!