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Alum Story: Astrophysics From Brussels to Berkeley

IFE alumnus Ned Molter reflects on his internship and research at the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the Free University of Brussels, as well as his experience with IFE and in Brussels more generally:

"My experience in Brussels with the IFE program was integral to my growth as both a scientist and a world citizen. I got to experience what it’s like to be a real scientist doing full-time original research at the forefront of my field. I gained insight into the life of a professional astronomer, experienced the similarities and differences between research in the United States and in Europe, and began to understand academia as a global network.

I Tackling the added challenge of French immersion while at work boosted my confidence as a professional. The night classes about Belgian history, politics, literature, and culture, along with the everyday experiences of leading life in a different country, contributed immensely to broadening my worldview. became a more global thinker, a more informed voter, and a more compassionate and understanding person. The experiences, skills, and knowledge I carried back with me to the United States were crucial in planning and navigating my transition out of college and on to the "real world". My newfound passion for research spurred me to continue in academia, and my personal growth and bolstered confidence (along with a recommendation letter from my research advisor in Brussels) helped me to a job as research assistant at NASA after I graduated, and I’m now beginning a graduate program in astronomy at UC Berkeley."

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