PE&RC in the Spotlight: Cécile Levrault

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Every month we put a PE&RC member in the spotlight. This month we are getting to know Cécile Levrault.
Hi! I am Cécile Levrault, a postdoc in the Agricultural Biosystems Engineering (ABE) group of Wageningen University and Research. I am currently finishing up my PhD, which was about developing and testing devices to monitor the methane production of ruminants, like cows and sheep. As a postdoc, I will be working on monitoring and reducing all kinds of emissions from livestock production. I am also French, which you would have heard from my accent if this was not a text... I moved to the Netherlands about 6 years ago, and I’m really happy about it!  

What are you passionate about in your research?
I love the “searching for stuff” part. It feels like a game to me, or like a mystery that needs solving. In my PhD, I had to build a lot of home-made sensors and test them out to find out if they were doing what they were supposed to or not. I felt like a kid again, just playing with stuff. But this time, while being paid for it! I also really love working with animals, especially cows. Petting them while having a coffee in the barn between two measurements is really nice to me.

What should all 1st year PhD candidates know?
That a PhD is just a job. It is okay if experiments fail, or if you don’t like it anymore and want to do something else than research. Whatever happens during your PhD: it is not the end of the world, and it will all be fine in the end. So don’t panic.

What do you currently do to de-stress?
Reading and boxing. Getting lost between the pages of a book really changes my mind if I get caught in the story. However, sometimes I just want to blow some steam off and in this case kickboxing feels amazing! Kicking and punching a bag as hard as I can really empties me and makes me feel so relaxed.

If you could be any animal, what would you be, and why?
I wouldn’t mind turning into a ferret. We have two of them at home and I think they are just having a great life. Eating, sleeping, stealing and hiding things they are not supposed to….. They are super playful and friendly, but spend most of their time sleeping, about 18h a day. They are also really chubby and fluffy, which is good to keep warm when the energy prices are high like nowadays… It overall sounds like they don’t have much problems and are just enjoying.

What skill would you most like to learn?
I got into paragliding during my PhD. But travelling back to the French Alps every time I wanted to do it limited my progress very much. I would like to take more time for it so that I can get better.

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