Former Women @CERN

Paula Álvarez López

Almost for two years, Paula, a restless and curious woman from Gijón, worked at CERN, that laboratory that keeps beauty hidden tens of meters underground. It was one the primal incorporations of HiLumi, and she was part of its technical project management department.

This was Paula’s first work experience. She had studied a degree in Engineering of Industrial Technologies at the University of Oviedo (Spain), studying the last year in Berlin (Germany), with an Erasmus scholarship. It was also where she began to find her path because, for her, CERN is a fantastic place to create your own adventure. Now, from Boston (USA), where she has been almost a couple of years, Paula remembers with special affection the two hobbies that accompanied her in Geneva: basketball and classical music.

As during her childhood and adolescence she lived with the court and baggy equipment, as soon as she arrived to CERN, she joined a basketball team, the Meyrin Basket, where she spent the first trainings and games lost in translation. Along with this sport, classical music. Paula, who played viola at a professional level since she was a little girl, joined l’Orchestre des Nations, where different nationalities and families of instruments were mixed.

Basketball gave her, in addition to triples and DOMS, a formidable level of French. Music, in addition to concerts and harmony, brought her a rhythmic love. In the orchestra, Paula met Matt, her current fiancé, who at that time was also doing her PhD at CERN.

In such a special place, where she believes that there are amazing opportunities to look for and to pursue, Paula realized that she wanted to direct her career towards management. Along with her mentor, a great friend and ally, she set her future plans and professional goals.

That is why, after her time at CERN, Paula flew to Madrid, where she worked for two years at McKinsey & Company, an American consultancy firm, of which, at the end of this summer, she will again be part. This time, from across the pond. To join her more technical profile with the field of management, Paula did a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Harvard, which she has just successfully completed.

From that shore of the Atlantic, Paula dreams of dedicating her training, time and effort to sustainability. She believes that the great problem in our society is that we are taking over the world we live in, so she would love to reverse the situation by taking advantage of emerging technologies. This summer, before rejoining as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Company, she is collaborating with Peace of Meat, a Belgian startup that, like Paula, is committed to feed the world differently, while protecting the environment.

Paula will continue to contribute grains and grains of sand, so that we have a healthier world. She will keep shaping her career and composing her life with sheet music for violin and viola. And she will not forget her experience as a CERNie, which will always sound like Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.

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