Former Women @CERN

Mercedes Rebollo

From Fregenal, a small village located in Extremadura (Spain), Mercedes swapped the small hills and ravines of Sierra Morena for a place nearby the highest mountain range in Europe. She also changed the short walking distances of Seville for the daily bike rides from Ferney-Voltaire, where she used to live, to CERN.

On her way to CERN, where Mercedes has been working until August 2019, she had to cross large fields that most of the time were full of Milka cows. But, without a doubt, it is another kind of animal, the one that she misses the most from that time. Those Aristotelian zoon politikón that surrounded her. Mercedes had the chance to work with a very nice team, to know lots of women leaders and to learn from the people she met. But she also misses those individuals that she met outside the CERN bubble.

It was around September 2017, at the beginning of her days as a CERNie, when Mercedes and some friends of her decided to set up a woman football team. By that time, just a rugby female team existed, so they shaped a football one, which today is called Scrambleg Leggs.

Besides football, she plays the keyboard. Mercedes decided to buy one so that she could keep practicing and her piano notions did not get oxidized. This engineer never stopped being in touch with arts and humanities. Reading Carlos Ruiz Zafón and fantastic literature, painting, writing and playing music have always come along with her.

CERN changed Mercedes at many levels. Becoming a CERNie is a very nice time to leave shyness and prejudices behind. She worked there as a Quality Assurance and Asset Management Engineer, and she was a one-woman band CERNie. A multitask professional. To her, CERN was her first experience abroad. It was also the first time she got in touch with other languages. Now, she is able to dream in Spanish, English, French and Italian.

It is in life after CERN, when you realize all the big changes that you experimented there. It happens once you come back to your place. Her experience at CERN made her think that she is able to do more things than she thought before. You get more ambitious, but in the good sense of the word.

With 27 years, Mercedes is studying her second master. The first one was a Masters in Industrial Engineering, in Sevilla, where she moved in 2011 to study her university degree. The current one is a Masters in “Energy efficiency industry, audit and building certification” because, in the short-term future, she would like to be part of projects related to the energy efficiency and environment protection.

Last Christmas, Mercedes went into an entrepreneurship adventure together with three friends. She is a restless woman. She does not stop.

In The shadow of wind, Zafón wrote that: “El destino no hace visitas a domicilio, hay que ir a por él”. And, for sure, Mercedes is constantly heading for it.

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