We interviewed our leading academics to discover their recipe for success

Dr Marcella Bernardo shares her international journey from Brazil, through Germany, and finally landing at SMART Infrastucture Facility.

What do you like about SMART?

I like that it’s a small research group. Everyone is accessible and they know who you are. They care for you well-being. I also like that it’s a multicultural environment as well, it makes things easier. I have the opportunity to grow here. If I see an opportunity and want to apply for a grant, I know I will be supported.

What is your background?

I grew up in Brazil, where I did my bachelor and masters degrees in production engineering. I liked the diversity of the field. We can work in logistics, production, distribution, so it gives me lots of possibilities. You need to be able to communicate and listen to people, to their complaints. Technical skills are also important but you need to be able to deal with people more than other engineering. I am a problem solver and I like to optimise things.

How did you arrive at SMART?

I came from Germany where I pursued my PhD and did some lecturing, but I found that I couldn’t fit in. It was quite difficult. Although I miss Brazil, Australia reminds me of home. I grew up in a coastal city until I was seven, so I am really pleased to be back living near the beach. I spent a month in Australia when I was a baby, while my father – who is a mechanical engineer – tried to find work.

What are you working on now?

I am working with Dr Bo Du in the field of electric vehicles. We are mainly trying to find ways to cope with issues such as limited range, or where the charging stations should be located in order to increase the use of electric vehicles by logistic providers. I believe that it’s important research because it deals with sustainability. These vehicles are non-emission vehicles and that’s what we should be looking at.

How do you look after yourself?

I try to go to the at least four times a week to gym and check the weather forecast. When I know it’s going to be a sunny day I start early and leave early and go for a swim and go for a run. I grew up near the beach but then moved to a small city when I was seven years old. I also love doing jigsaw puzzles. If you come to my place, you’ll always see a puzzle on my table.

What is your ultimate career goal?

I want to become a professor so that I have the opportunity to change the lives of students. When I was an undergraduate I looked up to professors. I want to be a role model, especially for my female students. I want to show them that women can be engineers too.