Prix de la meilleure thèse de doctorat
Véronique Cornu | Prix Rolf Tarrach 2019

Dr Véronique Cornu (from the Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences) was the Rolf Tarrach Award 2019 for her doctoral thesis on the topic of “The spatial road to mathematics – From the relation between spatial skills and early mathematics towards interventions”:

“I have received the Ph.D. Award in 2019 and I am still very grateful and honoured. I am currently working as a neuropsychologist at the national competency centre for children with specific learning disorders, which is part of the Luxembourgish Ministry of Education. My main tasks consist of the diagnostics of specific learning disorders and helping children overcome their difficulties; as well as providing training for teachers and other professionals on learning disorders, considering the specificities and challenges of the Luxembourgish educational and language context. Besides this, I am still contributing to different research projects at the University of Luxembourg and acting as a scientific advisor. By this means, I try to assure the link between my everyday practice and scientific research. I consider a major outcome of my Ph.D. thesis, that the language-neutral early mathematics training tool (Magrid) I have developed with my colleagues at the UL and scientifically validated during my thesis, has been implemented in all public fundamental schools (Cycle 1) in Luxembourg.

On a more personal note, I have become a mother in 2020 and I am expecting my second child in a few weeks from now. Hence, I have been a bit quiet with engaging in new professional projects, but I can assure you that I am more than motivated to do so upon my return to professional life”.

veronique cornu
Dr Véronique Cornu receiving her Rolf Tarrach Award on 11 July 2019 and congratulated for the excellent quality of her work dedicated to a new pedagogy, an easy way to learn mathematics!

Prix de la meilleure thèse de doctorat
Simon Campese | Prix Rolf Tarrach 2016

“I'm still pursuing an academic career in mathematics. A few months after having received the prize, I returned to the University of Luxembourg to work as a postdoc. Last year, I started another postdoc position at Technical University of Hamburg (hopefully the last before finally obtaining a professorship) and currently prepare my habilitation, synthesizing results I obtained during the last years. The prix Rolf Tarrach has certainly helped during applications as it is a strong proof of my mathematical abilities.

Roughly speaking, the topic of my habilitation is functional approximation, which is best illustrated by an example: Applying the results of my PhD thesis, one can efficiently approximate complex and typically computationally intractable random quantities (for example a stock price at an arbitrary time in the future in a model which also takes into account the price history, dependencies on other stocks etc.) by much simpler and rather easy to compute objects. However, this technique is one- dimensional, in the sense that one can only predict a quantity at a specific point in time. In the last years, I made major advances in generalizing this to infinite dimension, which in the stock price application means that one can now approximate not only a single price, but its complete evolution over arbitrary time windows.

As I said during the ceremony: I became aware of the University of Luxembourg by pure chance, which without doubt was the best thing that could happen to my academic career. Not only your excellence prize but also the many other opportunities and sources of support as well as the unparalleled infrastructure and research conditions at the university make Luxembourg one of the (if not the) most attractive and stimulating countries for studying and doing research”.

Prix de la meilleure thèse de master
Vladimir Zabolotskiy | Germain Dondelinger Award 2019

“I am very grateful to the Amis de l'Université for the prize and to the University of Luxembourg for the outstanding experience provided during my masters. I sincerely enjoyed the year I spent in Luxembourg and, if an opportunity appears, would be happy to come back.

Currently, I am in the 3rd year of my Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Bologna and plan to graduate in two years. The first chapter of my thesis has been published recently in the Journal of Historical Political Economy, and I am happy to share it. Here is the link: https://www.nowpublishers.com/article/Details/HPE-0024

I also continue to work at the Higher School of Economics ICSID as a Junior Researcher. For instance, for the last two years, our team is working on the ROCiRR survey. This project addresses the pandemic experience of people in Russian regions with a broader set of norms attitudes. The ROCiRR has already produced important insights, and more are to come soon. For instance, here my collaborators employ the ROCiRR data to provide a better understanding of the driving forces behind the preference for or against vaccination: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-021-01454-y

Speaking of the future, I have to say that the uncertainty the world had to face these last few years – and is facing right now due to the actions the country I am a citizen of – made me reluctant about pursuing a career in academia. Currently, I am considering other options, including working at NGOs and international organizations”.

Prix de la meilleure thèse de bachelor
Sarah Schouten | Prix Portabella Excellence Académique 2020

“After finishing my Bachelor in Mathematics in 2020 I continued studying at the University of Luxembourg, so at the moment I am starting the fourth semester of the Master in Mathematics. I spent the third semester in Italy at the Università degli studi di Salerno as an Erasmus student, which allowed me to experience different approaches to teaching Mathematics as well as giving me the opportunity to improve my Italian and meet many international people.

I will shortly start writing my Master thesis, probably in the field of differential geometry.
Receiving the Portabella price motivated me to continue striving for deep understanding and good results in my studies and helped me to believe in my ideas and abilities. It also helped me to finance my exchange semester as I was not able work at the climbing gym in Luxembourg as I usually do”.

Prix de la meilleure thèse de bachelor
Dylan Theis | Prix Portabella Excellence Académique 2020

“I am currently studying for a Master's degree in Economics and Finance at the University of Luxembourg, specialising in financial economics. So I am in the second and final year of this master's degree and I will graduate in September 2022. In April I will begin an internship at the chamber of employees in the department of economic studies and advice, a field I would like to work in after my studies. I was awarded the Portabella in recognition of my efforts for which I am extremely grateful and proud. The award motivated me even further to continue my studies with great determination and motivation”.

Bourse pour étudiants bachelor/master
Era Pjeshka | Bourse Luis y Antonio Portabella 2020

“I finished my Master degree in September 2021, and before that I was doing my mandatory internship at Clearstream Banking S.A. as an intern in Operational and Business Risk. They liked me during this period and decided to offer me a permanent contract. From the 15th December 2021 I am working there as a full-time employee as a Credit Risk Monitoring Officer. My focus for the moment is my career and the development of practical skills in the business environment.

The scholarship awarded by the Friends of University of Luxembourg and by the Luis y Antonio Portabella Foundation helped me a lot during the period of my studies. I was able to focus more on my studies as I did not had to work as much as I used to do before, and I achieved to finish my master successfully and in time, which was my goal. I think it would have not been easy for me in times of Covid, when finding a student job was challenging, to be able to pay for all my charges. So, I am grateful for the opportunity and for the help, it is much appreciated.

To conclude, I would just say that my life now seems to move in the right direction and I feel great things in terms of career will come on my way. All the challenges, sacrifices and efforts are paying off”.

Bourse pour étudiants bachelor/master
Arjana Gjeta | Bourse Luis y Antonio Portabella 2018

“I am very grateful for the Friends of the University of Luxembourg and Luis y Antonio Portabella Foundation scholarship. It has had quite an essential role in the opportunity to study and graduate from Uni Lu in Master in Economics and Finance. Upon graduation I took on a role at the Treasury Department at RTL Group located in Kirchberg Luxembourg. I have been working there for 3 year already. I specialize in foreign currency cash flow hedging using derivative trading in the exchange money market. I advise and set up the hedging strategy for our international production and media distribution companies.

The Portabella scholarship facilitated the opportunity for me to further advance and engage in my studies as well as the UniLu community and extracurriculars. In the meantime, after the Portabella scholarship, I was awarded from UNESCO and South Korea Education for a 7 days scholarship in Seoul to work on Global Citizenship Education and UN Sustainable Development Goals. While in Uni Lu had the chance to engage students in the Debate Club initiative, where I conducted several monthly sessions with a variety of topics. Had the chance to be part of a 4-student team representing Uni Lu in Rome for the European RotmanTrading Challenge at Luiss University, which made me passionate about forex trading leading to my current job”.

Bourse pour étudiants bachelor/master
Eunice Sanchez | Bourse Luis y Antonio Portabella 2020

“Thank you immensely for your support. I have currently finished all of my course studies of the Master in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts and I am this year focusing on writing my thesis which is related to the language practices that adults who learned more than one foreign language do to help maintain their languages when working and/or living in Luxembourg. Another personal goal for this year is to learn Luxembourgish, thanks to the grant I was able to dedicate time to study on my own and advance so quickly that this semester I am starting the level B1.1 at INL along with a conversation workshop every Friday. I also participate regularly in language cafés that are offered by the commune of Esch-sur-Alzette every two weeks and attend a polyglot club every two weeks. This makes really happy for I know that when I hand in the thesis and officially graduate from the master I will do so with good competences of all the official languages of Luxembourg, plus Spanish, my native language.

I continue to work as Web Editor Student Assitant in the Communication Department of the University. I find the job interesting and I get to learn a lot more about the University and everything that it offers. I find that improving the University’s website so that future and current students can better navigate through it it of great importance. I find it to be an excellent addition and good for honning skills since I am interested in pursuing a Communication job after I graduate from the Master.

Another aspect I have given plenty of my energy to is being an active volunteer member of the non-profit association Foodsharing Luxembourg, I am happy to help them for I know they are really transparent of what they do, aim to include whoever wishes to, are always open for new ideas, and really try to do more to find ways of avoiding food waste and reduce the burden that the food system has on the environment. I will not write all of my activites within the association here, but I will attach the letter I sent the Office of Student Life at the University of Luxembourg as part of their requirements for the Community Engagement Certificate which I got this year. In the letter I explain with more detail many of the activities that and projects that I have participated in through the association.

Briefly said, thanks to your suport I am able to reach the language goals I dreamed of, give back to Luxembourg and the environment and dedicate the time to write my master thesis knowing that when I graduate I will have accomplished many more things than otherwise would have stayed in my dreams. And as one of my favorite quote says “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live” Yes, I have just extracted a quote form the Harry Potter Books by J.K.Rowling. With this I mean to say, thanks to this grant, I am turning my dreams into reality.

P.S. I was gifted the book “Den Harry Potter an den Alchimistesteen” (Luxembourgish translation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone), and I know that I will be able to read it by the end of this year”.