Meet Greta Facile – OPEN SESAME’s 40th trainee visit

On 16 June, SESAME User Office manager, Greta Facile, returned to Jordan after spending a month embedded in the User Office of the Elettra synchrotron in Trieste. An Italian national, Greta has a background in the humanitarian sector, and came to SESAME by pure serendipity. “Humanitarian work is my vocation,” she explains. “For several years, I worked for Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) in Brussels, but in 2016, my husband and I decided that we wanted to work in the field.”

The break came when her husband was offered a job in Jordan with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the family moved to Amman, with their three-year-old child in March 2017. The plan was for Greta to find work in the humanitarian sector on arrival. “But then, out of the blue, I received an invitation on Facebook to apply for a job as a Users’ Office manager at this place called SESAME, which I’d never heard of.” It turned out that she had a mutual friend in common with her professor at Trieste University, where she’d done her undergraduate and Masters degrees: Giorgio Paolucci, SESAME’s Research Director, and she came highly recommended.

“When I was hired for SESAME, I didn't even know what a synchrotron was, and since I was in Italy on vacation at the time I was offered the job, thanks to the OPEN SESAME project I had the opportunity to start my adventure in the synchrotron world with a first training period at Elettra ” she says. “In Trieste, I discovered this amazing new world of research, and discovered what a Users’ Office is.” A few weeks later when she first stepped foot in SESAME, she discovered that her background in international relations coupled with a career in customer-service oriented jobs was very relevant. “Running a Users’ Office is all about customer service,” she adds.

OPEN SESAME’s 40th training visit, Greta’s second visit to Elettra, was designed to give her hands-on experience of working in a busy Users’ Office. “This training has been invaluable,” she says. “I now have all I need to set up a Users’ Office for SESAME just as the user-lead research programme is getting underway, and in addition, I also have friends and mentors in Trieste.”

SESAME’s first open call brought in 55 proposals from across the SESAME region. Of these, 19 have been allocated beam time, with the first being conducted in July 2018. “It’s a very exciting time to be at SESAME, says Greta, and thanks to OPEN SESAME, we have everything in place to welcome our first users to the lab.”

Among the 40 visits carried out, two-thirds of the visits concern SESAME staff (scientists, technicians, administrative staff) who visited various facilities in the consortium: SOLEIL, ESRF, ELETTRA, CERN, ALBA, the CYPRUS INSTITUTE, and outside the consortium: MAX IV.  The other third concerns European staff going to SESAME.

SESAME’s Greta Facile (left) with one of the Elettra Users’ Office team, Letizia Pierandrei, in Trieste.