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Meet our SIM² KU Leuven colleague: Katarzyna Janusz

Katarzyna Janusz is the project manager at the Materials Engineering Department. She coordinates the EIT Labelled Master Programme on Sustainable Materials (SUMA), which is SIM² KU Leuven’s future-oriented education flagship programme. Find out more about Katarzyna Janusz and her work in our first SIM² KU Leuven interview of 2019. (PTJ, Leuven, 2/1/2019)

Why did you choose to work in Leuven/Belgium?

I came here for the first time in 2012 as a master student and studied in the Erasmus Mundus Master programme in Sustainable Development. KU Leuven was one of the universities involved in the programme. Initially, I came here for 6 months during the first year of my studies but one year later I returned for my master thesis research. I liked the city and university very much, so I decided to stay for the PhD which I completed at the Division of Geography and Tourism (Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences) in 2018.

What are you working on?

Together with prof. Bart Blanpain, I manage the EIT Labelled Master Programme on Sustainable Materials (SUMA). It is a joint Master Programme between KU Leuven, University of Trento, INP Grenoble, Montanuniversität Leoben and University of Milano-Bicocca (see image below). I am responsible for the daily implementation and organisation of the programme, including collaboration with the project partners, communication and promotion activities as well as student recruitment. Sometimes I also collaborate with my former colleagues from the Division of Geography and Tourism on small research projects related to sustainability and urban tourism.

What attracts you to the project you are working on?

Before I started working for SUMA in October 2018 I was working for 4 years as a local project manager for Erasmus Mundus Master in Sustainable Development (the same Master I graduated from). I coordinated arrangements for the stay of international students at the university and I organised and taught a few courses. I really enjoyed collaborating with international partners, seeing their motivation and drive to develop a really unique programme. But what I loved most was working with the students, seeing them grow and create an active network of sustainability advocates which they regularly work with and shared written projects or interesting job offers. This positive past experience is something that attracts me very much to SUMA, as the programme has a similar structure with similarly motivated students, which in my view have a great potential to become an even more interesting project. I am also happy that I can continue working in the area of sustainability and I hope to learn new things about the circular economy and recycling of raw materials.

What is your favourite book?

Being a bookworm, it is very difficult to make a choice. A few years ago I was totally immersed in Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante, which tells the story of friendship of Lila and Elena. I read all four books in two weeks in which I barely slept!

The story is incredibly captivating and well-written and the author seems to understand women and female friendships very well.

Over the course of your life, how many cities have you lived in and which one was your favourite?

During my university studies I got a chance to live in different places. Except for my university town in Poland (Kraków), I spent six months in Poitiers, Paris and Padova in Italy. Paris and Padova are definitely my favourites. Paris is beautiful and full of little surprises every day. Padova, contrary to Paris, is a rather small and calm town where people always seem to be happy, enjoying their Italian dolce vita. 

If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?

I would love to go hiking and skiing in Patagonia. A good friend of mine is from Chile, so I hope one day she will take me there.

Biography: Katarzyna Janusz

Katarzyna (Kasia) Janusz was born in Kraków, Poland, in 1989. She graduated from Erasmus Mundus Master in Sustainable Development in 2013. During her studies, she interned at UNICA (Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe) where she learnt the first steps about management of educational programmes. She completed a PhD in Geography in summer 2018 – her PhD research focused on tourism-generated problems in historical cities. Next to PhD, she co-managed Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Sustainable Development, organising the stay of international students in Leuven and supporting the work of the programme consortium. Currently, she manages the EIT Labelled Master Programme on Sustainable Materials (SUMA).

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