01.02.2022 | Trainee at Axpo: Nathalie Statzer

“Every day there is a new challenge waiting for me”

After obtaining a master’s degree in Material Science at ETH and a PhD in Computational Chemistry at the University of Bern, Nathalie joined Axpo as a trainee in Energy Science. She is currently in her third and final rotation of the traineeship, in the hydro digitalization team. Nathalie’s current project has given her the opportunity to visit hydroelectric power plants, as she is working on improving the communication infrastructure of these plants. In her previous rotations, she worked in the grids division with the strategic asset management team, and in the renewables division simulating battery requirements for ancillary services. 

Nathalie Statzer

Function: Trainee Energy Science

Background: MSc in Material Science at ETH and PhD in Computational Chemistry at University of Bern

Assignments: Strategic Asset Management Grid, Business development batteries, Rollout Hydro 4.0

Why did you start your traineeship at Axpo?

I knew that I wanted to work in the energy sector given its overall importance, and with the transition to renewables, there are many exciting challenges ahead. I like to learn new things and explore different areas, that’s why I applied for the traineeship at Axpo, which gives you a chance to get to know three different business sectors.

What are the benefits of a traineeship from your perspective?

For me there are two main benefits: firstly, you have the unique opportunity to work in three different areas, two of which you can choose yourself. This gives you exposure to different jobs and fields within the energy sector. Secondly, you build a cross-divisional network within the company within a short amount of time.

Can you tell us more about the different rotations and projects during your traineeship?

My first rotation was in the grid division, where I worked on strategic asset management, specifically a project related to replacement planning. Then I joined the battery team in the renewables division, where I simulated battery requirements for ancillary services for projects in different countries, such as Switzerland, Italy and the US. Currently, I am in the hydro 4.0 team, where we digitalize Axpo’s hydroelectric power plants.

What mark did you leave behind during your traineeship? What is your “foot print”? 

In my first rotation, I optimized the workflow for the power grid maintenance. In my second rotation, I developed and implemented an algorithm that, on a weekly basis, determines what kind of ancillary services we should offer the following week. Currently I am improving the communication infrastructure of different hydroelectric power plants.

What is a typical day at work as a trainee at Axpo (highlights of your working day)?

I would say there is no such thing as a typical work day, which is a big plus for me. In my first two rotations it was mostly a combination of meetings and programming. A highlight of my current rotation in the hydro 4.0 project is that I can visit different hydroelectric power plants.

During her current assignment, Nathalie has the opportunity to visit some hydoelectric power plants on site, such as the Santa Maria dam on the Lukmanier Pass.

What was something you didn’t know before you started working at Axpo?

Coming from university, I had never had the opportunity to work on large projects such as the hydro 4.0 project, in which Axpo’s hydro power plants will be digitalized within the next few years.

What can you apply in your daily work, that you learned at university?

General skills such as critical thinking, presenting results and project management have come in handy in every rotation. Additionally, I have applied my skills in data visualization and modelling.

What do you recommend to graduates for their career start?

My advice is to take the time to figure out what your career goals and interests are. Having clarity on this saves you from pursuing the wrong options, speeds up the application process and helps you find your dream job.

Did Natahlie’s experience with her traineeship at Axpo spark your curiosity? You can find more information about it here. We look forward to hopefully meeting you during the recruitment process!

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