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IGS Young Members: Down to Earth – An Interview with Dr. Laura Carbone

In this edition of the feature, the Young Members Committee interviewed the new president of the Young Members Committee. Dr. Carbone shares her formative experiences of the geosynthetic industry and her hopes for her time as president of the Young Members Committee.

Name / Institution: Dr. Laura Carbone, HUESKER GmbH, Germany

Specialist Field: slope stability, landfill design and engineering with geosynthetics

Can you summarise your experience of working with geosynthetics?

I was first introduced to geosynthetics during a course on environmental geotechnics and soil improvement methods with Prof. Nicola Moraci at the University Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria in Italy. During this time, I developed a special interest for their use in landfill barriers on slopes and hence I decided to further study it during my Ph.D. Thanks to an international agreement for the joint supervision of the thesis, I was able to conduct my research on the interaction of geosynthetics on slopes in Italy with Prof. Nicola Moraci and in France with Prof. Jean-Pierre Gourc. During this time, I studied the friction mobilization between geosynthetics, which led me to carry out a lot of laboratory tests, some of which were with a very innovative test device at the University of Padua with Prof. Paolo Carrubba. I also had the opportunity to learn different research approaches in different countries, getting to know the IGS world and many engineers, researchers and professionals from the industry. The world of geosynthetics is attractive as it comes with infinite possibilities of innovation, design challenges and sustainable solutions, and this led my decision to con-tinue to this field of work at the engineering department of Huesker Synthetic in Germany.

What do you hope to achieve as president of the Young Members Committee?

The Young Member Committee is something I really care about and deeply believe in. Giving the young generation of engineers the opportunity to be more actively involved in the IGS tasks, to have a platform to share and exchange experiences and being more easily connected to each other is very important.
Since 2012, the year in which the committee was founded, together with Irene Inan, we carried out different activities for the young members and set up a structure enabling us to better organize our initiatives in the world. Looking at the results we have achieved throughout the years, I consider myself very satisfied but certainly, a lot still needs to be done. Many initiatives are being carried out together with the members of the International Board. During my presidency, I aim to motivate new young members to join the committee and encourage the pro-active participation of the young members locally within Chapters. I would also like to create a strong platform where young researchers and professionals can share information and provide young members with more exposure in order to open up more opportunities.

How can more young people be encouraged into the industry?

I truly believe that early theoretical education combined with practical experience is fundamental to making the best start into the industry. Thus, studying geosynthetic materials and solutions during the university courses is, in my opinion, ideal to get an idea of the wide range of possibilities that they offer.

For young graduated engineers, technical trainings and seminars are also good opportunities to learn and continually increase awareness and their knowledge about geosynthetics.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?

On a weekly basis, I do capoeira which is a mix of martial arts and dance. Other than that, I enjoy playing the piano and I like travelling.

Are you a fan of music? If so, do you have favourite artists?

I love music! I listen to a very wide range of music but particularly soul and funk music as well as Italian singer-songwriters as De André, Lucio Dalla and Niccoló Fabi.