As an international school, our alumni go on to work around the world–with occasional aspirations beyond it.

Ainsley Trahan – Class of 2015

Ainsley Trahan was an ISL student for nine years and graduated in 2015. She is a Fulbright Scholar in India where she researches disaster management. Her project is titled, ‘A Process Evaluation of Ahmedabad’s Heat Action Plan: Communication and Service Provision to Female Vendors and Construction Workers.’

“There is not enough focus on gender in the disaster management sphere, making this both a very interesting and necessary area for research,” Ainsley said. “I am hoping to fill a gap through my research.

“I feel incredibly lucky to be conducting original research in a field I have long dreamed of working in, upon my first year after graduating university.”

Ainsley says it has always been important to be inspired by her work and to make a positive impact. “Contributing to scholarship on heatwaves in a world that is getting hotter
each year fills this niche. Through conducting interviews with women working as construction workers and vendors in a city that annually experiences dangerously high temperatures, I am quickly and often reminded of the human capacity for adaptation
and resilience.”

Ainsley also travelled over the past year. “I’m living in Mumbai, conducting fieldwork in Ahmedabad, have meetings lined up in Delhi and am presenting at a conference in Kochi next week. There’s so much to learn everywhere I go.”

While taking classes at Georgetown, Ainsley also worked on a report for the World Bank. “It was a seven-month process, and hugely rewarding.”

She was a contributing author and editor for content that examined irrigation reform in Maharashtra, India, following the implementation of the World Bank’s Maharashtra Water Sector Improvement Project. “It was a great opportunity to work alongside a major development actor. Writing this report exposed me to many key issues in the field.”

Zsofi Igo (Class of 2016)

Zsofi is currently pursuing her passion and finishing her master’s degree at Durham University specializing in astrophysics and studying quasars and black holes.

A memorable part of her ISL experience was the close relationships she fostered with her teachers. “I wouldn’t be doing a masters in physics if it wasn’t for inspirational teachers who taught me content which made little sense at the time in an engaging way. Mr Ribas always told us if physics wasn’t making sense, then we were doing it right.”

After a 3-month traineeship at the European Space Agency in Madrid, Zsofi entered the astrophysics community by publishing a paper.

“Before starting the internship, I didn’t have much exposure to the field, but with the help of my amazing supervisor, we implemented a completely innovative way to search for so-called UFOs in black holes.”

These UFOs are not ‘unidentified flying objects’ but ‘ultra-fast outflows’, high-speed winds that originate very close to the black hole.

Zsofi is also writing her master’s thesis. “The work I’m doing with the team of professors and postdocs at Durham could revolutionize the way we view black holes as we are working to find more empirical evidence for a competing evolutionary paradigm.”

What intrigues her most is “understanding how every piece fits together in the massive puzzle that is our universe.”

She is also excited that she could “go into the space industry and actually be a part of sending rockets to space or planning a scientific mission to Mars or other planets to search for life, or who knows what else!”

She hopes to further the work she started with her first paper, stay actively involved in research, and co-author more papers.

Gradient Issue #2: The magazine of the International School of Lausanne

In this edition, we explore how our community has coped during this special year to make the best of it. We also have a special section on multilingualism and how it can both benefit and challenge our students.