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William Cavazza

Position and company: Professor, University of Bologna
Country of work: Italy
Degree Attained at UCLA: MS in Geology and PhD in Geology
Graduation Year: 1985 and 1989
How did the coursework and research you did while a student at UCLA prepare you for an international career?
Post-graduate study at UCLA was a turning point in my career and overall personal development. The Department of Earth, Planetary & Space Science was, and still is, characterized by a broad diversity in faculty members and students. In addition, visiting scholars from abroad were numerous and gave an international flavor to departmental life. Cutting-edge research is international by definition and it was only natural for me to pursue a career which involved traveling and global interactions.
Can you speak a little bit about your career and how it has progressed since graduating from UCLA?
Throughout my work-life I have combined international research and organizational work. I have cooperated with geologists from seventeen countries and worked with research institutions on all continents, bar Antarctica. As to executive work, I chaired the Scientific Board of the UNESCO International Geoscience Program and was Vice-President of the International Union of Geological Sciences, an NGO representing about a million geoscientists worldwide.
What would you say to a UCLA student who is planning on having an international career?
An international career may provide great opportunities but it requires specific personality traits. Being open-minded and diplomatic are prerequisites, as cultural differences in other countries have a profound impact on the working environment and society at large. These are mostly innate skills: a student planning on having an international career should consider dispassionately whether or not she/he possesses such skills. I would add that a partner with the same mindset is a great advantage.

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