OAR: When did you come to CERN as a Summer Student and what did you work on?
Stuart: I was in the class of 1996. I was assigned to work with the INFN Pisa group under Piero Giorgio Verdini. The group was working on silicon detectors for the CMS Collaboration. I produced software for data acquisition on their experiment in west area.
OAR: What is your best memory of working at CERN?
Stuart: There was a great sense of satisfaction hearing the SPS monitor going through its cycles and then seeing my program display a crude image of what the experiment was picking up from the beam.
OAR: What are you currently doing and where are you located?
Stuart: I am a principal software engineer specialising on virtual machines runtimes, currently working on OpenJDK for Arm in Cambridge, UK. I have had a particular interest in computer architecture, so it is great to be working at Arm.
OAR: What skills did you develop during your CERN Summer Student experience, which have been particularly useful in your subsequent career trajectory?
Stuart: As my visit to CERN was also my first time in a foreign country, so I would have to say the biggest impact to me was meeting and making friends with people from many nations, as well as working with them. Knowing how to work with people from a different background has been invaluable.
OAR: What skills did you need to develop further when you left CERN to face your next challenge?
Stuart: As I moved into commercial software development after graduation, understanding software development in the real world was the biggest challenge.
OAR: Would you recommend the CERN Summer Student programme to other people?
Stuart: While I don't know how much the programme has changed since 1996, I still recommend it.
OAR: What advice would you give your younger self?
Stuart: Be more assertive, don't get comfortable, and take more risks!
OAR: Do you still follow up on what’s going on at CERN?
Stuart: I do, whether that be in the news, or publications such as the Cern Courier on occasion. The alumni network is a good source of news too.
OAR: In your opinion, what is the unique value of the CERN Alumni Network?
Stuart: While I haven't been successful in doing so yet, I've been interested in recruiting talented candidates for positions in my team. Being able to reach out to such a unique talent pool is a great opportunity.
OAR: What is your proudest achievement?
Stuart: All of the version 1.0s, the first versions that I've done in my career!