Matthias Gehrke, C-T Assistant
What I like most about my job is the diversity and the analytical work.
What is your job?
I work in the Department of Construction Materials and Construction Chemistry, where I am responsible for the facilities of the chemical-mineralogical laboratories. There, I work with doctoral students and bachelor's and master's students as well as with all other employees who use the laboratory. Thereby, I am a contact person for questions and support them in performing experiments. At the same time, I am the radiation protection officer in my department. I therefore ensure X-ray safety on site.
Among other things, I am also responsible for purchasing. This means that I procure a large part of the chemicals and consumables for the laboratories. This can sometimes be very difficult for non-experts. That's why it has proved practical for me to order the required substances myself in the right quantities via the SAP system.
At the same time, your institute is also home to the Official Materials Testing Institute.
Yes, exactly. This means that we primarily test building materials and samples taken for the various clients. For example, if curbs are to be installed, samples are sent to our laboratory in advance. We then check, among other things, whether they are frost-resistant. Even if a commercial building is to be built, we receive concrete cubes in advance as samples for strength testing. These tests are used for quality control and assurance. We can also be contracted by private individuals to test building materials or other materials.
What is the difference between working in the public sector and working for a commercial employer?
Here, at the University of Kassel, I have the opportunity to actually participate in research. My particular area of interest is research into the use of sugar cane ash as a cement substitute. To this end, I have already been able to travel to Cuba several times to work with scientists at the University of Santa Clara on the development of concrete from rice husk and sugar cane ashes. I have contributed to several scientific publications on this topic. I am very grateful for these opportunities.
What do you particularly appreciate about the University of Kassel as an employer?
What I particularly like about my work is the diversity and the analytical work. I have been working at the University of Kassel for 28 years now and am still confronted with new questions and can actively participate in research.
I also appreciate the state ticket. I like to go to the surrounding area on weekends or even to Frankfurt from time to time, where I recently went to see the Senckenberg Natural History Museum and the Palmengarten. It's fulfilling work all around.