A First-Time SCinet Volunteer’s Experience: Christian Melzer

Christian Melzer
Christian Melzer on the show floor during SCinet set up week.

Meet Christian: A First-Time SCinet Student Volunteer

Christian Melzer is a second semester Masters student at Heidelberg University, Germany. He learned about SC through a co-worker at his school; intrigued he filled out the application, and was selected to participate in the SCinet program. His school offered him full travel support, which enabled him to attend. Christian said,

“Die SC hat die Rechnungen für das Hotel und das Essen übernommen und die Universität hat für die Reise bezahlt. Ich war zuvor noch nie in Amerika.”

(“SC covered my housing and table expenses, my school paid for my travel… I had never been to America”.)


Christian Worked on the Fiber Team

Christian was selected to participate on two teams, the fiber team and the help desk team. When Christian arrived, he participated in presentations on how to do the work required both for teams. He was then paired with an alumni student from the fiber team and a professional volunteer from the help desk team, who were there to guide him through his tasks. As a first-time SC volunteer, he found their guidance indispensable, learned from them, and networked.

During the first week, he worked on the fiber team helping with SCinet staging. Christian said,

“Ich hatte keine Ahnung, was mich erwarten würde. Deshalb habe ich einen ehemaligen Freiwilligen über seine Erfahrungen gefragt. Er hat mir erzählt, dass wir Glasfaser verlegen und sie reparieren würden. Das haben wir dann auch getan, aber noch viel mehr. Ich habe die anderen Freiwilligen gut kennengelernt. Wir wussten immer, was wir tun konnten und haben es erledigt und dabei viel Spaß gehabt.”

(“I had no idea what to expect, so I asked previous volunteers about their experience. I was told that we would lay out the fiber on the floor and repair it. It ended up being that, but much more. I got to know the other volunteers that were there, we knew what to do, and then did it with a lot of fun.”)


Creating Community at the Help Desk

The second week of the show, he worked on the help desk team. He found that challenging at first, as most of the professionals had been working on setting up the show for a long time, and he had to learn everything in a day. It was also a challenge to oversee the ordered connection speeds of the booths (1Gbps, 10 Gbps, 100 Gbps or even 400 Gbps).

“Wir Studenten haben gemeinsam die Antworten mit den gegebenen Tools recherchiert. Geholfen haben uns auch die anderen freiwilligen Mitarbeiter, damit wir den Leuten besser helfen konnten. Es war viel Teamwork und hat uns die Möglichkeit gegeben, mit Leuten aus den entsprechenden Berufen zu reden, mit denen wir während der ganzen Zeit per Du waren. Wir konnten mit ihnen nett sowohl über Privates, als auch über die Arbeit reden.”

(“We as students worked together to research the answers in the tools that were provided to us, we also counted on the professional volunteers to answer our questions, to better help the attendees. This was teamwork, and it also gave us the opportunity to interact with highly competent people, whom we were on first name basis with, throughout the event. We were able to interact with these professionals in a friendly manner about life and work.”)


Value in Participating & Relationship Building

What he liked the most was seeing the “behind-the-scenes” workings that are needed for a show like this. He said that he had been to a few smaller shows in Germany, and had no idea how things were organized and all the work that went into such an event. Most of all, he liked the connections that he made, and the socializing aspect of this experience

“Wir waren immer beschäftigt, aber auf eine spaßige, gute Weise.”

(We were always busy, in a fun productive way.”)

Christian never thought he would ever aspire to study in the USA, and he is now considering this option. His SC volunteer experience helped him create a network of international peers, with same objectives, as well as a network of professionals, whom he knows he can contact for referrals at any time.

He is definitely applying to be an SC19 Student Volunteer.


Opportunities Await for Students at SC

Inspired by Christian’s story? Learn how you can apply to be a student volunteer and the many other opportunities available to students through the Students@SC program.


Christine Baissac-Hayden, SC19 Students@SC Communications Liaison (Easy English 4 All)

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Christine Baissac-Hayden created Easy English 4 All, which provides multilingual communication tools for clients from diverse backgrounds in the renewable energy, medical, defense, marine science, and film industries. Easy English 4 All provides English as a Second Language (ESL), French, Spanish and Japanese tutoring from certified native-speaking teachers and organizes international student exchanges with personalized objectives and goals.

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