Marina Rejkuba: biography

Last update: September 2017

I was born in Zagreb, Croatia, and I lived there until graduating from the Classical Gymnasium. Marina For the first year of university I moved to nearby Slovenia in 1991, where I started the physics study at the University of Ljubljana. Returning to Zagreb in 1992 I continued from the second year the studies at the University of Zagreb, at the Physics Faculty. During that time I became interested in astronomy, and I took all courses in astronomy and astrophysics offered at the University. Furthermore I gained some more practical experience through Visnjan Observatory, which then led me to Italy for my undergraduate thesis work. I spent between 1996-1998 about two and a half years at the Asiago Observatory, in Italy, observing and studying mostly symbiotic variables, a sub-class of cataclysmic variable stars. Having graduated in Physics from the University of Zagreb in 1998, I moved to Santiago, Chile, for the postgraduate study in physics, specializing in astrophysics. I obtained the PhD in Physics at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile in 2002. Between 2000-2002, I spent two years as an ESO PhD Student in Garching, Germany. I liked it so much that I returned there as an ESO fellow in the fall of 2002. During my Fellowship in ESO, Garching, I went frequently to Paranal and supported Science Operations on the VLT, supporting day time operations and running the instruments on UT2.
I joined the ESO User Support Departmnet (USD) in March 2005. My duties in USD included support for service mode users of FORS1/FORS2, VIMOS, FLAMES, and VIRCAM instruments, contributions to the respective Instrument Operations Teams, and active participation in the ESO Survey Team, which oversees the implementation, execution and deliverables from large Public Survey observing programmes at ESO. In 2008 I became the Project Scientist responsible for the requirements and evolution of the observation handling tools (OHS). We have developed a new generation of Phase 2 Preparation Tool version 3 (P2PP3) used by the PIs or their Phase 2 delegates to prepare their observations, as well as the Observation Tool version 3 (OT3) used by the observatory staff to review and execute service mode observations. Originally these tools were developed for imaging public surveys that started in 2010 on VISTA and 2011 on VST, but were then extended for use on all Paranal telescopes in 2012. A new observations execution reporting tool - the so called (Garching) Night Log Tool or gNLT, deployed in 2011, facilitates and automatizes both harvesting information on the observations' execution and reporting for the users. In 2014 I initiated a new project that is bringing further improvements and evolving the observation preparation and execution tools, by adding new functionalities and employing modern technological solutions. In October 2016 the project achieved its first milestone with the deployment of the web-based phase 2 preparation tool along with a new visitor Observing Tool (so-called vOT4).
In April 2013 I became a Junior Principal Investigator at the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Garching Research Campus.
Between 2012-2015 I was the line manager for the User Support Astronomers Group (USG) in USD and within this role I was responsible to optimize resources, distribute the day-to-day duties and supervise the daily support work of the USG members. In 2015 I took up the responsibility for the entire department as the USD head, leading the User Support astronomers and Operations Support Groups.