After more than a year at Oregon State, married couple Davide Lazzati (Physics) and Catalina Segura (Forest Engineering, Resources and Management) still look back on their story and agree that it sounds like a fairy tale.
The two met in Colorado where Lazzati worked as a post-doc in Physics; Segura studied geography.
The academics were in different stages of their careers and in completely different departments, but they bonded over a love of the outdoors: skiing, hiking and cycling. After Segura finished her Ph.D. the couple had a baby and moved from their first home together in Colorado to North Carolina. Lazzati was offered a tenure-track job there while Segura accepted a postdoctoral research position. Both of them knew the opportunities for her there were slim, and the possibility of ending up at the same institution was next to impossible.
“Family is the most important thing to us,” Segura says. “But you also have to be happy with your own accomplishments.”
If one of them weren’t able to work for an extended period of time, or if the family found themselves split while each of them pursued separate opportunities, Segura says, “It would be a disaster!”
In North Carolina, the family longed for better opportunities out West, closer to where they’d met and closer to the outdoor settings they loved.
After dozens of applications, Segura was thrilled to interview for an assistant professor position at Oregon State in Forest Engineering, Resources and Management. She says she received help from a member of the search committee to know when in the interview process to bring up her partner. Once the University knew about Lazzati and his accomplishments in the fields of astronomy and physics, they began the process of hiring him through the Dual Career Hiring Initiative. This DCHI is funded by dollars allocated for tenure-track hires. When a tenure-line faculty member recruited for a position has partner who is eligible for a tenure-line position at Oregon State University, the Provost will support the partner hire as part of a collaboration with academic units. After completing an interview process, Lazzati was offered an associate professor position.
“It was amazing how fast the process worked,” Segura remembers. “It was so efficient to be able to get two deans, two heads and a provost all on the same page.”
Lazzati has been able to forge new ground in the College of Science as an astronomer studying gamma-ray bursts and the formation of cosmic dust.
“There wasn’t much astronomy going on before I got here,” Lazzati admits. “But everyone in the physics department was so welcoming. They go the extra mile to make space and to understand my needs.”
The couple has two children and love to spend time together outside as often as possible hiking, camping and riding bikes.
“We are very happy,” Lazzati says. “We feel lucky to be here.”