Interview 10

Melissa Telong


Melissa Telong is an engineer specializing in construction chemistry and physics. She has been researching sustainable building materials at BAM since 2019. Together with colleagues from the LeBeDigital team, she is working on the development of an ontology for the concrete production process chain.

How do you explain your work, e.g., the creation of an ontology, in simple terms to your friends and family?

I often tell my family and friends: each of us is part of an ontology. Suppose there are two main classes, 'human' and 'family', each with subclasses 'woman/girl' and 'man/boy', as well as 'parents' and 'children'. With the associated object and data properties, each of us is certainly a child at birth, with two parents and either a girl or a boy.

Why do you work in science?

For me, science means living the future in the present and expressing your creativity in the process. That's why I really enjoy working in science.

Would you share with us your favourite experience as a researcher?

One of my favourite experiences as a researcher was the day I made a mortar planter from scratch with nkui in BAM's mortar laboratory. Nkui is the bark of the Triumfetta Pentandra plant, which is very common in Cameroon and is used for a popular dish. Among other things, its very slimy state makes mortar and concrete very easy to work with when it is fresh.

What are your hopes for your work as a researcher in the field of materials science?

For the future, I hope that the gap between academia and industry will continue to close: More collaborations, more opportunities to move from academia to industry and vice versa.

What do you do when you are not working/researching?

When I'm not busy with research, I like to work on passing on my knowledge to the next generation. The generations after us would benefit if they learnt from our mistakes and took inspiration from our achievements.