swissnex building

Three’s Company: In Residency at swissnex San Francisco

swissnex San Francisco offers workspace and access to our network for Swiss stakeholders on sabbatical or doing independent research in the San Francisco Bay Area. These residencies are currently being held by three staff members from Swiss universities.

Francesco Panese is an associate professor of social studies of science and medicine at the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and the director of the Musée de la main, a museum for science, medicine, and society. He is on a one-year sabbatical and spent the first half of his time at swissnex Boston.

Stefanie Kaiser is Chief of Staff to the Vice President for Law and Economics at the University of Zurich (UZH). She is on sabbatical exploring the ways local universities work with student affairs as well as alumni relations. She hopes to get some insights she can take back to UZH.

Amanda Eisenhut is a graphic designer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich). During her sabbatical, she is working part-time for swissnex San Francisco infusing our communications with cutting-edge design and learning more about Social Media.

We asked our residents what they are doing here, what they miss from home, and what they’ll take back to Switzerland from their San Francisco Bay Area experience. Here’s what they said:

What is the most unexpected thing you learned here?

Stefanie: Although I already knew that alumni culture in the US is strong, the extent to which American students and alumni identify with their university really amazes me.

Francesco: The most striking thing for me is the open-mindedness of people. Every day I spend at swissnex, I see dynamic people, investing their various competencies and creativity in connecting people, institutions, and projects.

Amanda: I didn’t expect to meet so many Swiss people here. I met artists, researchers, students, and people working in Silicon Valley. It’s cool to see that Swiss people are present in the Bay Area and bring a little bit of “Swissness” to this side of the world.

Francesco Panese

Francesco Panese, Associate Professor at UNIL

What would you teleport in from your kitchen in Switzerland if you could?

Francesco: I really missed Gruyère cheese. But my dear wife found an excellent cheese shop in Berkeley—now we only miss friends and family.

Stefanie: Stängeli, the little chocolate bars. I do miss those!

Amanda: I miss fresh yeast. I would love to bake Zopf on Sundays but the dry yeast here is just no good.

What would you want to take back home from the San Francisco Bay Area?

Amanda: The Californian people!

Stefanie: I will take home many interesting impressions and connections, that’s for sure.

Francesco: Even though this may sound a bit cliché, I would like to take back a state-of-mind, this mix between cool and serious and the motto “Let’s try!” This is what I am experiencing here in research teams, in pedagogy and seminars, and in conversations with new friends.

Amanda Eisenhut

Amanda Eisenhut, Graphic Designer from ETH Zurich

What do you think people should know about swissnex that they might not already?

Amanda: I am impressed with the way people work at swissnex. The team is creative, uncomplicated, and forward-thinking.

Stefanie: I think swissnex has its own spirit: People here are curious and active and spot trends long before others do. There is always something going on here!

Francesco: I think it’s important to know that the image and reputation that Switzerland has in other countries is not created by chance. Behind the international conception of Switzerland in the fields of science, education, innovation, and art is the patient work of people who put their energy and ideas into making Switzerland more visible by connecting Swiss people, innovation, and institutions to partners around the world.