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February 11, 2022

More than 40 people attended the event organized by IMDEA Software on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science

The researchers Thaleia Doudali, Alessandra Gorla, Niki Vazou, Silvia Sebastián (from Institute IMDEA Software) and Clara Benac (Computer Engineering Professor at the Polytechnic University of Madrid) participated as panelists at the event organized by IMDEA Software Institute on the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science: “Discussion with female researchers: why to consider and how to navigate a career in research”.

The event was hybrid, some students attended in person and most of them followed the discussion via streaming.

Thaleia Doudali, Assistant Professor at the Institute, conducted the event that began with an introduction of who the panelists are and how they got to where they are today.

They talked about how frustrating it is when you don’t get a paper accepted at a major conference and warned that it happens a lot. But that it is necessary to take it philosophically, follow the advice of supervisors and continue to improve that work.

For Alessandra (Assistant Professor at the Institute), her best moment was when the head of security at Google wrote an email to her, after she had published a paper, to invite her to work with them and implement what they had been doing. That was when she really understood how linked research is to industry, how useful research really is and how it can be applied in practice.

According to Clara Benac (Professor of Computer Science, UPM), the best thing about research is the freedom to decide what you want to do and to solve challenging problems, which in some cases can save lives.

In the case of Silvia (PhD student at the Institute), her beginnings in the world of research started out of her own curiosity. She had no idea what to do and so she started talking to some faculty members at University and discovered topics they were working on that she was passionate about.

Thaleia had her role models in her own home, her older siblings. They were enthusiastic about their career in computer science and electrical engineering and played an important role in the path she chosed. Even she has worked in companies during her PhD, she ended up deciding to follow her path in research given her admiration for her supervisor as well as the freedom in choosing topics to work on.

Niki’s (Assistant Professor at the Institute) PhD went really smoothly, in part, because she had such a good connection with her supervisor. She trusted him and was confident that the work they were doing was good. No matter how much her work was rejected on multiple occasions, she never fell apart.