WiE-UC January Newsletter

Page 1


WiE - UC Newsletter IEEE Student Branch of the UC - Women in Engineering Affinity Group


IEEE WiE interviews Victor Barros Victor Barros is an invited assistant professor at the School of Engineering and a researcher at Algoritmi Centre, both at the University of Minho. He serves as president of the Brazilian Chapter of Association of Information Systems (BRAIS). He is an associate editor of Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), editor-in-chief of the Brazilian Journal of Education, Technology and Society (BRAJETS). He also serves as the vicechair of IEEE Women in Engineering Portugal Section (IEEE WiE) and chair of the SIG "Gender Equality in IST" of the Portuguese Association for Information Systems (PTAIS). 1. You started your career path by taking a degree in Informatics. How did you choose to pursue that path? Did you ever consider other options? I was always a very curious person. Exploring the universe of Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics have always been my passion since childhood. I always liked numbers, to create things and to experiment with new solutions. I was fascinated with the way everything worked. I believe that this directed me immensely towards the universe of Informatics because, besides being able to explore this mathematical and logical side of me, I would also have the opportunity to explore this my spirit of wanting to know more about the world.

However, I must confess that my first option was Computer Engineering because I thought I would learn how to build computers. Despite my course being more focused on Computer Science and not Engineering, I managed to acquire other competencies and skills, mainly in the universe of research, and this was incredible for my career. 2. You have a lot of experience in different roles, but mainly as a professor and researcher. What were the main reasons that made you choose that career? I started with projects in environmental tfghhfghe

preservation, studying the environmental impacts of a road that passed within an area of preservation. Another research investigated the impact of the hospital closure on my city’s population. As you can see, research is a path that I started exploring in my youth. And I never stopped! I participated in more than seven research projects during my undergrad studies, being the researcher responsible for three of them and cosupervisor in the others. Research is an integral part of my career! Research was a natural thing to me, so was teaching... I remember being, since high school, a volunteer to help colleagues who had difficulties in chemistry, physics, and mathematics. As soon as I entered university, I continued to give this support to my colleagues. In my second year, I was invited to teach computer classes in a community project that involved people who were many years out of school, one group being 30-50 years old and the other over 50 years old. It was a unique experience in my life. Teaching has its complexity and requires an enormous sensitivity towards students. I can say that it was the biggest lesson I had ever in my life. 3. When did you first hear about IEEE and WiE? Did you become interested in joining right away?


I came to know IEEE with an article submission to a prestigious magazine of them (IEEE Transactions on Communications), still at the end of my undergrad studies. But, I confess that I have never imagined that one day I would become an effective part of what is the largest scientific society in the world. In 2014, I was invited to be part of the Intersociety Cooperation Committee of the IEEE Education Society and it was then that a few years later I met the IEEE WiE. 4. What were your goals when joining WiE? And how did you become vicechair? Despite my recent more active integration in IEEE WiE, this concern with the inclusion of women in engineering and technology is not something new for me.

In 2011/12, when I was a teacher in Brazil, I participated in a Canadian project that provided training in various areas including informatics - for women looking for an opportunity in the job market. It was by knowing a little about the history of each one of them that I gained some sensitivity on the topic which, in 2017, gave me the opportunity to be a researcher fellow in an H2020 Project, the EQUAL-IST. The Gender Equality Plans for Information Sciences and Technology Research Institutions aimed at introducing structural changes to enhance gender equality in Information Sciences and Technology (IST) in research institutions. With this project, I was able to better understand all the disparity existing between men and women in engineering and technologies. This problem is related to gender stereotypes, which means that we have continuously proposed initiatives that promote greater awareness of the scope of the thethe

concept of equality in society, deconstructing stereotypes and any other generalized and socially "valued" representations on this theme. 5. What do you think is the most relevant role of Student Branches in WiE? Our branches allow students to perform an active and critical representation in society and work collectively in pursuit of common goals. This develops in the individual a unique critical thinking capacity that undoubtedly fosters the development of some very important skills for their professional growth, but also for your own personal development. Skills like leadership, teamwork, selfconfidence, are some of them.

The involvement of these students in communities like IEEE WiE generates positive change in society, inspiring others to follow. Above all, their academic and professional interests, is something surprising that, even though it is mainly aimed at the participation of women in engineering, this involvement promotes values that go much further, especially by fostering a bond of friendship between its members at such a crucial time in their lives that it is their time at university. 6. Even though WiE is not gender exclusive, men usually don’t join thinking it is a ‘girls’ thing. What would you say is the most important role of men in WiE? Undoubtedly, IEEE WiE does not discuss exclusively gender, but the importance of engineering for society. Having men take part in this type of initiative demystifies understandings that initiatives, like IEEE WiE, that promote the inclusion and involvement of more women into engineering is something only for women.


In my point of view, we have to bring the understanding that living socially on an equal basis means that we want to provide opportunity and quality of life for all our fellows, without exception. Deconstructing gender stereotypes and ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities to develop, explore, and make use of their talents. Socially learned behaviours, which make its members perceive certain activities as belonging to men or women, valuing thethe

them differently, must be rebuilt and reframed. When we understand this, we have to encourage each and every individual to be an agent of change in society and, in my view, this is what the WiE stands for.

Filipa Moreira

Curiosity of the month... By Mariana Moreira

You all know Lisa Krudow, best known as Phoebe Buffay, from the TV Show Friends, for which she earned an Emmy Award in 1998 and a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2000. What you probably don’t know is her science background. She was born on July 30, 1963, in Encino, California. After earning a degree in Biology from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, Lisa returned to Los Angeles to follow a career in research and assist her father, Lee Kudrow, a world-renowned headache specialist who founded the California Medical Clinic for Headache. Lisa worked with him on a project to determine if left or right-handedness affects migraines. When she had already decided she wanted to pursue an acting career, the paper was published, in the same year that Friends debuted on TV. Messinger, H. B., Messinger, M. I., Kudrow, L., & Kudrow, L. V. 1994. Handedness and headache. Cephalalgia 14, 64–67.



Achievement MARIA FĂ TIMA LUCAS Maria FĂĄtima Lucas received the 2020 European Union Prize for Women Innovators in September 2020, during the European Research and Innovation Days. This prize is given to women who successfully developed their innovative ideas in science and by doing so, inspire more women to pursue careers in this field. She holds a bachelor degree in Chemistry and is the co-founder and CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Zymvol Biomodeling, a company that works in the discovery and design of enzymes through molecular 2017

Filipa Moreira


modelling software. It was founded in 2017 and has grown to have clients in various countries, working with other companies in diverse areas such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and animal feed.

Biography SALLY RIDE Sally Kristen Ride, born on May 26, 1951, in Encino, California, was raised in a loving home with the encouragement to follow her individual interests. In her childhood, Ride was an avid tennis player, and had dreams of becoming a professional. She won a partial tennis scholarship to the Westlake School for Girls, a prep school in Los Angeles, where she graduated in 1968. While in her teens, Ride was ranked in the top 20 nationally on the junior tennis circuit. After a brief foray into professional tennis, she determined that college was a better option for her, and enrolled at Stanford University, where she double graduated in Physics and English. Ride received bachelor's degrees in both subjects in 1973 and she continued to study Physics at the university, earning a master's degree in 1975 and a Ph.D. in 1978.


In 1977, Ride answered a newspaper ad placed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) inviting candidates to the astronaut program, and that for the first time, women could apply. NASA started a search for young scientists to serve as "mission specialists" on future space flights by realizing that technological and scientific skills were as important to the future of the Space Program as good pilots. Ride was selected as one of NASA's first six female astronauts and began spaceflight training in 1978.


Ride started her aeronautics career on the ground, serving as a capsule communicator (CAPCOM) as part of the ground-support crew for the second and third shuttle flights, in November 1981 and March 1982, respectively. On June 18, 1983, she became the first American woman in space, and the youngest American in space, by being one of five crew members aboard the space shuttle Challenger. Before her launch, Dr. Ride was interviewed several times about her preparation for going into space. Among questions about her training, she was also asked questions about how space was going to affect her ability to reproduce, and what kind of makeup she was going to take on the mission. She handled the questions with grace, and later said, “It’s too bad this is such a big deal. It’s too bad our society isn’t further along.” The mission took one week to complete and her job was to work the robotic arm to help put satellites into space. She flew on the space shuttle again in 1984 as a mission specialist. After she left NASA in 1987, Ride joined Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control jh

and later became the director of the California Space Institute at the University of California, San Diego, as well as a professor of physics at the school in 1989. Believing that it was important to encourage students, especially girls, to embrace the study of science, she cofounded Sally Ride Science, a science outreach company, in 2001, with her partner, Tam O'Shaughnessy. For her contributions to the field of science and space exploration, Ride received many honors, including the NASA Space Flight Medal and the NCAA's Theodore Roosevelt Award. She was also added to the National Women's Hall of Fame and the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Ride died on July 23, 2012, at the age of 61 following a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She will always be remembered as a pioneering astronaut who went where no other American woman had gone before.

Rita Mendes


Happy New Year!

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.