WiE-UC May Newsletter

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ISSUE NO. 1 | MAY 2020

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

ISSUE NO. 1 | MAY. 2020

IEEE Interviews Prof. Catarina Silva Catarina Silva received the B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering, and the M.Sc and Ph.D in Informatics Engineering degrees from the University of Coimbra, in 1997, 2000, and 2009, respectively. Currently, she is a Professor at University of Coimbra, researcher in the Centre for Informatics and Systems (CISUC), University of Coimbra, and the more recent elected chair of the Executive Committee of IEEE Portugal Section.

1. Tell us a bit about your research career since you finish your M.Sc.. Why did you decide to pursue a research career (Ph.D.)? What are your main research interests? When I finished my M.Sc. I was already determined to pursue a Ph.D. However, I was already teaching and for about a year I focused on teaching, which took my full attention. Research has been a given early in my academic path, the thing I was certain, that I would like to be, what at the time I called “a scientist”. My research areas are related to computing, namely, intelligent systems, initially with robots, now more with digital data, as text and images. 2. How and when did you start at IEEE? (Have you started as a student member? Which chapter did you take part in? Have you also been a member of an affinity group? If yes, which one?) I enrolled in IEEE as student member, initially due to the access to conferences and papers. After a while a realized that there was much more to gain in the networking and scientific discussions that IEEE fosters. I am a member of WiE and CIS. 3. What can you say to encourage young students to ingress in IEEE as student members? In your point of view, what are the main advantages to be part of IEEE as a student member? Besides the obvious scientific benefits, I would say that meeting interesting people, learning, and communicating in a global manner are exciting for any young savvy mind. 4. What are the most challenging aspects of

a woman in science? And the most gratifying ones? I recently watched a documentary where people (men and women) stated that a woman in the same position as a man is perceived to earn less and have a higher IQ. This, I think, is a very widespread conjecture that is found to be true in still too many cases. On the other hand, whenever breaches are discovered in this mentality, there’s hope again. 5. Have you ever felt any kind of discrimination (during your academic and professional career) for being a woman? Well, I have never been frontally and formally discriminated. Working as a public servant in Portugal, the wages are equal by law for the same position. Nevertheless, there have been sensitive awkward situations, which are fortunately scarcer as time goes by. 6. Can you tell us someone who is an inspiration to you? I would have to say that these days I value immensely the capacity to think for yourself and fight for what you believe in. We are in general too comfortable or too fragile to do that. 7. At last, what do you expect for the future? At these difficult lockdown times, let me end with a message of hope that we all overcome these challenges, I also hope that we came out stronger, more prepared, and with a more accurate sense of what is important.

WiE-UC wishes Prof. Catarina the best of luck for this new challenge.

ISSUE NO. 1 | MAY. 2020

Biography MARIA DE SOUSA named “ecotaxis”. In the following year, she completed her PhD in Immunology, in the University of Glasgow.


Maria Ângela Brito de Sousa, born on October 17th, 1939, was a portuguese immunologist, writer and professor. She graduated in 1963 from the Universidade de Lisboa, with a Medicine degree. For two years, she worked as a researcher at the Experimental Biology Laboratory, at the Mill Hill Institute, London, with a scholarship from the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. Her research led to a groundbreaking paradigm shift in the field of Immunology: up until 1964, it was believed that all types of lymphocytes originated in the thymus, but Maria de Sousa proved this theory was wrong. Her discovery culminated in the publication of two articles in two of the most prestigious scientific journals, specifically the Journal of Experimental Medicine and Nature. Years later, Maria de Sousa moved to Glasgow where, in 1971, she discovered the phenomenon by which lymphocytes with different origins migrate to specific areas in the peripheral lymphoid organs, which she

In 1975, she moved to the USA where she continued her research in the Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, Cornell University Medical School and Harvard University Medical School. She returned to Portugal in 1984 to study hereditary hemochromatosis, a disease with a higher prevalence in the north of the country. She then became a Full Professor at Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar (ICBAS) and a researcher at Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde (i3s). Throughout her remarkable career, she received countless honors and awards like the Grande Prémio Bial da Medicina (1995) and the Medalha de Ouro de Mérito Científico (2009). In addition, she significantly contributed to the development of science in Portugal, by creating and implementing multiple scientific programs. Maria de Sousa passed away on April 14th 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her legacy, now more than ever, will forever be cherished.



Katherine Bouman is a Rosenberg Scholar and an Assistant Professor at the California Institute of Technology, USA. Born in 1989 in West Lafayette, Indiana, she studied electrical engineering in University of Michigan in 2011, where she graduated cum laude. She has a MSc degree in the same field from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Between 2016 and 2019, while enrolled in her Ph.D. at MIT, she led the development of an algorithm known as Continuous HighResolution Image Reconstruction using Patch Priors (CHIRP), which was used to obtain the first-ever image of a black hole using the Event Horizon Telescope. MIT PHOTOGRAPH

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