Ifigeneia Metaxa earned her doctorate and undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. Here she shares a little about her career and the inspiration behind it.
What is your specific area of STEM?
How would you explain your STEM field to young girls?
I coordinate everything that happens in research and development projects, factories, organise multi-national teams, work in a challenging and inspiring environment.
What traits might a child possess that may indicate an interest or aptitude for your STEM field?
Do you like construction toys? Did you enjoy looking through the microscope? Do you get that thrill when you got the right answer in math?
What did you know about your STEM field when you were a child?
My father encouraged me to play with "boy toys", so toys like Legos, Playmobil and other construction and battle toys. All of this alongside with more "girl toys". So, avoid labels! A teacher who loved chemistry inspired me to look into this poetic world (yes, chemistry). Also, everyone who told me that chemical engineering was not for girls, encouraged me to prove them wrong!
Why did you choose your STEM field? Were you inspired by someone?
I was inspired by teachers, I asked women of the field about their experiences (please do that!). I wanted to choose a profession that was versatile and would offer more job opportunities.
What are some really cool things that people in your profession work on?
Want to turn used cooking oil to fuel? How about playing with reaaaally small (nano) diamonds? Are you in to mobile app development? Do you want to work with cool technologies, such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Robots interacting with humans, voice to text, blockchain (behind bitcoin), decision support systems, semantics? It gets exciting!
What inspirational message would you give young girls to inspire them to pursue STEM?
Find what you are passionate about and go for it! STEM is not difficult, it is exciting and rewarding. You just need to learn the way to approach this wonderful world. Oh, and yes, it is cool!
Thank you for contributing, Ifigeneia!
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