Stefania is a PhD student in the Construction Information Technology Group of the Laing O’Rourke Centre
Background – how did you get into Engineering?
Although I grew up in a family of medical doctors, at school I really enjoyed Maths and Physics more than Biology and Chemistry. When I was considering for applying to University, I met a Professor in Civil Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, who attracted my interest to that course. I was fascinated with his narrations about building designs that he had participated in and the impact those had on my city.
I became more interested with transportation after taking relevant courses and because it’s a domain that helps connect people. This background and my interest in photography led to my current research, which is in the fields of Image Processing and Computer Vision for Transportation infrastructure.
What are you doing now and what are your plans for the future?
Currently I am a PhD student in the Construction Information Technology group of the Laing O’Rourke Center. The aim of my group is to bring automation to civil engineering applications. My project is on automating the process of road condition monitoring using parking cameras. I recently submitted my thesis and will have my viva soon. After Cambridge, I will move to the US where I have accepted a job with Trimble Inc. as an Applications Engineer.
What motivates/interests you?
I love learning and expanding my horizons! I also love solving problems and working on projects that help in improving people’s everyday lives. I am very interested in technology and cutting edge solutions and how those can be used for alleviating or overcoming current problems/inefficient processes. I am also very interested in outreach activities and the idea of introducing children, and especially young women, to Engineering. . Another interest of mine is the promotion of Women in Leadership. It is quite rare to come upon a woman in the higher positions of a company, and that is something I would like to change.
How have you overcome challenges/knockbacks in your career?
I am very lucky to have always had the support of my family. They never treated me as a girl, but as an individual who has aspirations, goals and dreams. Thankfully, the same holds for my supervisor who always encouraged me not to fear anything and push my boundaries. I should also mention the numerous sources of support that not only the Department, but the University and my College provided.
Do you have any advice for women who considering studying/pursuing a career in Engineering?
Don’t be afraid of Engineering. Women in Engineering might be a minority, but it can change and even if it doesn’t it shouldn’t be an obstacle for you. If you like Engineering and you love what you do, just believe in yourself and you will thrive!