Data engineer, MIcompany Amsterdam
And - Co-founder, first national science festival in Romania. And Masters, Mathematics, University of Oxford
We are born in a time of change, when we can solve so many problems with the use of technology and science so we must make sure we are part of it!
What do you do?
Why did you choose this field?
I was always a person who wanted to be a problem solver and doing a maths degree taught me a lot about critical thinking and making sure to prove my assumptions. However I wanted to have more interaction with the problems that people face in their everyday life so I decided to apply all that knowledge in business. Working in a data science position is a fulfilling position to be in as you can see how every project that you finish is really making a positive contribution to the way people work and think.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
The project I am most proud of is founding the first national science festival in my homecountry. Romania is a country where theoretical sciences are very well taught in schools but very little time is spent on the applied side of sciences. The need to show children how they will apply in real life what is taught in schools made me promote the idea of a science festival where passionate professors and students meet to show others the interesting applications of each subject. I started promoting it and gathering a team of volunteers and sponsors. I was extremely proud to have more than 100 volunteers for the first event, with 100 more joining for the second city.
This project has made me realise that I have made an impact in people’s lives when a third city asked to join in and we’ve managed to increase the size of the festival reaching more than 8,000 people in 3 different parts of the country in just a year. Students who got involved as volunteers even decided to do smaller sized events in their schools with our support. Looking back, I would tell younger Eliza: "If you have an idea on how to help others, go for it! Write a proposal and get a team of like-minded people and just do it!"
Why do you love working in STEM?
I have a passion for helping others and I can see that my work is improving the lives and the work of so many people. Moreover, sometimes I have days when I am very close to getting a result and I love waking up with the thought that that might be the day. And it's challenging, you don't get bored as there is always a new question to solve and none of them are easy ones!
Best advice for next generation?
STEM is just a word but the world of STEM is an entire universe of opportunities. I would encourage everyone to experiment as much as possible and also don't ever be to shy to ask a question. Ask people what they do, what are the outcomes of their work and see if this is something that inspires you as well. We are born in a time of change, when we can solve so many problems of humanity with the use of technology and science so we must make sure we are part of it!
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
One of my hints for women trying to find out more about STEM is to have the courage to show up for events related to different fields of science and technology by themselves and make new friends. Don't just network, ask genuine questions and understand how the world works and what you can do to make it a better place to live!