Flavia Gaudio is an engineer at Gestione Ed Eserizio del Sistema Tranviario SPA (GEST). Her research and professional interests revolve around Rolling stock maintenance and railway safety systems. She is a member of the ELASTIC project, working on the predictive maintenance use case and sensors installation on trams. In this interview, Flavia talks about her experience as a woman in STEM and as a member of the ELASTIC team.
- How did you become interested in engineering? What influenced your decision in taking this career path?
I’ve been always fascinated by science and technology since I was a little girl. My dream at first was to be an astronaut, as I love the idea of learning and discovering new things. I’ve always believed that technology can improve quality of life and can help humans in challenging situations. Therefore, I decided to choose electronic engineering as my study path, believing it was the best way to build my future in this field.
- How has your experience as a woman studying and working in STEM been? Have you faced any challenges?
I think I struggled a bit at first to gain the respect of my male schoolmates and of my male colleagues afterwards, but then I built with them a very good environment and cooperation that has always helped me to grow as a professional and as a person.
It might be a matter of “first sight”, when some people see a woman in an environment traditionally managed by males. You need to be yourself, work hard and be simple, and then you see things change for the better day by day.
- What are you working on in the ELASTIC project and how has this experience been so far?
It is the first time I took part in a European Project and I found it challenging and exciting at the same time. We need to invest a lot of energy in it, but we are also supported by experienced colleagues from all over Europe, and this makes the project a precious space to learn and grow.
I work on the predictive maintenance use case - in particular, I take care of sensors installation on trams and maintenance vehicles in order to collect data to be used by the other project partners.
- What message would you give to young girls and women who are interested in pursuing a career in STEM?
Women shouldn’t be afraid to work in STEM. There is still a lot of work to be done on gender stereotypes in this field and we can all be a part of it. I encourage them to be confident about their capabilities and motivation. I can’t wait to see more girls joining the field.