12 June 2020

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.