Eleftheria Papadimitriou is Professor of Seismology, Geophysics Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Acta Geophysica.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a woman in STEM?
Balancing studies, research, career and devoting as much time as I can sustain, with time sharing with my beloved family, with daily “dose” of arts and entertainment. This means a well organized and followed plan, which gives you back a feeling of plenitude
What have you seen as changes that have happened among women in STEM?
Since the time I entered University I have seen a dramatic increase in the percentage of the “female students” in our Schools, becoming more than 50% in some cases. The prevalence in the number stays, even decreasing as we are passing to postgraduate and PhD studies. Then, the percentages are inversed as one goes to the higher-level positions, up to almost zero for the top managerial positions. This is well known as the “glass ceiling”, we, the women may “see through”, being close, but rarely “go through”.
Did you have a role model that influenced your decision to work in STEM – either inside or outside your field?
The driving mechanism was the consciousness that the environment, natural and anthropogenic, can be explained and then transformed and evolved through principles found and built in STEM. This cognition impressed me, it attracts my attention to think and decide how my efforts to be part of the scientific community. The image of a scientist, of a researcher dealing with all these wonderful aspects, studying, experimenting, writing, independently of gender, was the model to follow.
What is one change that, in your opinion, would hugely benefit aspiring women scientists?
Encouragement of young girls and certification that they are completely capable to accomplish a STEM member role, which is not absolutely solved even in the most developed countries, as statistics can reveal. In parallel, support of maternity, and related family organization and children caring. Family is our nest, is where happiness is created and waiting for us at every moment of our life, and we need to be supported for harmonizing both successfully, not in “competition” with our careers.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Work and dedication to what you are doing, is the “key to open doors”, meaning to solve problems, to overcome obstacles – of course in the framework of the practicability.