February 11th marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. It is an opportunity to promote full and equal access and participation of women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Harnessing all talent is essential to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, making gender equality and empowerment of women a global priority. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder of how critical women researchers are in fighting COVID-19, from deepening the understanding of the virus to developing tests and vaccines. Thus, this year’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science celebrates women scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.
At EVI, a diverse and international group of female scientists dedicate their lives to supporting the development of safe and effective vaccines. We are committed to creating an inclusive work environment and to empower our diverse workforce to use their unique skills, ideas, perspectives, at the service of global health.
To honour women and girls in science, some of our colleagues shared their experiences on what and who has inspired their scientific paths.
Nicola Viebig, Chief Scientific Officer
“It was my grandfather who encouraged me to start a career in science and to study biology. From the start, I was fascinated by the various pathogens, and their interactions with the host. Working at EVI allows me to support the battle against infectious diseases. Throughout my career, I was surrounded by fascinating women and role models, fellow students, line managers, collaborators, and entrepreneurs.”
Irina Meln, Project and Innovation Manager
“Science is one of those areas in which success could be achieved only via joint effort and this need for collaborations to tackle world-important problems makes it so appealing for me.
I met multiple strong and inspirational women in science during my career. However, the woman who made me decide to go for Biology major in University was my biology school teacher. When I was at school specialising in Arts or Humanities, I had a great note across all subjects, and I wanted to be a journalist. Although Science classes were not major, my biology teacher noticed my interest in STEM and Biology in particular. She inspired me to attend weekend biology classes for kinds in University. She also sent me to different Biology competitions in which I could write short essays across a variety of biological topics fulfilling my dream to become a journalist and informing myself about biology more and more.
I strongly believe that promoting and advocating STEM among young scholars are the key components to influence their choices for University studies.”
Flavia D’Alessio, Project Manager
“My scientific carrier has always been inspired and guided by great women and scientists.
Back at the high school, when I discovered my passion for science thanks to a great Professor who was, above all, a very remarkable woman.
My PhD supervisor at the Heidelberg University and two great mentors here at EVI: Dr Odile Leroy and Dr Sophie Houard. I was new in vaccine research and they taught me the critical steps needed to bring a promising vaccine candidate from the lab to the clinic. A big thanks to them and to the female colleagues at EVI supporting my job.“