Girls in STEM: Vladlena Timofti, on her experience as a future aeronautical engineer

International Day of Women and Girls in Science is marked globally on 11 February. On this occasion, Vladlena Timofti, a 19-year-old girl originally from Moldova, who studies aeronautical engineering at a university in Great Britain, shared her experience as a future engineer but also why did she choose this field of study.

Date: Thursday, February 11, 2021

“I was always passionate about aviation. The way all systems of an airplane work in a perfect harmony, at any minute during a flight, the strong interdependence of all structures of an airplane, that don’t let any minor mistake occur: it is, indeed, a masterpiece of aeronautical engineering. Each flight is an unrepeatable and unparalleled experience for me. As a result of a transatlantic flight, my longest flight ever, which gave me a better understanding of the complexity of this process, I realized that I would really like to study this field, afterwards building a career in aeronautical engineering” - Vladlena Timofti says.

Vladlena Timofti
Vladlena Timofti, Photo: personal archive  

“Although women in engineering are something ordinary in most countries, the issue we still face today are the details, maybe inobservable for someone, which, taken as a whole, can make engineering seem unfriendly to girls. There is a big gender gap among students at faculties (such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, aeronautical engineering, and others). The idea of being the only girl in a room of fifty people may seen intimidating for someone when choosing the field of study. These potential fears and hesitations, though, disappear when you go to university, and realise that all people from that room have a common feature, actually, the only common feature that really matters during the classes: passion for engineering.

In the Republic of Moldova, I heard some remarks or “suggestions”, maybe discouraging a bit, from people having more conservative views. But I had just a few cases like that, and they did not prevent me from following my dream and did not make me doubt my choice. All my lecturers and classmates treat me with respect, and my knowledge and contributions are appreciated as much as my classmates’ ones, regardless of gender.

”The passion for engineering does not have a gender, and as long as you manifest professionalism and make effort to develop perpetually in your field, you will be appreciated, and your work will be valued.” - Vladlena TImofti

I would like to encourage all women and girls who are passionate about engineering, to follow their dream because this field needs tenacious, disciplined people who do not give up, and perceive failure just as a boost to work more, to grow, to develop: these are the criteria that help identifying and appreciating a remarkable engineer, regardless of gender.

Vladlena Timofti
Vladlena Timofti, Photos: personal archive
This field requires hard work, effort, analytic spirit, and an increased attention to details. Who is willing to keep up with such a program, which is often tiring, to develop and maintain an iron discipline during the entire study period, will succeed in engineering”.

For the first time, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science was celebrated on 11 February 2016, after the General Assembly of United Nations adopted, on 22 December 2015, a resolution regarding the establishment of an international day dedicated to recognition of the important role women and girls play in science and technologies.

According to a research conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics, only 4.6% of girls students are enrolled in STEM faculties (Science, Technologies, Engineering, and Mathematics). As a consequence, women get lower positions, and, accordingly, lower salaries. Women from ICT sector earn by 33% less than men.