Elisabetta Tedeschi works as a Full Professor with double affiliation: she works at the Department of Electric Power Engineering of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Norway, and at the Department of Industrial Engineering of the University of Trento in Italy. She holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Padova.
Choosing a STEM career came naturally to Elisabetta and she is born into a family of academics: both her parents work in a STEM field. But Elisabetta herself also found STEM to be extremely rewarding. When it came to choosing her career, Elisabetta chose electrical engineering, because she believed that this degree would be a fundament on which she can build a lot upon. This fundament could especially be useful in taking society towards a green transition, which is something Elisabetta has always felt strongly about. But her interest in teaching and becoming a professor came afterwards. She worked in the largest private research centers in Europe for 3 years. She always knew that research was one of her core interests, and it would have been pointless if she could not transfer her knowledge to the younger generations through teaching and training activities in a systematic way. Elisabetta counts her as one of the lucky ones, as she had some incredible supervisors and mentors during her entire career and even had a female professor who supervised her as a Post Doc and was an excellent role model. She believes that her role models have certainly been pivotal in driving her professional ambitions. Elisabetta labels her becoming a full professor at a relatively young age one of her greatest achievements in terms of exciting projects, challenging responsibilities and solid national and international collaborations that she would have never believed she would be a part of ten years back.
Elisabetta has a background in electrical engineering in which she holds a MSc. in and then a PhD Degree in Industrial Engineering (with specialization on Mechatronics and Industrial Systems), both from the University of Padova, Italy.At the moment, Elisabetta works as a full professor with double affiliation: at the Department of Electric Power Engineering of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway, and at the Department of Industrial Engineering of the University of Trento, Italy. Her main focus area is the application of power electronics to power systems, with a particular focus on offshore grids. In Elisabetta words, she holds a keen interest in “studying and enabling the deep change that is bringing society towards a higher sustainability by integrating more renewable energy resources and relying on a wider electrification of all energy processes.” Elisabetta applies these concepts to the offshore environment, where power generation, transmission and distributions are especially challenging, but Elisabetta’s fascination towards the field keeps her going. She also has keen curiosity in land-based smart- and micro-grids. She has worked in many interesting projects for some years within technologies and methods for using the energy of sea waves to produce electricity. This kind of activity, as well as others related to renewable energies, gave her the possibility to join many international projects and networks, and living and working in 4 different countries, being surrounded by brilliant and motivated professionals.
STEM to Elisabetta means, “a pool of opportunities! For me STEM disciplines represent a solid way to make a concrete difference in the world we live in.” There are some changes, which Elisabetta means would be better for women in STEM. She believes that it is very country dependent, but a key should be working towards a good equality policy (i.e., regarding parental leaves, salaries etc.), and measures to facilitate flexible work and work-life balance. Furthermore, she believes that there should be more awareness of gender-based stereotypes to help all of us fight them. Overall, Elisabetta agrees that role models are essential. Nothing is more powerful and inspiring than showing concrete examples of normal women achieving important and beautiful results to unveil possibilities. Mentoring and experience sharing can also be very important to encourage girls to share their concerns and finding good advice on problems/feelings that other women may have experienced before.
Lastly, here are Elisabetta’s closing words of encouragement for young girls who want to join a STEM field:
“If you are wondering if you can do it... the answer is: YES!”
You can contact Elisabetta Tedeschi on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elisabettatedeschi/
I thank Elisabetta Tedeschi for taking part in this project and answering all the questions in a very informative manner. I hope, your experience and STEM story will inspire a young girl to join a STEM field and excel just like you have.