In honour of Women & Girls in Science Day and International Women’s Day, two important days marked by the United Nations and celebrated across the globe, we are celebrating the women in our community. As our wonder women are involved in many fields, we decided to focus on specific fields and this year we are highlighting the women in Trust & Identity! Like everything in the world of GÉANT, our trust and identity team is a strong collaboration between women (and men!) all over the globe.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to our colleagues working for T&I, which shows perfectly in this series.
Let us introduce you to Esmeralda Pires, problem-solving, math-crushing, STEMpion.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Esmeralda Pires, and I work as a Project Manager, Trust and Identity Services at the FCCN unit of FCT (Foundation for Science and Technology).
What is your study and professional background?
I have a degree in Computer Science and I am a Postgraduate in Computer Networks by the University of Lisbon.
I started my career in IT carrying out development activities within several internal FCCN’s projects. The opportunities and challenges that have been given to me at FCCN made me gain experience and explore a diversity of areas amongst IT. I integrated the team that was working on a great project that had the purpose of granting Internet access to basic and secondary schools. My contribution to the project consisted in developing and supporting an infrastructure to allow schools to manage their own websites, webmail boxes and domains.
I have also been part of the team that explores the advanced services area (videoconferencing and video diffusion) aimed at the academic and research community. I am currently managing the team responsible for the deployment of Trust & Identity where RCTSaai, CIÊNCIA ID and eduroam services in Portugal.
How did you end up in STEM?
Facing math as a rewarding challenge and programming as a different way of solving problems and expressing my “will to create” was half way to end up in STEM. The other half was completed by the opportunity, in secondary education, to study and take interest in computer science. The success of that contact strengthened this career choice.
Are there any challenge(s) you face as a woman in STEM (personal, in the sector, in T&I)?
In my personal experience, I do not feel that challenges are different because I am a woman, but I am aware that this reflects my own gender-equality environment. STEM gender gap is real, for different reasons in different countries. The fact that we are aware of this gap is important because we see movements and educational practices currently happening to engage and increase girls’ interest in STEM fields.
What is it you do in the field of T&I?
I am currently responsible for the Trust & Identity team at the FCCN Unit. Our team manages the Authentication and Authorization Infrastructure for the RCTS network community (RCTSaai and eduroam) and for the researcher’s community (CIÊNCIA ID). My main activities are to identify, coordinate and manage essential processes to continuously allow and improve collaboration between higher education and the research community.
Name your greatest experience or achievement in T&I work
What I feel as the greatest achievement is to follow the first steps of a project, from birth to proof of concept, passing through pilot phase and finally to see it taking shape in production phase and to actually see how useful and helpful it is for the community. It is very rewarding to get positive feedback from the community and having institutions knowing that they can count on us to support their activities.
Any inspiring words for our readers?
Embrace challenges in STEM, learn and explore your abilities and you will make your own opportunities. Choose the opportunities you really want.
From all the men and women at GÉANT, we would like to show our gratitude to the female career tigers, young professionals, researchers, students, mothers, experts, in short all the hard working women contributing to not only trust and identity, but all the work we are doing in R&E networking.
Make sure to keep an eye on the GÉANT blog and social media channels and follow the campaign under #GEANTwomeninSTEM.