Supporting early career researchers with awards
Kiel University confers EmpowerMINT awards for theses
Kiel University's EmpowerMINT award aims to honour particular achievements by female students and female graduates in Mathematics, IT, Natural Sciences and Technology, known as the MINT subjects (or also STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). This is because the proportion of women studying these fields is far below 50 percent. The award and prize money of €500 for a Bachelor's thesis and €750 for a Master's thesis are intended to create clear incentives for continuing on with an academic career in this sector. Funding will be provided for the awards, four in total, for Bachelor's and Master's thesis from the Faculty of Engineering (TF) and a Bachelor's and Master's thesis from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (MNF) under the Programme for Women Professors III of the Federal Government and the federal states (Länder).
At this year's award ceremony the following were awarded:
„Theoretical computer science reminds me of doing a jigsaw puzzle, or more precisely, an abstract jigsaw puzzle. Even when the „puzzle pieces“ can have any kind of dimension, the problems stay similar. It is possible, that a (incompatible) “puzzle piece” is tried out again, because visually it looks as if it would fit. However, as soon as the puzzle is finished, the overall picture seems to have been obvious from the beginning.
Already during my school education, I had a great interest in computer science. Though computer science does not have to be a school subject in order to study the subject at university, it definitely helped me to develop an interest in the subject."
„In STEM subjects – especially in the field of technology – there is such potential and these subjects give the opportunity to play an active role in science and progress. I was already interested in STEM subjects during my school education and therefore, picked a field of study in engineering. The field of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology allows to transfer theoretical knowledge directly into practice and to find innovative solutions for different areas in life. I personally find applications within a medical context and working interdisciplinary very interesting and motivating."
Lina Aleke Holthusen
„After finishing my Bachelor´s degree in Geosciences, I discovered my love for the ocean and ocean science during my first scientific research excursion. While I studied in the master program Marine Geosciences, I followed that passion to deepen my knowledge in this multifaceted and interdisciplinary field. To gain data for my master theses I had the unique opportunity to be part of a seafaring expedition to the Arctic Ocean, to collect samples for trace gas analysis in a barely investigated region. This expedition was one of my biggest adventures and has greatly influenced my scientific career and my motivation to investigate the Arctic regions and the interaction between ocean and climate further, which is essential in times of the climate crisis. STEM topics are generally important in our daily life and will shape our future significantly, whereas women are still greatly underrepresented in this field. I think it is all the more important, that women, who seek a scientific career in this field, are supported and motivated.“
„The decision to study in a STEM field already unfolded during high school, when it became apparent that choosing Physics and Mathematics as main subjects agreed well with me. While it took me some time to decide which of the STEM subjects would fit, I eventually chose Physics. A subject, in which reality intriguingly can be described through equations.
A subject, that offers a very wide range of opportunities, from theoretical to experimental Physics. And also a subject, in which there is still a lot to discover. Therefore, I started my bachelor thesis with the idea to combine different fields of physics. The whole journey was something, that I can only recommend to other women, because STEM subjects hold so many hidden treasures that still wait to be discovered!"
The students and graduates were able to apply themselves but could also be nominated by supervisors. Alongside the specialist quality of the thesis, the selection committee made up of members from the faculties applied additional criteria to their award decisions. For instance, the innovative character of the content or methods used and the student's involvement in social or university policy were also taken into consideration. The awards will be conferred on an annual basis.
Officer for Gender Equality Measures
Office for Gender Equality, Equal Opportunity and Family
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