Our team was thrilled to attend the final multiplier event of the FeSTEM project with the theme ‘Breaking the glass ceiling!’, organized on the 2nd of June, by the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT), coordinator of FeSTEM project. The event was an amazing opportunity to meet inspirational and motivational speakers, while at the same time learn how the journey of the FeSTEM project (Female Empowerment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Higher Education) has evolved through the two-and-a-half years of its implementation.
The event kicked off with opening remarks of Dr. Panayiotis Zaphiris, Rector of CUT. The keynote speaker of the event Mrs Anna Aristotelous, Director of Cyprus Prisons Department presented the radical changes achieved since becoming Director of the Prisons Department, despite all the challenges. She also stressed the importance of daring to achieve the impossible by explaining the methods and model adopted in order to change the nation’s correctional system. Another motivational presentation was given by Dr Marianna Prokopi Demetriades, Founder and Director of three biotech start-ups, regarding the leadership qualities and her own journey as a female leader.
In addition, the program included two presentations on FeSTEM project. T Firstly, Dr Antigoni Parmaxi, coordinator of FeSTEM Project and Research Associate of CUT presented the main project outcomes and highlighted the valuable benefits of the project and the community platform which is a place to connect, discuss and access services and learning material. The second presentation was delivered jointly by Eirini Christou, CUT and Dr Maria Perifanou, University of Macedonia who presented the FeSTEM training activities concerning gender-sensitive workshops for Higher Education instructors.
The event continued with an insightful panel discussion about how gender-sensitive policies should be put forward at the Local, National, European and International Levels. The panel was facilitated by Melita Menelaou, Senior Researcher in Chemical Engineering, at the Central European Institute of Technology. The panellists included Eliza Loucaidou(Director at Deloitte’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre and Manager of ARIS), Efi Nisiforou (Lecturer, University of Nicosia), Dr Stella Manoli (Lecturer, University of Strathclyde), Antigoni Komodiki (CEO of Junior Achievement Cyprus) and George Kokou (Cyprus University of Technology). The discussion focused on the experiences of the panellists and their views on which policies would be critical to be placed forward to overcome gender bias in the field of STEM. Following the panellist’s discussions, the audience had the opportunity to discuss and ask questions to the panellists.
Lastly, on the sideline of the final event, the FeSTEM final transnational meeting was held between the 31st of May and 1st of June. The FeSTEM project aimed to promote Female Empowerment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Higher Education, expose Higher Education students to successful female role models in STEM while also to encourage the development of networking opportunities for women to establish a peer support system. The project officially completed its activities at the end of May.
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