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Our 4 portraits for the week of April 6th - #InternationalDayOfWomenRigths

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For the International Day Of Women Rights that takes place each year on March 8, we are presenting a month-long gallery of portraits of women who make ISAE-SUPAERO. The opportunity to ask them how they perceive the place of women in science and society.

This week, we are honouring :
- Xiaoqi XU, first year of doctoral studies and my research consists in using mathematical and computer techniques to classify electroencephalographic (EEG) signals in brain-machine interface applications,
- Valérie Ferrand, research professor in aerodynamics at the Department of Aerodynamics, Energetics and Propulsion,
- Hélène Huerga, head of company relations, in charge of developing cooperation between the Institute and companies,
- Alix Janicaud, work on missions in digital transformation and change management for clients in the aeronautics sector.

SOMMAIRE

Alix Janicaud: published on April 15th

Hélène Huerga: published on April 13th

Valérie Ferrand: published on April 11th

Xiaoqi XU: published on April 09th


alix-PortraitDeFemme

Alix Janicaud

What position do you hold and what was the decisive factor for you in your career path?

Alongside my studies, I have been lucky to be able to invest my time in several associations. I want to maintain this diversity both in terms of my missions and of the skills I use in my work. That is why, for my first job, I chose a management consulting firm. Now I work on missions in digital transformation and change management for clients in the aeronautics sector.

What do you feel is important for the future?

I would like to be able to share my experience with younger people, use my time to help people who aren’t always as lucky as I have been. I want to continue to work in solidarity-based associations and push forward on the personal and professional projects that are dear to my heart.

Who are the women who have inspired you, who have been role models for you?

I don’t have a single woman in mind, but many people, women and men, inspire me. All those little gestures and positive attitudes from the people around me are what motivate me and boost my commitment to do better every day.

EN_alix-PortraitDeFemme

What would you say are the levers we need to pull to improve the place and share of women in society, the workforce, and the technological sciences?

It seems to me that contact with young people, girls and boys alike, is key. I had the opportunity to talk with middle school and high school girls to present scientific studies and careers, and I felt that just by talking with them and putting them into contact with professionals made them realize possibilities that they had never imagined before. I feel that access to information is a key factor in arousing their curiosity and their attraction to sectors that young people wouldn’t think about naturally.


hélène-PortraitDeFemme

Hélène Huerga

What position do you hold and what was the decisive factor for you in your career path?

I am the head of company relations, in charge of developing cooperation between the Institute and companies, whatever their business. My activity is connected with research, innovation, hiring, training, diversity programs, sustainable development, finding our own resources, etc. The common theme throughout my professional career has been my passion for innovation, business and my taste for thinking up and developing strategies and new projects. At this school I have found a profusion of projects and possibilities for cooperation that suit me perfectly.

What do you feel is important for the future?

It is of utmost importance to me to have my personal and professional lives perfectly in line with who I am, my values, what I like, and my conception of human relations. This means working with pleasure and creativity, with the intelligence to get along well with others, continuing to learn at all times, exploring new fields, imagining and designing new projects, new services that are useful to others and making my contribution to more sustainable development.

Who are the women who have inspired you, who have been role models for you?

I have never reasoned in terms of female gender. Ever since I was little, I’ve never thought there could be barriers between what was possible for girls and for boys. But looking back, I realize that there were inequalities back then. There was a quota for women in the competitive entrance exams, no boarding school for girls in high school, etc. Several people have inspired me over the years, each in a different field – first my older brother, then Jenna de Rosnay, Nicolas Hulot, Nelson Mandela and Mike Horn, a modern-day explorer and adventurer.

EN_helene_portrait

What would you say are the levers we need to pull to improve the place and share of women in society, the workforce, and the technological sciences?

I truly believe in women’s strength and courage in fighting inequality. Nonetheless, I think the authorities and businesses need to adopt highly forceful policies to speed up the process of gender parity and equality, and to ensure that the role of parents is not penalizing for careers. We need training and awareness-raising actions for girls, as well as for parents, like what is being done at the OSE l’ISAE-SUPAERO diversity program. I occasionally talk to groups of high school and college students to present my rather “masculine” background to them – technological baccalaureate, military service, engineering degree, etc. We also need solidarity between women, and why not, at least temporarily, some affirmative action as well, just for the time it takes to catch up with all the backlog.


valérie-PortraitDeFemme

Valérie Ferrand

What position do you hold and what was the decisive factor for you in your career path?

After graduating high school with a science baccalaureate, I studied at a university before coming to the ISAE-SUPAERO engineering school. I continued my training with a PhD in fluid mechanics. Now I’m a research professor in aerodynamics at the Department of Aerodynamics, Energetics and Propulsion (DAEP). It is a job that nourishes my curiosity and, more importantly, I hope to transmit my love of the aeronautical sciences.

What do you feel is important for the future?

In general, our future must bring about an in-depth change in the way we consume, travel and produce. Today’s young adults are faced with a real challenge to reinvent models for a life compatible with a better use and better sharing of our planet’s resources.

Who are the women who have inspired you, who have been role models for you?

Obviously there are exceptional women who are admirable in their success, brilliant scientists for example. But I would like to convince girls that there is no need to be exceptional to dare to study, dare to undertake things and to fully find a place for themselves in society.

EN_valérie-PortraitDeFemme

What would you say are the levers we need to pull to improve the place and share of women in society, the workforce, and the technological sciences?

Gender stereotypes still abound and the family and school environment do not necessarily provide girls with opportunities to imagine themselves in professions in the technological sciences. I feel it is very important to inform them, to tell them my story. The initiatives at the ISAElles student club are exemplary for that.


xiaoqi-PortraitDeFemme

Xiaoqi XU

What position do you hold and what was the decisive factor for you in your career path?

I’m in my first year of doctoral studies and my research consists in using mathematical and computer techniques to classify electroencephalographic (EEG) signals in brain-machine interface applications.
I have a rather unique background, going from remote sensing, pure mathematics, artificial intelligence and neuroscience. I fully appreciate the power and elegance of mathematics in explaining the physical world, but I’m not interested in abstract theories detached from the real world. So my current research is the perfect fit for me.

What do you feel is important for the future?

In my opinion, it is very important for governments around the world to be aware of the environmental changes caused by human activities and that they find an agreement to take effective measures to preserve our planet.

Who are the women who have inspired you, who have been role models for you?

Marie Curie.
She was the only woman whose portrait hung in the hall of my high school. She was also the first woman to have done high-level research and to be recognized by the scientific community, which was still very much dominated by men.

EN_xiaoqi-PortraitDeFemme

What would you say are the levers we need to pull to improve the place and share of women in society, the workforce, and the technological sciences?

Teachers – and especially those working with very young children – must get girls interested in science and encourage them more. We could also create events in which girls could meet researchers, doctoral students, etc., to engage in exchanges and dialogue so they can imagine their own future in the scientific world and in technological fields. Lastly, more measures are needed to limit the impact of motherhood on women’s careers.

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