Navigating the unknown: Dr. Elena Paifelman about growing self-trust, freedom & multidisciplinarity

In the 11th episode of Women in Blue we had a chat with Dr. Elena Paifelman, Postdoctoral Researcher at the National Research Council of Italy.

Elena Paifelman received her Master degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2015 from La Sapienza University Rome and the PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in 2019 from the same university. In her PhD she focused on the implementation of an Optimal Control algorithm applied to underwater systems affected by fluid-structure memory effects represented by integral-differential equations of motion. Since 2019 she has been a Postdoctoral researcher at Institute of Marine Engineering of the National Research Council of Italy working on different projects such as SWIFT CONTROL, where she provided scientific support in the study of control of turbulent boundary-layer for the reduction of vibrations.

In the interview Elena reveals how she followed her passion for mathematics and had a ‘chance’ encounter with marine robotics during her PhD, a field where she decided to remain in, because of its multidisciplinarity and innovation. With Elena we tapped into the gender gap challenge surrounding fields such as mechanical engineering and ways of bridging this gap both through education as well as self-confidence. According to Elena, becoming more audacious and following one’s own passion despite of stereotypical mentalities and personal convictions is a process that comes with becoming more mature. According to Elena: "you need to be able to start comfortable in your environment and I think this is something in my view mostly related to age".

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