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MITaly Celebrates Italian Women in Science

The Italian students association at MIT, MITaly, recently organized an event to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of Italian women in science and technology. The event was in collaboration with GWAMIT (the graduate women association at MIT) and the Harvard Italian Society.

Held on July 17 at the MIT Stata Center, the event featured talks by Prof. Paola Cappellaro (MIT, Nuclear Engineering), Prof. Katia Bertoldi (Harvard, Applied Mechanics) and Prof. Paola Rizzoli (MIT, Physical Oceanography).

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Prof. Cappellaro, who obtained her PhD at MIT in 2006, from the same department where she now teaches, explained the path that brought her to lead the Quantum Engineering Group.

Prof. Bertoldi, who also spent some years at MIT as a postoctoral fellow, spoke about how the inspiration to start her core research direction was born from a project that she started in her free time out of pure scientific curiosity.

Finally, Prof. Rizzoli talked about the main turning point of her impressive career in research. A physicist by formation, she later shifted her interests to oceanography and studied the problem of high water in Venice. She also worked on the landmark 1999 report on the status of MIT women faculty. The report identified the lack of gender diversity in the Institute, and proposed remedies that have since improved the situation. Many other institutions followed the example of MIT with similar studies.

The audience asked numerous questions to the speakers during the event, and stayed after the talks to discuss and ask for advice. Given the success of the event, MITaly will organize more networking receptions of this kind in the future, to promote discussion and interaction among the members of the Italian community in the Boston area.

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