VERBUND has spent many years supporting overall societal efforts to convince more women to take up technical vocations. Alongside efforts in the company’s own training programmes, VERBUND awards scholarships worth 5,000 euros each to female students of the Vienna University of Technology every year. The annual awarding of the VERBUND scholarships for women took place this year for the twelfth time.
“Male dominance in technical professions is not a law of nature but the consequence of outdated patterns of thought. The names of famous women, including Vienna-born Hedy Lamarr, prove this – Lamarr’s achievements, for example, still accompany us today in mobile communications. Breaking down structures and deliberately winning over women is a task that society must take on. The exception must become the norm. Until then we still have much work to do. I am very proud that the VERBUND scholarships for women are going to students of the Vienna University of Technology for the twelfth time,” says Michael Strugl, vice chairman of the Executive Board of VERBUND AG, about the traditional awarding of the scholarships.
Due to the COVID-19 precautions, the award ceremony was a small-scale affair. VERBUND was represented by Domenika Koller, head of Recruiting & HR Management: “The VERBUND scholarships for women are valuable stimuli not only for the female scholarship holders. They are also an outward expression that women are appreciated and supported in technical careers and extremely welcome at VERBUND.”
Daniela Haiden-Schroll from the TU Career Centre confirms the success story: “Promoting diversity in technology, IT and natural sciences and above all getting more women enthusiastic about these exciting areas are both important concerns of the Vienna University of Technology and of the TU Career Centre and also central objectives of the VERBUND scholarships for women. The VERBUND scholarship holders impressively demonstrate every year the success and joy with which women live their passion for technology and thus serve as a positive example for many who are on the verge of choosing their studies or profession.
The scholarship holders
The three holders of the VERBUND Scholarship for Women, Helena Hazeu (bachelor student of mechanical engineering), Luise Prielinger (bachelor student of Computational Science & Engineering) and Julia Reisinger (doctoral student in Civil Engineering) impressed in the coronavirus-adapted selection process with excellent academic achievements, practical experience and high social competence. They can look forward to tailored support for their careers for one academic year.
Helena Hazeu won the VERBUND Scholarship for Women for female students in the field of electrical and mechanical engineering. She herself has benefited from the choice of profession of female engineers in a familial environment. For her, it’s a combination of happiness and mission: “I’d like to motivate more young women to opt for technical studies and serve as a role model. Despite the low number of women on my course, I have never felt disadvantaged. The mechanical engineering course is like a big family, in which all students work together and help one another.”
Luise Prielinger received the VERBUND Scholarship for Women for female computer scientists. She is certain that technical careers are a good choice: “I am convinced that you shouldn’t be put off, especially as a young woman, by the ‘difficulty’ of a technical degree – no prior knowledge is required either. It is much more important to have an interest in and the stamina required for the profession and the studies. The enthusiasm and joy of technology then come all on their own.”
Julia Reisinger is awarded the VERBUND Scholarship for Women for civil engineering and infrastructure management. She was inspired by Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking: “When I was 4 years old, I was fascinated by architecture and the built environment around me. Back then, I always used to say: “I will also build such amazing buildings” and was constantly painting and designing houses. I don’t know what could prevent girls and women from not choosing a technical career. Believe in yourselves! Which should all live much more according to the motto of Pippi Longstocking: ‘I’ve never tried that, but I’m quite certain I’ll manage it!’”