Women in Tech Summit: education, support, inspiration for women in technology!

On June 14 and 15, Expo XXI Warsaw was transformed into the venue for Europe's largest gathering of technology-related women - the Perspektywy Women in Tech Summit. Visitors to the event were able to listen to nearly 200 inspiring speeches and discussions delivered on four stages by more than 500 female and male speakers, take part in more than 50 tech, career and soft skills workshops, benefit from 400 individual mentoring sessions, and even meet their future employer or employers in the CareerExpo zone. The event was visited by 11,200 participants from nearly 90 countries.

The University of Gdańsk, as an academic partner of the event, had its exhibition stand in the main Expo zone. It was visited mainly by young people interested in studying at the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science and those interested in the English-language offer. In the Tech zone, on the other hand, our students from the DeepDive scientific associations (supervisor dr Marta Frankowska, MFI) and the Scientific Association of Physicists (supervisor mgr Dorota Wejer, MFI) encouraged visitors to find out more about the projects they were conducting presented at the stand.

A wide range of keynotes - a wealth of inspiration and motivation!

The Summit was opened by dr Bianka Siwińska, president of the Perspektywy Educational Foundation, initiator and creator of the Perspektywy Women in Tech Summit event: - The Summit is about technology, of course. Still, it is also about the power and future of women. What is the strongest social trend in 2023? In the last 10 years? What is the only successful revolution in the last 100 years? Of course, it is the women's revolution! Women are changing their social roles and positions, which we call a revolution, and we here are a part of it.

Later in her opening speech, dr Bianka Siwińska explained what is behind the motto of this year's Women in Tech Summit: Let's make BOLDER CHOICES together.

dr Bianka Siwińska

dr Bianka Siwińska, fot. Anita Kot

The theme of the Summit is about making bold decisions and being brave. Why? Women are still brought up to be polite, obedient, and not bother anyone, and in later life, they find it difficult to take risks and express themselves or their needs. I think it's time to be bold; I don't want to wait a minute longer to take a risk if it's worth it - said the foundation's president, who also expressed her hope that the Women in Tech Summit will help its participants plan or discover their next bold choices in life, career, technology, politics or the world. 

Other special guests at the event included US Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski, Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski, Harvey Mudd College President Maria Klawe (it was during her tenure that the number of female TECH majors increased from 10 to 50%) and Francesca Cavallo, author of the global bestseller 'Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls'.

During WITS, a wide range of technological topics was covered, including the language of new technologies, cyber security, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, innovation in technology, cloud storage or the impact of technology on the environment.

In addition, attendees had the opportunity to listen to several inspirational speeches by talented female leaders about how to face challenges in a male-dominated industry. They taught me how to disregard glass ceilings, be determined and confident, and not be discouraged in the fight for equality in the technological world.

dr hab. Marcin Pawłowski, prof. UG, fot. Mateusz Byczkowski/UG

Dr hab. Marcin Pawłowski, prof. UG, fot. Mateusz Byczkowski/UG

Cyber security of (post)quantum cryptography

On the second day of the conference, the lecture entitled: 'Quantum Cyber Security' was delivered by dr hab. Marcin Pawłowski, prof. UG. His presentation attracted a lot of interest, as evidenced by the packed room and numerous questions from the audience.   

During his lecture, prof. Marcin Pawłowski talked about quantum cyber-security - an issue of great importance nowadays. This is because quantum technology is a new weapon for cybercriminals. With its proper development and application, effective systems can be developed to protect communication and data storage from aggressive quantum computers and machines designed to intercept sensitive data and information.

The answer to cyber attacks is the use of quantum and post-quantum cryptography. However, we should not consider these two cryptographies as competing solutions, as there are technologies that can deliver different results that are in synergy.

As the Professor assures us, the development of post-quantum cryptography is the future, significant from a security point of view: - In a few years, everyone will have post-quantum cryptography installed in their phone and won't even know it, just as most people don't know what cryptographic protocols their computer currently uses to encrypt their email. If students learn this now, they will get a job in a few years without a problem.


University of Gdańsk at WITS

The Women in Tech Summit was attended by a strong representation from the University of Gdańsk: Vice-Rector for International Cooperation dr hab. Anna Maria Jurkowska-Zeidler, prof. UG, Vice-Rector for Cooperation and Development dr hab. Sylwia Mrozowska, prof. UG, Vice-Chancellor for Informatisation, Communication and Promotion dr hab. inż. Aneta Oniszczuk-Jastrząbek, prof. UG, event speaker dr hab. Marcin Pawłowski, prof. UG, and Administrative Affairs Director of the International Centre for Cancer Vaccine Research mgr Izabela Raszczyk and mgr Marta Dziedzic from the Dean's Office of the Inter-University Faculty of Biotechnology UG and MUG.

Members of the University of Gdańsk Social Responsibility Committee and the MINDtheGEPs project team - mgr Izabela Raszczyk and mgr Marta Dziedzic - attended the Gender Equality Plans in Action - Diversity and Inclusion in Research and Higher Education session at the invitation of the event's organisers, presenting the University of Gdańsk's achievements in implementing gender equality policy in a presentation: How to build a gender-balanced ecosystem with the support of European projects?

In addition, more than 100 female students from various faculties came to WITS. Participation in Summit was an excellent opportunity for them to make new friends, meet industry companies and promote their scientific clubs' achievements.

The scientific club DeepDive, which presented its projects at the Women in Tech Summit, comprises six Mathematical Modelling for Data Analysis students and specialises in Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Data Science. On the other hand, the Student Physicists' Scientific Circle prepared an Energy booth where it was possible to talk about technologies related to the use of solar energy, learn how photovoltaic panels convert solar radiation into electricity, as well as how to use solar thermal energy for heating and hot water production. Physicists also dispelled myths about nuclear energy.

Dr Marta Frankowska and mgr Dorota Wejer from the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science were responsible for the substantive preparation of the stand together with the students.

dr Marta Frankowska

Dr Marta Frankowska is positive about her participation in the event: - In addition to promoting the fields of study, we had the chance to talk to representatives of many companies that are interested in establishing cooperation with the university, including CISCO, which was present at the MFI Faculty Open Days and which plans to expand its cooperation with the faculty. We have also spoken to representatives of companies who would like to employ mathematics and physics graduates who can build models, who specialise in training and have experience in co-delivering postgraduate courses with universities, among others. We have written down all the contacts and will make them result in beneficial cooperation for our university.

One of the exciting points of the Summit programme was the mentoring sessions, during which participants could consult their plans for future careers, listen to valuable tips and advice from experts, and even receive an invitation to a job interview, as did Marek Majoch, a third-year Physics student at the University of Gdańsk and Vice-President of the Student Scientific Association of Physicists.

Marek's interests and further education plans are focused on astrophysics, which interested the Boeing mentor because of the company's space technology department. During the mentoring, the student talked about his approach to the construction-engineering aspects of his work and the club's projects. At the end of the mentoring, he was contacted to arrange a recruitment interview with the manager of the space technology department.  

Another student who brought back a lot of positive experiences from the Summit is Olha Babicheva, a second-year student of Mathematical Modelling for Data Analysis, president of the DeepDive club, an Intel and Perspectives scholarship recipient and ambassador of the WITS Girls to Science campaign. She popularised deep learning at her club's stand and was on duty in the Girls into the Skies zone. Olha was also among the girls who ran up the Main Stage as part of the Grand Opening. She met many new people during the Summit and was offered specific internships.

Female and male students were impressed by the organisation and scale of the event and the variety of lectures and workshops. Women in Tech Summit 2023 went down in their memories as an extremely valuable and memorable experience.

Agnieszka Góral (2nd year MMAD, 1st degree) - member of the DeepDive club

I was glad that I had the opportunity to talk to recruiters from various companies. I liked the diversity of the event - job fair, lectures, workshops, and mentoring sessions. Participating in Summit is an excellent opportunity to practice English.

Wiktoria Borkowska (2nd year Physics, 1st degree)

What I liked the most was the networking at the club's stand and the fact that I could popularise physical science. It was also interesting to talk to students from other universities and exchange experiences and observations. The summit was an excellent opportunity to improve my specialist English, as this was the language in which I popularised physics at my stand.

Amelia Dolińska (2nd year MMAD, 1st degree) - Vice-president of the DeepDive research club, artificial intelligence enthusiast and leader of the Seafer project dealing with innovative maritime safety solutions

I am thrilled that the DeepDive club could attend such a big event. Participation in Summit will interest the community in the club's activities and attract sponsors.

The University of Gdańsk's participation in WITS 2023 was the responsibility of the Promotion and Sponsor Relations Team.

Women in Tech Summit 2023 was an excellent opportunity for the University of Gdańsk to expand its network and build relationships in the technology industry. The outstanding cooperation of UG people involved in the preparations and the very active participation in the event itself meant that both during and after the event, there were proposals for cooperation with our university, which makes us very happy, - emphasises Team Manager dr Tomasz Czuba.

Text Agnieszka Beck, film and photo Mateusz Byczkowski/ Promotion and Sponsor Relations Team