Women in Energy

Strive to Become an Expert, Make Your Path a Pleasant Journey Rather Than an Exhaustive Race

Ms. Valeria Korcheva, Master student in international law of the National  University “Odessa Law Academy”, came second in the competition organized in the framework of the Autumn Digital EU4Energy Week for EaP Universities. Valeria has a strong and growing interest in the field of energy since the energy sector combines different aspects of economy, ecology and politics. She aspires to become the person who always strives to find the solution to a problem and already now, at the outset of her professional life, thinks about how to balance the growing demand on energy with raising environmental concerns – “We have to integrate energy generation into natural processes in a way to utilize nature’s potential and at the same time avoid its destruction. We have to go with nature, not against it and try to resolve the problem human beings have created”.

Valeria took the opportunity and decided to attend the Autumn Digital EU4Energy Week for EaP Universities when her professor suggested participating after the request was sent to EaP universities to nominate students with background and interest in energy. “The interesting agenda coupled with the award – a training course in Brussels on energy immediately caught my attention. The EU4Energy Week for EaP universities helped me to consolidate my interest towards this field and acquire new knowledge from high-level experts [from the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER), the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Energy Community (EnC)].

Having no background, but only pure interest towards the field of energy, I challenged myself and almost a month later I am sitting here giving my very first interview. With that being said, I hope that people will see my case as proof that when you follow your interests, make an effort and invest in what you like – it will definitely pay off. Do not consider yourself to become an expert in a moment – that’s a journey worth walking rather than a race full of stress and exhaustion. Enjoy it!”

Being at the outset of her career, Valeria finds the responsibility for other people and their trust to be an important aspect of her improvement. “I am willing to provide guidance if I know that’s within my competence to help. I have never considered leadership a good thing for showing how meaningful and powerful someone is – it is more about caring for people you are willing to take responsibility for, as you trust them, and they trust you”.

In response to girls and women empowerment and how to handle underrepresentation of women in science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics (STEM) fields, Valeria thinks that today there are more and more opportunities for everyone to find their place in life, so the perspectives are brighter for women.

Furthermore, boys/men have been from a very early age brought up to be the breadwinners and main financial contributors in the family. “Mothers used to have higher expectations with regards to their sons that they have a prestigious high-paid job, and so did fathers. Technical jobs are known to be in preference worldwide, and as men are traditionally expected to protect the family and be the main financial supporters, they are more likely to be motivated and encouraged to apply for jobs in the STEM field. Still, today women can share these responsibilities with them. I think that’s what helps both in securing a stronger support within families and finding one’s happiness in the professional way he/she chooses.”

Both big and small efforts, like the one made by the EU4Energy Programme, increase the visibility and motivation of girls/women to engage in the STEM fields. “My advice to those girls who are choosing their field of study or making their first steps in their profession would be: always try to become an expert and maintain a positive mindset.”