Louisa Fay, a master’s degree student at the University of Stuttgart, can celebrate winning the Women’s Award 2020. She was awarded the top prize, which is awarded by the technology company Zeiss to honor women in IT, in Dresden at the end of September. Second and third prizes went to computer scientists from Berlin and Magdeburg respectively. The prize winners for 2020 are not just three talented young female computer scientists who have demonstrated outstanding performances in their subject, but they have also all shown exemplary commitment to social issues alongside their university studies. The patron of the award and honored guest at the prize-giving ceremony is Elke Büdenbender, the wife of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and an enthusiastic advocate of looking beyond gender cliches when choosing a career.
After completing her bachelor’s degree in Konstanz Louisa Fay switched to the University of Stuttgart to start a master’s degree course in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, and is due to graduate shortly. “Something to do with math”, was what the 25-year-old decided on after finishing high school, since she had been a passionate enthusiast of brain teasers even at a young age. In her master's thesis at the Institute of Signal Processing and System Theory (ISS) she addressed an issue from medicine, namely predicting whether patients suffering from melanoma (skin cancer) can be treated using immunotherapy with the help of deep learning (machine learning). Throughout her time at school and at university, she has played an active role in the initiative run by the Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (VDE), looked after children at camps run by the Catholic Youth Association and supported the Science Day at the University of Stuttgart. She has spent various periods of time studying abroad, for example at MIT in Cambridge, USA and at NJUST in Nanjing, China.
Zeiss wants to use the “Women’s Awards” to shed a spotlight on the range of career opportunities available to women in the IT industry. The IT company believes that jobs in IT are by no means a male preserve – quite the opposite. The award is intended to highlight the wide range of career opportunities available to women in the IT industry. “From automotive engineering to dentistry – there’s a huge variety of different jobs out there. We want to have more women working in our teams. In our experience this has a very positive effect on team dynamics”.
Applications were open to women studying Computer Science, Information Systems, Media Informatics or a comparable study program. Applicants should be able to demonstrate excellent academic achievements, be working on their thesis or have recently submitted it or completed it in 2020. The students’ involvement in social causes, for example as part of an association or within their educational institution, was also included in the assessment.