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A healthy generation needs a good balance of male and female models 

A healthy generation needs a good balance of male and female models 

Bianka Meçaj is a PhD student in Particle Physicist, research assistant in Particle Physics. She is originally from Albania, but living and studying in many countries in a short period of time, affording her such a powerful expanding life experience at a very young age. She has travelled to give talks on her research field to several conferences around the world like California, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, interacting with some very bright minds in the world of Physics. Science, healthy education and empowerment of women in science are topics very close to her heart. Her desire is not only to see more females that pursue scientific careers, but also see those who already are part of the scientific community thrive in an environment where women feel comfortable showing their brilliance and also BE women. 


You are a research assistant in Particle Physics and passionate about women empowerment in science. How would you describe your journey? 

Despite the opinions I would hear about the difficulties and very little prospects of a career in Science, I decided to edge all that out and follow my gut. So I started studying Physics at the University of Tirana in 2012. I was studying Physics because that was the subject I knew I really enjoyed studying. I had no idea what to expect from the science environment for the years to come. And as it always happens when you follow your heart’s desires, the rest of the journey is a story. I ended up from the modest scientific environment of the University of Tirana to the science campuses of leading universities of the world such as ETH Zurich and the elite university of France; Ecole Polytechnique, not to mention being offered a PhD position at University of Oxford. Now I am doing research in Theoretical Particle Physics and working under the supervision of world leaders in my field in Germany. From Albania to Switzerland, to France and Germany, I have met some very brilliant scientists, but I have also noticed that not only are there very few women doing science. Even them who are already in science seem to be sometimes out of touch of their power; not fully aware that no matter what, they can shape the world around them. I have also noticed that it is very easy for women in science to loose touch with their femininity, their womanly essence. This is how I started developing this idea that I should do something about this. To me being a smart lady is only a piece of the equation of being an empowered woman, what I would call the Queen archetype of a woman. I must say I know many of them outside science, and a some of them in the field of Physics, but the world definitely needs many more. 

Why do you believe that the world needs more women leaders in science? 

There are a few reasons. The simplest one is because there are not enough women leaders in science today and this needs to change for the mere reason that both men and women can equally well contribute to the world of science. Due to cultural reasons, for a very long time, science has been uncharted territory for women and this of course has tremendously improved in the past decades. Yet, it needs to keep improving faster. It would have been such an uncommon question if you would have asked me “why does the world need more male leaders in science?” wouldn’t it? So there needs to come a time when asking ‘why do we need more women leaders in science?’ sounds an uncommon a question as well. Also more women scientists means more women educators in the world, and I believe a healthy generation needs a good balance of male and female models. 

The Mastermind program Think Big & Go Global: how has it changed you? 

One of the most valuable things I have learned in the program is that I do not have to wait for the perfect time or until everything looks perfect to start taking action on causes that are close to my heart. Because that perfect timing will simply never come. When you are – most of the time – dealing with natural science problems, there is this risk of falling into the trap of the ‘perfect solution’ for problems. You know, nature always chooses the perfect solution. I realised it was such a waste of time to apply that principle to some of the real life projects I always wanted to start doing. 

What are you goals and plans for the future? 

Apart from doing research, I want to start helping women in science become the most empowered version of themselves they can be and share their values, their story, their special gifts with the world beyond science as well. Hopefully that will also inspire other women to pursue science and see the beauty of it. In addition, I am also interested in bringing more of success stories of scientists to the light of public attention. I see some lack of visibility of scientists outside of the doors of universities or their research institutes. We can all learn more by sharing the knowledge. I am now in the beginning of developing my platform but I feel very excited for what is coming with it.

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