Women in Science Profiles
Dr. Irena Nancovska Serbec
I decided to study computer science because I thought it could be compared to applied mathematics which I had found very interesting already in primary and secondary schools. I regarded it as truthful, consistent and very serious. Computer science, on the other hand, seemed much more playful and useful. After I had successfully defended my MSc thesis in computer science in which I dealt with fractal characteristics of real-world time series, I continued my studies with an interdisciplinary PhD degree. At that time my research work was focused on electrical engineering. In my PhD thesis I dealt with autoregressive modelling of time series generated by DC voltage reference elements composing DC voltage reference sources. After graduation I started working as an assistant, first at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and later at the Faculty of Education in Ljubljana. Lately my work also involves research in the field of modelling in education. Besides that I study the use of different data mining methods in e-learning and in the development of learning systems in general.
I do not consider myself to be a scientist. I see myself as a woman who is using science in her approach to teaching. It seems to me that the choice of occupation should be motivated by one's preferences and abilities. Gender should not be of great importance.
Despite all this I have noticed that in scientific and academic society it is the male values and "rules of conduct" that prevail. For example, personnel administration and different committees cannot tell you right away whether the lecturing qualification is "put on hold" during the time of maternity leave (the answer is yes by the way) and – in the case when you have submitted the topic proposal for your thesis – whether maternity leave is included into the time you have at disposal to hand in your PhD thesis or not. On the other hand, however, it was always clear that during military service everything is "put on hold". This is the consequence of the fact that the number of women who needed this sort of information has always been very low in comparison to men.
What I value most in private life is a loving family. My four-year-old daughter does not hold a grudge against me when in the evenings I have to work on my articles and projects and do not have time to brush my teeth with her and read her bedtime stories. Without the help of my husband and our parents I would not be able to do this kind of work. I get all my energy from the love that I have for my family, friends, students – people in general.
I will express my final thought as a woman. Nothing is hard if you set your hear on it – baking bread, teaching or working in science for that matter.