Galina Romanova - 2020 SPIE Women in Optics Planner
Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics University, Russia
Country of Birth: Russia
I was always interested in many fields. What really attracted me to engineering was my drive to know how and why different technologies worked. What were the laws of physics that governed them? That curiosity is what started me down this path.
I teach optics courses at a great university. This knowledge enables students to develop new optical instruments, including telescopes and optical systems for VR/AR. I also participate in other projects with a team of specialists in mechanical design, electronics, and programming. Together, we are working to create devices for conducting better research and enhancing life.
Teaching to big groups of students while working on research projects can be a hard job, so you have to make decisions to find an appropriate balance. If you don’t, these two aspects of your work will absorb all of your time. Another challenge is that the projects that our team works on are very different and include the developing systems for various fields—medicine, industry, entertainment, astronomy, etc. In these cases, only collaboration and working as a team will help.
I wish someone had advised me to be more confident, to not be afraid to ask questions, to look wider, and to try my ideas. I think working in engineering or academia means always asking questions about why something operates a certain way and how we can improve it.
Your gender does not determine your potential. Try to find what is interesting to you personally. Be confident, open-minded, and do not be afraid to ask if something is unclear.