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#STEMStories: Ileana, GirlsGoIT Ambassador, Moldova

1. Introduce yourself, who are you what do you do?

My name is Ileana Crudu, and I have always been a fan of STEAM. I am the ambassador of a project called GirlsGoIT, where we empower girls in and through technology. 

2. How did you arrive at this career (or point in your life/work)? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do?

I grew up in a post-soviet country. Back in early 2000, my older sister had a computer, which was extremely rare. I think we were the only family on the street that had a computer at that time. First thing I did to that computer was to disassemble it so I can see how that fan works. I loved to build and disassemble items. Girls my age had barbies and dolls; I had my toolbox. So, I guess I have always known I wanted to study and work in STEAM.

3. What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning, especially on those cold, dark mornings?

I have always been a curious person. STEAM does not let allow to get bored. I try to wake up with a smile on my face every single morning. If that does not happen, there is coffee to solve the problem. My dream is to get to that point where girls are not a minority in this field, and STEAM education is accessible to every single kid. Until then, there is no time to rest. So I guess my biggest motivation is my goal of having equal representation, opportunity and pay for women in STEAM. 

4. What is your personal cure for stress or how do you raise your spirits in times of doubt? Can you share a Story?

Whenever I feel stressed, I take a break from work and do something that loses me up. Most of the time, I pun on my Queen playlist and go for a walk. 

5. Who is your role model? If no one, any thoughts on this?

I do not have a role model. I think it is quite dangerous to idolatrize someone. But I try to learn and get inspired by everyone I know. I learnt from my mom to be grateful, from my sister to fight for everything I want, from my college professors that there is more to life than just academia.

6. What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back in time?

To stop stressing out over minor things. Take a long breath and start thinking about how you can solve a problem. If it seems complicated, think of the problem as a computer science assignment and divide the problem into smaller, simpler problems that are easy to solve. If things don't work out at all, go out and enjoy some coffee. There was no problem from the beginning.

7. Top 3 tips for girls starting out in STEM?

  1. The Holy Grail of success in any field is NETWORK! Meet people that have the same passions as you and people that are total opposites of you. They are a free source of inspiration.
  2. Another tip is to be perseverent. You might not get that internship that you wanted. It's okay. Apply to as many as you need until you get one.
  3. Last, do what you love and love what you do. Life is too short to spend it doing things that don't matter to you.

8. How do you measure your success?

If the work I do makes a difference for a young woman, that is enough for me. If a girl chooses a career in STEAM after being in our program, I consider it a success.

9. Where can we find out more about your work?

You can find everything about GirlsGoIT on our website, https://girlsgoit.org/. You can also check out some youtube videos about our STEM summer camp and testimonial from our girls. You can only check my twitter, @IleanaCrudu, for more information.

 10. Are you social? Will you share your Twitter handle, or LinkedIn profile, or Facebook so that young women can connect with you?

You can find me on Twitter and Instagram: @IleanaCrudu