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Valentina Donzella, Senior Teaching Fellow

From a young age I’ve always loved numbers. From about 3 years old, rather than a story it was a sum I wanted at bedtime! Once I started school, it came as no surprise that I excelled in maths and science. Other children used to tease me at school for being so good at it.

Determined to succeed

At university I studied Electronics Engineering, where I was one of only 10 female students out of 300. My lecturer’s first introductory words, to the girls were: “Let’s see how many of you make it to the end.”

Sadly these kind of comments were not unheard of throughout my studies. It was disappointing, but made me even more determined to succeed.

Juggling studies and motherhood

After my degree, I did an MSc in Electronics Engineering Microsystems followed by my PhD in Innovative Technologies for Communication and Information Engineering from Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (Pisa, Italy), one of the most prestigious Universities in Italy. I was expecting my first daughter whilst coming to the end of my PhD and actually wrote my dissertation whilst on maternity leave. Again, people questioned my decision and the timing, but I used the negativity to help keep me focused.

I joined WMG in 2015 and although my job is demanding, I love what I do. As a woman, and a mother to two girls, I feel it’s my duty to give back by spreading the word to future generations that you can combine your career and family life successfully. You really don’t have to be ‘boyish’ to be an engineer.

Valentina Donzella

Valentina Donzella

Academic profile