News: #WomenInSTEM: interview with RENAM Cybersecurity Officer Ecaterina Matenco

#WomenInSTEM: interview with RENAM Cybersecurity Officer Ecaterina Matenco

As a part of the campaign “Celebrating Women in STEM Across the GÉANT Community”, in celebration of the International Day of Women & Girls in Science on February 11 and International Women’s Day on March 8, we asked our wonderful Cybersecurity Officer, Eсaterina Matenco, to tell us about her experiences as a woman in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and her role in RENAM, the Moldovan Research and Education Network.

Ecaterina graduated from the Moldova State University, Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics, in the speciality ‘applied informatics’. With RENAM since 2018, her work relates to the collection, registration and analysis of computer security incidents that effect network resources and RENAM users. She also contributes to research and development of new solutions in the information security domain.

When and why did you choose this area?
Each of us in childhood has some desires and dreams about our future profession. As a child, I dreamed of becoming a rocket engineer and conquering space, but in Moldova this dream is difficult to fulfil. Then I started to study and try different directions in the Information Technology (IT) field. The most interesting, in my opinion, is computer security. Every day this industry develops, as the methods used by computer intruders are developing. It is very important for me that in this profession there is the opportunity and even the need to learn something new, to evolve constantly. It keeps me in good shape and does not let me feel bored.

What is the most interesting part of your work?
First of all, I am delighted with the constant development in this area, the study of new technologies and strategies. I am also grateful for the opportunity to cooperate with experts from different countries. Since cybersecurity in the research and educational area (among Moldovan research and education organisations) is not as advanced as in highly developed countries, the exchange of experience and ideas is very useful for us.

How is your work useful for the development of science and education in Moldova?
In addition to all the work described above, I also deal with crisis management. It includes preparing employees for a crisis situation, as well as certain processes and procedures that will be used by RENAM in a crisis situation.

Did you face any kind of difficulties as a woman working in the IT field?
Often the men, with whom I start working, cannot immediately take me and my ideas seriously. I have to prove my capacities and that I am right. Sometimes a topic can develop into a serious dispute, but in fact for me this is not a problem – it’s a challenge, such situations are good for character building.

What gives you the most satisfaction in your work?
Of course, the satisfaction feeling comes after finding a solution for a problem. Also, when I manage to help someone, it could be my colleagues or end-users, or people who are not connected with RENAM, but have found my contacts and ask for help.

What do you enjoy outside of work?
After intense brain activity I just need to get away and do something that will help clear my head. Sport helps and brings me pleasure. Running at least 5 km in the morning makes me feel like a new person. Also, while running, some interesting new ideas appear.