Empowering all Women, in Space and on Earth

DLR networking tours

“35 participants, 3 guided tours, 1 discussion panel and lot of business cards.”

On November 6th, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) hosted a WIA-Europe networking event in Oberpfaffenhofen. With the brief “discover an organisation, listen to what inspiring people have to say and meet your peers”, participants from more than 10 different companies, universities and governmental organisations joined the event to do just that.

After a warm welcome from Richard Bamler, three enthusiastic guides introduced us to their fields. At the institute for Robotics and Mechatronics, Alin Albu-Schäffer showed, for example, how their research in robotics was enabling minimally invasive surgery during complicated operations. Then, in the huge hall of the flight facility, Monika Krautstrunk told us how their Falcon airplane was used to evaluate the ashes of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano during the crisis that paralysed Europe. After that, in the Columbus Control Center, 2011 WIA Europe Young Professional award winner Laura Zanardini explained what you tell an astronaut who is orbiting the earth at 28000 km/h above your head. With so many interesting things to hear, it was just too short!

Now that we knew a little more of what is done at DLR, WIA members Andrea Boese and Diana Pueyo introduced non-members to WIA-Europe and gave a taste of the programmes and activities running at WIA, and the Munich local group in particular.

After these introductions, we jumped into the discussion panel on the topic “How to break the glass ceiling*?”. The panel was comprised of Eva-Maria Aicher, Eva Semmler and Andrea Boese and moderated by Diana Pueyo. With a sociologist, an engineer and a biologist in the panel, the diversity of experiences, backgrounds and approaches of our three panelists sparked an enthusiastic discussion and intense participation by the women and men watching.

The evening ended, as many good evenings do, around food and a glass of wine or juice for those driving. It was difficult to end the lively discussions and there were so many interesting people to meet that the get-together went on for an hour longer that planned!

Thank you to Miriam Kamin, Andrea Boese, Andrea Guidi and all the staff at DLR for their collaboration in the organisation of the event. Thank you also to the guides for their enthusiastic explanations during the guided tours and to the panelists for sharing their experiences and opinions with all of us.

*Note: The metaphor of “glass ceiling” describes an invisible barrier into which the few women who rise through the ranks eventually crash, before being able to reach the top positions. The term was first used in 1968 in an article of the Wall Street Journal.

Report by Diana Pueyo, Munich local group leader.

Who is who?

  • Aicher, Eva-Maria – Head of Institutional Relation (Tesat-SpaceCom)
  • Albu-Schäffer, (Dr) Alin – Director Robotics and Mechatronics Inst. (DLR)
  • Bamler, (Prof. Dr) Richard – Director Remote Sensing Technology Institute (IMF) and Head of site management (DLR)
  • Boese, Andrea – Director of International Relations (DLR & WIA-Europe) – WIA member, WIA Representative at DLR
  • Guidi, Andrea – Product Assurance Manager (SpaceOpal) – WIA member
  • Kamin, Miriam – Communications Oberpfaffenhofen (DLR)
  • Krautstrunk, (Dr) Monika – Head of Flight Facility OP (DLR)
  • Pueyo, Diana – Product Assurance Manager (EADS Astrium) – WIA member, WIA Munich Group Leader
  • Semmler, Eva – Programme Manager for Arianne 5 ME upper stage tank (MT Aerospace)
  • Zanardini, Laura – Columbus Systems Flight Controller (DLR) – WIA member
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