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2021 International Day of Women and Girls in Science

photo of Polona Šafarič Tepeš working in the lab
Polona Šafarič Tepeš is a visiting Ph.D. student in the Cancer Biology Interdisciplinary Doctor Programme in Biomedicine at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, collaborating with and now in residence at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In February 2021, Tepeš participated virtually in the annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science conference, hosted by the United Nations.

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is observed annually by the United Nations (U.N.) to promote full and equal access to, and participation in, science for women and girls. In 2021, the virtual conference took place on February 11 with the theme “Women Scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.”

Zoom screen capture image of Polona Šafarič Tepeš
Tepeš at the 2021 International Day of Women and Girls in Science virtual conference, hosted by the United Nations.
The event hosted 60 speakers from countries all over the world. Polona Šafarič Tepeš, a Slovenian Ph.D. student in the Cancer Biology Interdisciplinary Doctor Programme in Biomedicine at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, is doing part of her doctoral research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). She participated in one of the U.N.’s COVID-19-themed panels. Tepeš says:

“My Ph.D. path has made me realize that hard work and persistence are not enough. Peer and leadership support is crucial. I firmly believe we should aim to provide more support for every woman in STEM.”

As a young scientist, Tepeš fears that “the COVID-19 pandemic is poised to widen the existing gender disparities. This is particularly true for early-stage career women scientists like myself.” She identified ways universities and research institutions can provide secure funding, mentoring, and other infrastructure to help women succeed in STEM careers. Tepeš notes, “The amount of support I received from CSHL President Dr. Bruce Stillman, Dr. David Spector, supervisors Dr. Raffaella Sordella and Dr. Borut Strukelj, the Ambassador of Slovenia to the U.N. H.E. Darja Bavdaz Kuret, and my peers are what helped me to move forward.”

Written by: Jasmine Lee, Content Developer/Communicator | jaslee@cshl.edu

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