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Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science
School of Interactive Arts & Technology instructor and acting associate director Helmine Serban was always interested in math and the sciences but it was her learning experiences through her school years and inspiring teachers that led her to pursue the sciences and technology as a career path.
Serban’s academic career began at the Polytechnic University of Timisoara where she studied electrical engineering and went on to complete a master’s degree in electrical engineering and power electronics. Since then, Serban has been sharing her knowledge as an instructor teaching diverse subjects at SIAT including interactive systems, human-computer interaction, electric circuits, mobile computing, web design, and computational media.
Along with the high technical content that Serban provides in her courses, she also strives to intertwine the learning of technology with the creative nature of both technology and engineering. Her aim is to help SIAT students develop into creative graduates who have a strong understanding of the processes involved in an interdisciplinary approach to design.
“As a teacher of technology and engineering-related courses, I enjoy developing course materials and teaching in such a way that my students learn not only the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of a given problem, but also the ‘why,’” says Serban. For example, she explains, why a certain technique or algorithm is used in a certain scenario or why a problem or question is important, both in the context of the course and the real world.
“I believe that one of my goals as a teacher of technology and engineering-related courses is to give students a sense of awareness of their capabilities, so that in the future, when they are confronted with a problem in graduate school or in an industry setting, they will know what resources and tools are available to them, and will have confidence in their ability to find a solution.”
To other women and girls pursuing the sciences, or indeed any field, Serban says to “do what you love and never stop learning.” It’s fine not to know everything, she says; what is important is to continue learning and never be afraid to ask questions.