Among the 100 female students selected worldwide by the International Atomic Energy Agency

They are wonderful ambassadors for female engineering students, for women scientists, for nuclear engineering... and - it goes without saying - for IMT Atlantique. Sophia Alleau and Giovanna Rezende are among the 100 young women worldwide selected by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to receive a Marie Sklodowska-Curie scholarship.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships program

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships program aims to increase the number of women in the nuclear field. Named after the pioneering physicist and Nobel Prize winner Marie Skłodowska-Curie, it aims to inspire and encourage young women to study in the nuclear field, by awarding highly motivated female students a scholarship to follow a Masters program and giving them the opportunity to undertake an internship at the IAEA.

"I first heard about this scholarship in Brazil, but it was during my 2nd year internship in France that my tutor encouraged me to apply. Marie Curie is my main role model as a woman and as a scientist, and one of my greatest inspirations for going into the nuclear field. One of my goals as a woman in nuclear engineering is to be able to encourage more girls to follow this path", says Giovanna Rezende, who has already been supported as a promising profile by her country, Brazil, and is doing a double degree at IMT Atlantique within the DEMIN* theme .

From University to IMT Atlantique and the nuclear industry

Sophia Alleau, a French-Moroccan, aspired to work in the environmental field in high school. "Become an engineer? A teacher talked me out of it because of my maths grades when I had to make my choices on Parcours Sup. So I opted for a CMI master's degree in environmental engineering at the University of Aix-Marseille". In L3, she decided to do her internship in the energy sector to make sure that she really liked it, before going on to do a Master's degree in energy (GEE): "I chose the Environmental Management, Valorisation and Analysis (MAEVA) course, which aims to provide sound management of the energy mix and the ecological transition. It was a great learning experience and made me want to continue my studies by specialising in nuclear engineering. I had studied safety. I wanted to work in production, in a power station". So she took the GEI Univ competitive entrance exam, which allows you to enter an engineering school from university. "I immediately identified IMT Atlantique as the right place for my projects. I don't regret the 2 years that joining IMT Atlantique added to my studies".

Sophia Alleau

After a career nurtured by tenacity and motivation, and strengthened by this recognition from the IAEA, she is now considering which direction to take in her future career. "Maybe I'll do my internship in nuclear energy applied to space or health, and then my final year internship at EDF. In fact, I don't want to rush into using this internship opportunity offered by the IAEA, I've got 1 year to make up my mind". Considering an international career?  "Why not, I'm thinking about it a lot at the moment! It's a stimulating idea to get out of your comfort zone". As an IMT ambassador, she too is "keen to help young women believe in themselves, to convince them that they shouldn't set up any barriers...".

Recognition and a springboard for young women

The IAEA scholarship will enable Giovanna to continue her studies more serenely in France and to meet the costs of a possible doctorate. "I'm really looking forward to this internship at the IAEA. I never dreamt that one day I would be associated with an organisation like this during my career and doing what I love to do," she says. "Ever since I started studying nuclear engineering, I have been fascinated by its potential to transform the world. My goal is to dedicate myself to the design and development of new technologies in nuclear medicine and to bring them to developing countries."

Giovanna Rezende

Both are well aware that this recognition gives them the support of the world's leading organisation for scientific and technical cooperation in the nuclear field, as well as access to the IAEA's international network to develop their careers. The gathering of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship winners to be held in Vienna on 7 and 8 March will give them the opportunity to take their first steps within this prestigious network.

Published on 29.01.2024

by Pierre-Hervé VAILLANT