Updated: Apr 19
February 11 is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which allows us to honor women’s significant achievements in science as well as support girls entering Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic careers. In this occasion allow us to introduce Veronika Nemcova, who studies in Denmark at Aalborg University. She has been participating in the IRENE and RES-Q+ stroke care improvement projects for several months now and has great things ahead of her. Thank you Veronika, for your time.
Veronika, where are you from and why did you choose to study at AAU?
I come from Pardubice, a town in the Czech Republic. After graduating from high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted a big change- to push my limits and come out of my comfort zone. It was a leap into the dark, but I needed a challenge. I was good at math, and I liked technology, so I found a study that came closest to that and went for it.
What do you study and what are your plans for the future?
My study is called Medialogy, which is a made-up word so don’t even try to Google it. It is supposed to be a mix of media and technology, where we explore the interactions between human and machine. Right now, my main plan is to finish my Master’s education. I avoid making too many long-term plans as they often don’t work out or change completely but I hope to stay in research for a while after I graduate.
How would you like to apply your knowledge gained to the stroke care?
Many people would probably think I have nothing to answer here, as my study is not medical. However, as we move further and further into the future, the integration of technology is becoming common in all areas of life. This is where my education comes in. I understand both human (stroke survivors, caregivers or physicians) and computer (the technology that can improve stroke care). By being familiar with both, I can tailor technology to the users’ needs, which is what I am currently doing in the RES-Q+ project.
What did studying abroad bring you?
I could probably write a whole essay about this topic. It was truly life changing. It was difficult, stressful, lonely but also incredibly rewarding, inspiring and enlightening. I have gained so many great friends, with different qualities and different opinions, who helped me grow as a person and that I truly respect. I faced many challenges that I had to overcome, and I learned so much in the process. I think this is something everyone needs to experience at some point of their life.
Do you plan on coming back to Czech Republic?
Again, very difficult question for me. As I mentioned before, I prefer going with the flow rather than forcing plans I made five years ago. For now, it doesn’t make sense for me to go back but that doesn’t mean I never will. I miss my country and I have a lot of dear friends and family back home. I would like to believe that one day I will return to give back to my nation, for example, in terms of knowledge that I have gained abroad.
Do you feel it is more difficult for a woman to make a mark in research?
This is a difficult question. I think we live in a time, where as a woman, it is easier to have a successful professional life than in the past. Lately I have observed a trend, where technological studies, which are often labelled as “male only”, have their doors open and actively work towards attracting more women. This is definitely a positive shift, but I think we need to keep up these tendencies and continue integrating and supporting women in roles dominated by men.
What do you do to relieve stress?
Stress is a part of my life and I think that I share this with many other young people of this generation. There seems to be a constant pressure to always perform 101% percent and have no room for errors. Some stress-relieving habits that work for me are taking walks in nature, having someone to talk to, having some physical daily activity or routine. It is also important to understand you cannot eliminate stress or depression, you can only learn how to handle it well.