RMIT women in STEM: Meet three alumni leaders in Germany

RMIT women in STEM: Meet three alumni leaders in Germany

From Melbourne to Munich and beyond, meet three RMIT women working in STEM in Germany: Katharina Ivanenko, Sahana Shivanna and Naghmeh Torabi.

RMIT alumnus Katharina Ivanenko

Katharina Ivanenko, a strategic product manager in digital health at Allianz Digital Health GmbH in Munich, completed a Master of Business Information Technology at RMIT in Australia.

"Besides the open-minded and welcoming Australian culture, I really appreciated the way RMIT was running its courses," she said. 

"What impressed me the most and what shaped my professional development was the practical approach in each and every course I took.

"It was this experience I gained as a student at one of Melbourne’s private clinics where I discovered that digitalisation in healthcare was my passion," Ivanenko said.

"And while I've had some career detours along the way – those which were incredibly rewarding – I’m now realising my dream working in health technology." 

In her current role at Allianz Digital Health GmbH, Ivanenko is responsible for redesigning the way an insurance company and its healthcare providers communicate. 

"Through automated data processing and optimisation of process flows, my goal is to enable both doctors and the insurer to concentrate on their strengths to lead to superior patient experiences," she said.  

Ivanenko’s advice for women considering a career in technology is to dare to dream and dare to act. 

"You’re the architect of your own path and the decisions you make will shape the path you take," she said.

"Pick a field you’re most passionate about and think about your interests and strengths – don’t think about the limitations.

"I would also like to highlight the power of connecting with like-minded people. Networking is key." 

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'RMIT alumnus Katharina Ivanenko' Katharina Ivanenko, a strategic product manager in digital health at Allianz Digital Health GmbH in Munich, completed a Master of Business Information Technology at RMIT University.

RMIT alumnus Sahana Shivanna

Sahana Shivanna, an electronic design engineer at iSyst Intelligente Systeme GmbH in Nuremberg, made her way to Germany through RMIT’s International Industry Experience and Research Program (RIIERP).

"It was in my final year of a Master of Engineering (Electrical and Electronics Engineering) at RMIT in Australia, where I secured a 12-month internship placement at iSyst Intelligente Systeme GmbH, where I supported to develop a real-time automotive software," she said.   

"Applying for RMIT's RIIERP program was the best decision I made during my study at RMIT and it has proven to be a game changer in my career path.

"It not only gave me an opportunity to set my foot in Europe but has also enriched my experience with broader international exposure," Shivanna said.

"The journey of transformation from being a student to a professional engineer has led me through wide range of learning cycles, both at a professional and personal front. 

"During my internship, I was offered the opportunity to continue on as a Hardware and Software Test Engineer and now I’m responsible for product design and development of digital electronic devices for automotive applications."

Shivanna said that at first, adapting to the local culture in Germany did present its share of challenges but determination and perseverance paid off in the end. 

"Through these experiences, I've mastered stepping out of my comfort zone and faced my fears and challenges," she said. 

"I've improved upon my skill sets and have learnt to unlearn and adapt, and most importantly, to stay committed to bringing my dreams into reality, which has seen my evolution into the strong, confident and successful woman that I am today." 

And Shivanna's advice for women considering a career in engineering?

"It’s always exciting to see more women in STEM," she said.

"I would recommend taking on a global internship to gain practical experience and wider exposure in your area of study." 

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'RMIT alumnus Sahana Shivanna' Sahana Shivanna, an electronic design engineer at iSyst Intelligente Systeme GmbH in Nuremberg, completed a Master of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) at RMIT University.

RMIT alumnus Naghmeh Torabi

Naghmeh Torabi, a PhD candidate in the Electronic Device (ELD) group at RWTH University in Aachen, researches the design and fabrication of next generation electronic and optoelectronic devices based on 2D materials, such as transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) and graphene.

Torabi's journey began with an RMIT Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical Engineering) (Honours). 

"When I completed my degree at RMIT in Australia, I decided to go back to my country and spend some time with my family," she said.

"And it was back at home where I continued my learning through a master degree at Sharif University in Iran, where I gained invaluable experience in electronic devices based on 2D materials. 

"To broaden my horizons in this field of research, I decided to make the move to Germany to take on a PhD – and now I'm working with one of the best research groups in the world," Torabi said. 

"Along the way, I’ve found there to be fewer women than men researching in my area and I’ve needed to expand my own networks to connect with other women in science." 

Torabi's advice for women seeking a career in STEM is to not be afraid of feeling frustrated at times.

"Women have always played a significant role in science – and this is only increasing," she said. 

"Whenever I've felt discouraged, I've spoken with other women in the field and have always found the inspiration that I've needed." 

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'RMIT alumnus Naghmeh Torabi' Naghmeh Torabi, a PhD candidate in the Electronic Device (ELD) group at RWTH University in Aachen, completed a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical Engineering) (Honours) at RMIT University.

Story: Karen Matthews

11 February 2021

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11 February 2021

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  • Science and technology
  • Alumni
  • RMIT Europe

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