Dr. Soulla Louca

Dr. Soulla Louca

Professor, Head of Department, Director
The University of Nicosia
Fintech, Blockchain, Metaverse

The Intersection Between Research, Education, and Awareness

Dr. Soulla Louca earned her 1994 PhD in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology. She is a Professor, the Head of the Digital Innovation Department, and a Director at the Institute for the Future at the University of Nicosia, contributing to technological and educational advancements and research. This year, in collaboration with colleagues within the department, Soulla introduced another pioneering MSc program in the Metaverse.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in tech?

Over the years, I encountered various obstacles, including gender bias, stereotypes, feelings of isolation, and confidence issues. Reflecting on the past, I recall a meeting abroad with a male colleague to discuss a project with the CTO of an IT company. Initially, the CTO (a male) directed his attention solely to my colleague. However, as I presented and discussed the project, his attitude changed. This was not an isolated incident.

Through years of hard work and determination, I have successfully navigated and surmounted most, if not all, of these challenges. Today, I focus on ensuring that young women entering the industry don’t face these same hurdles. I am a mentor and empower them to overcome these challenges effectively, which, unfortunately, still occur.

What advice would you give to other women interested in a tech career?

You are all remarkable, intelligent, and captivating individuals! Venture into our dynamic world, follow your aspirations, and pursue your dreams. There are no bounds, not even the sky!

What are your thoughts on the future of women in tech? 

The future for women in tech is promising due to increased efforts to rectify gender disparities. Organizations and initiatives are fostering inclusive environments and more opportunities for women in STEM. 

Nevertheless, it’s crucial to acknowledge that obstacles and biases persist, necessitating sustained endeavors to realize genuine gender equality within the tech realm. Gender parity issues exist in workplaces, such as wage discrepancies and disparities in seniority. For instance, the gender pay gap in European academia ranges from 8% to 20%.

Despite remaining obstacles and biases, genuine gender equality is the goal. My vision is a society where gender doesn’t hinder entry or progression in tech. Women from diverse backgrounds contribute various perspectives, championing innovation. I aspire to see more women in leadership roles empowered to pursue their passions without discrimination. Equal educational opportunities should encourage both genders to explore STEM fields. A supportive community with mentorship and resources will help women succeed in tech. 

With ongoing advocacy, mentorship programs, and policies that support women in tech, we can look forward to a future where women play an even more significant role in shaping the technology landscape. Their diverse perspectives and contributions are essential for driving innovation and addressing complex global challenges.

What are your thoughts on diversity and inclusion in the tech industry? 

Both diversity and inclusion imply creativity and innovation. Bringing a wide range of perspectives and experiences to the table is an essential part of problem-solving and innovation, ensuring, at the same time, that the technology is designed to meet the needs of a diverse population. Additionally, it’s a matter of social justice and equal opportunity. Everyone, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, or background, should have an equal chance to participate in and benefit from the tech industry. More than diversity is needed. The tech environment requires inclusivity, where all individuals feel comfortable expressing themselves and sharing their ideas for creativity and innovation. Encouraging and supporting diversity and inclusion in tech is essential to harness the field’s full potential. 

What are you most passionate about? 

New technological advancements foreseen in science fiction movies and discussing them with my students, especially Star Trek, and use cases of tech that promise a better society and a sustainable planet.

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