Guest post by Darya Alontseva, 2015 Emerging Leader, Kazakhstan
I have to start by saying it was very difficult to have a word limit for this guest blog. I would share even more because the TechWomen experience was significant. Yes, there were challenges, but my mentorship at Juniper Networks has taught me to respond to challenges. So, what I have learned professionally during my time at Juniper?
Before the program, I established a main professional development goal which I wanted to achieve with the help of the TechWomen mentorship. I would like to be one of the leaders and organizers of an international research project that will bring together women scientists from different countries. I need experience in developing joint international projects. I need to learn how to organize work in a multinational team, how to get a patent in the United States, how to get current information about scientific developments of other research groups, how to inform others about the development of my research team and how to get various companies interested in supporting research.
I must say that I learned much more than I could imagine. I worked in accordance with a specially designed, personal schedule. With it being flexible enough, my professional mentor Saura Naim took into account my wishes and updated my schedule so I could include some of my necessary professional development activities. I promptly received all the help I sought and my mentor was always available. And the colleagues were always approachable and friendly.
I would like to specify my activities: I had 1:1 meetings with the leading specialists in my department. All mentees at Juniper had a unique experience as we were very lucky to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration in Houston. I participated in the workshops “patents,” “licenses,” and “patent process in Juniper.” I attended a “Toastmasters” meeting twice, developing the skills of public speaking. I visited the Juniper labs and I got an absolutely new experience hearing about “GoDaddy” at the conference. And last, but not least, all mentees had meetings with all members of the Executive Leadership Team.
I achieved a lot at Juniper. I learned more about project management, IP protection, how to organize work in a multinational team, and developed my project. Moreover, on my initiative, a meeting was organized in Berkeley Lab, which was very important for understanding the development of research and professional network. Here is my effort to express in one sentence the essence of my professional project: “New technologies at the service of data protection, project management, research and development as well as attracting women to work in technology companies as a factor in improving the company productivity and the society well-being.”
I learned about myself during this time. I truly enjoyed the style of working here and I love the diversity of ages, nationalities and characters. I think that diversity is a key word for the life and work at Juniper and I loved it. I should note that Juniper is an amazing host company. We seemed to have become members of the big family during the mentorship–thank you so much Saura and Christina, and all our mentors–I am very grateful to all of you.
I believe I will take everything I learned here and I will use it all for my professional development as well as for developing my country. I became more confident and determined. The 1st thing I will do – I’ll improve the management of my projects with the help of new technologies. I will mentor women scientists who will be involved in this project as well as my students. I have grown professionally in many ways, and it is very important for me to bring my experience back to my country. I believe we (ELs) can change the world for the better – thank you TechWomen!
Darya Alontseva is a professor of the department of Instrument Engineering and Technology Process Automation, East-Kazakhstan State Technical University, Kazakhstan. Darya is a leading researcher in her research area (Material Science and Physics). She has fifteen years of research experience in developing new material and processes. Currently she is a project manager of 3 projects with state funding, 2 of them in collaboration with British scientists. She supervised 3 doctoral theses, authored and co-authored more than 100 publications. Darya is a member of the International Scientific Committee of 3 scientific journals. She was awarded with “The best women-inventor” in 2015, and with “The Best University Teacher” the Republic of Kazakhstan state grant in 2012 and 2007; as a grantee of “Bolashak” Presidential scholarship Darya had a 2-month research internship in Japan in 2009.