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Tajda Bogovič, MESI's software developer, is nominated for Slovenian Woman Engineer of the Year!

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We are very happy to share that our software developer Tajda Bogovič is one of the 10 nominees at the 2022 Woman Engineer of the Year in Slovenia. This nationwide initiative aims to highlight successful individuals in this domain and thus encourage more women from young generations to decide on this career path.

Photo: Andrej Križ

This is a second achievement of Tajda Bogovič in the sphere of promoting women in engineering this year. In March, we were proud to report that she became president of IEEE WiE Slovenia. IEEE WiE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – Women in Engineering) is a global network supporting women engineers and scientists worldwide. Here is an interview with Tajda about her activities in promoting the engineer profession and about how MESI is helping her achieve her life goal: to take medicine to a new level with artificial intelligence (AI).

An interview with Tajda

What is the Woman Engineer of the Year project and what does this nomination mean to you?

As part of the Woman Engineer of the Year project, 10 nominees are selected in Slovenia each year who could further the enthusiasm of young people for technology, engineering, natural sciences and innovation. They are primarily assessed on the potential to inspire young generations of girls with their work and personality.

Since I have been active in the promotion of women in engineering for quite a few years, the nomination definitely provides me with additional motivation to continue with my efforts.

Role models are very important for young generations. Despite the convenience of online education programmes and the power of online influencers, personal contact remains one of the strongest impacts on young people. This is also what your work with IEEE Women in Engineering is about. Could you tell us a bit more about that?

IEEE WiE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – Women in Engineering) is a professional organisation of women engineers dedicated to the encouragement, promotion and inclusion of women in science and technology. One of my activities in Slovenia for the last seven years has been teaching girls (from high schools and this year also from elementary ones) at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science of the University of Maribor (UM FERI). I introduce them to the basics of programming in the scope of the FERI Academy holiday programme. I am happy to say that more and more girls decide to attend workshops and show interest in technical and technological professions.

What inspired you to become an engineer?

Computer science is part of almost every machine, tool, device, car and many other things, either in as an algorithm or as a technology. Computer science is present in a variety of fields; many times, it can lead to unique discoveries – especially in medicine, which I am particularly interested in.

I have always liked to help, explain things and convey knowledge. A good engineer must have quite a few qualities: perseverance, desire for innovation and work dedication, as well as courage and a different perspective on solving a problem. They must also ready to collaborate and realise diverse views and wishes.

Medicine is one of the biggest inspirations in your work, and has also brought you to MESI. Could you describe your work here, and the greatest highlights and challenges that come with it?

I am aware that a healthy person has many wishes, but someone who is ill only has one – to be healthy. If I can contribute to society with my knowledge and skills as an individual and an engineer, that is the least I can do. I am happy to be working at a company with such mission.

At MESI, I work in the development of medical equipment for early diagnosis, correct referral and clinical recommendations based on artificial intelligence. My work connects well with my academic research; in my doctoral studies, I solve problems in medicine by means of machine learning.

My current work at MESI entails data transfer to healthcare information systems, data processing as well as cloud storage. I would say that the biggest challenge is the coordination of different health administrative systems (especially Electronic Health Records or EHRs), as countries have different regulatory frameworks that our products must comply with.

The work is also interesting because we constantly strive for improvements and upgrades, especially in terms of more effective disease diagnosis, for example with artificial intelligence.

How can artificial intelligence or machine learning contribute to the development of medicine?

Machine learning is used for prediction of disease development, image processing and searching for signal anomalies, e.g. in ECG.

An advantage of machine learning is that it can process a large number of examples very quickly. In this way, things can be discovered that are not initially obvious to the human eye. In this way, machine learning can contribute to faster development and new insights.

Where do you see the advantages of women on engineering teams?

I think that, just like in any other profession, women have a different view of or approach to problem solving. I know some very successful female engineers, but their stories often don’t get as much attention as they could. They could inspire girls and women to pursue an engineering career and show everyone that values such as hard work, perseverance, courage and fearlessness in the face of challenges are something that society has a great need for, but can unfortunately be underappreciated. Nevertheless, I think that things are changing.

Photo: Andrej Križ