What do you teach at Ca’ Foscari? What are your main research interests?
I currently teach two courses in the Master's degree programme in Sustainable Chemistry and Technology, Industrial Chemistry curriculum. Both courses - Industrial Organic Chemistry and Catalytic Laboratory and Methodology for Fine Chemistry - fall within the Industrial Chemistry scientific discipline group. My main interests and therefore my field of research cover the various aspects of catalysis, ranging from catalyst synthesis to their applications to obtain products of industrial interest, mainly drugs, agrochemicals and fragrances. Specifically, my research focuses on the study of catalytic reactions in two-phase systems in order to achieve more sustainable processes.
Tell us about your academic path.
I graduated in Chemistry (five-year degree) from the University of Florence and then, almost by chance, came to Ca' Foscari with a one-year scholarship. The scholarship was then renewed for another four years and during this period my desire to continue my work at Ca' Foscari grew stronger and stronger. The first opportunity was offered to me with a competition for a graduate technician position and from there my university career began: I became first a researcher and then an associate professor.
What do teaching and researching mean to you?
Both teaching and researching mean having the chance to have a stimulating and constantly renewing job. Working with young people, such as the students who attend my courses and my research laboratory during their internship, means not only being able to pass on knowledge and scientific experience but also being in tune with them and always trying to keep up with the changing times and the new generations.
The issue of gender inequality in STEM disciplines in Italy is still very topical. What would you tell girls who want to approach these disciplines?
The problem of STEM disciplines for girls is very much felt in our university, which organises events to overcome this problem. I believe that today's girls are too smart and determined to back down when faced with such difficulty. Our female students are just as good as, or even better than, their male counterparts, and thankfully the world is now full of women who have made a name for themselves in jobs that until recently were considered to be exclusively for men. STEM disciplines are approached just like any other discipline, i.e. with desire, passion and determination, and nothing and nobody can stand in the way of a female student achieving certain goals in these scientific disciplines.