Klaus vom Hofe


"It's fun to understand the world"

Great joy at the presentation of the Women's STEM Awards! For the seventh time in a row, Deutsche Telekom awarded prizes to female STEM students with outstanding final theses. STEM stands for Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

For Thurid Jochim it was clear early on which path she wanted to take. "Since ninth grade, I've wondered how devices work in everyday life. So I studied electrical engineering at the TU Dresden. It's a joy to understand the world."Now she has won the special prize "Social Impact" of the Women's STEM Award with her final thesis "Analysing weaknesses in posture with artificial intelligence". Thurid Jochim knows that four out of five people in her life suffer from back pain, and she focuses on early detection in childhood. Another special prize was awarded to Annika Schröder for her work on the topic of the "Digital World" for the Berlin framework curriculum for "Sachunterricht". She shows how the digital world can be made tangible as a subject in primary school. The jury's key question for these awards was: How does the work contribute to changing our society positively? 

And the winner is ...

Not only the two special prizes are new in 2020. At this year's Women's STEM Award, two female graduates celebrate the overall victory with their final theses: Mila Sophia Gorecki (Artificial Intelligence) and Ina Fink (Cyber Security): 

  • Mila Sophia Gorecki dealt with these questions: How does artificial intelligence create unfair decisions? How can we minimize such prejudices? "A highly relevant and much discussed topic, one of fundamental importance for our society: the fairness of artificial intelligence," emphasized Jan Hofmann from Telekom in the laudation during the live online broadcast. In order to address her research question, Mila Gorecki fundamentally challenged common assumptions with which systems for machine learning are built today. She examined these assumptions from the perspective of justice and tested her approach to make AI systems more just in experiments - using the example of assessing the creditworthiness of consumers. Gorecki: "Intelligent systems fascinate me. And I want to understand how they can be implemented technically. It is important to me to keep the interaction between people, technology and society in mind. This has led to my work, in which I investigate unfairness in algorithmic decisions."
  • Ina Fink developed in her master thesis a security solution for smart home devices: The system can be used via smartphone app in the existing network without the need for major retrofitting of smart home devices. "The practical approach convinced us," said juror Lena Simons. After all, which user is still able to keep track of all the networked devices in his household, let alone maintain them individually? This means that the smart refrigerator in the kitchen is also secure, as are all other devices connected to the Internet. Ina Fink also encourages all women to choose STEM subjects: "I believe that many women shy away from STEM subjects because of their lack of experience. However, I also know that everyone starts from scratch in their studies and that the most important thing is the fun of solving problems and perseverance".

Deutsche Telekom, the student magazine "audimax" and the "MINT Zukunft schaffen" initiative have been presenting the award since 2014. STEM graduates from all over the world can submit their final thesis on strategic growth areas. The focus is on the cloud, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, cyber security and networks of the future. On the jury: Angela Maragkopoulou, Anna-Lena Bruné, Caren Klingbeil, Jan Hofmann, Julia Oelgart, Frank Strecker, Lena Simons and Thomas Tschersich as well as Nina Brandau from the industry association Bitkom. The patron is Claudia Nemat, Board member for Technology and Innovation at Deutsche Telekom.

"We live in challenging times due to Covid 19, climate change and digital transformation. Especially in these times, curiosity and STEM qualification help, because this is how we learn to solve problems really well," says Claudia Nemat. "As a physicist, I can say that it is a wonderful qualification for many things in life. Congratulations to all and all the best."