WISH Alumni

Master's Abroad Fellowship recipients and their stories

For 10 years the EPFL WISH Foundation has supported almost 60 young brilliant women achieve their career goals and beyond. Hear from our former alumni, where they are today, and what a difference your support made for them. 

Switzerland is ranked 9th in the world for best places to be a woman, yet ranks among the worst places for women in europe striving for an academic career (WEF)

Nadine Besse [UC Berkeley]

Thanks to the EPFL WISH-Foundation, I was offered the chance to discover another way of working and thinking. Having had the opportunity to collaborate with world-famous engineers will without any doubt have an impact on my future career. I have now several contacts within North America, what could help me in finding a job there later. Also, I saw that in the US there are more women careering in science than in Switzerland, which is an encouraging novel! For example, in my lab, there were as much female PhDs as male ones, which is rare and quite surprising for my field (I studied Microengineering at EPFL…).

Nadine Besse [UC Berkeley], WISH recipient 2013
Tina Saberi Safaei [MIT]

I am truly thankful of WISH Foundation, since without their support it was not possible for me to do my master project aboard and therefore benefit from invaluable scientific and cultural experiences.

Tina Saberi Safaei [MIT], WISH recipient 2013
Helena Reymond [UCL]

I am most grateful to the WISH foundation for its help, as it enabled me to discover another university with different organisation and ways of working. It made me aware of the place of the woman in science, and how the ones I met at the end of their PhD wish to combine their personal life and carrer in academic of industrial context in many other countries. For example, I was very moved learning from a collegue, how women and men were separated when attending the same meeting in Saudi Arabia. I very much enjoyed my time in London and managing a project and this experience has increased my wish to continue in this direction and balance it with the different stages of my personal life.

Helena Reymond [UCL], WISH recipient 2012
Diane Ansermet [NTU]

The WISH foundation helped to make my exchange in Singapore possible. This had a great impact on my future as I found a PhD position in Physics in my University in Singapore (NTU) and thus will stay for approximately 4 years. This would never have been possible otherwise because I wasn't picturing myself doing a PhD in Physics but rather stay in the Engineering department, but meeting the right people and the right lab made me change my mind. I am now very happy with my decision and am really grateful to have this opportunity. I am going to keep the WISH foundation in mind and will contribute to its development when possible. I surely had a few hard times as a women in Engineering during my studies, and I know it will still happen during my PhD in Physics as it is seen as "weird" or "unnatural" for many persons I meet. I think many women in a scientific career want to change this trend, and I am certainly one of them. Thank you very much for the support the foundation showed me, it has been greatly appreciated and will not be forgotten.

Diane Ansermet [NTU], WISH recipient 2012
Stephanie Kayser [Stanford]

The WISH Foundation made me realize the importance of encouraging young women to pursue their education and career in engineering. In a field where women are underrepresented, a financial support can make a big difference and represent a huge encouragement for young women having the potential to become highly competent engineers. Every member of the society should make sure that young women's education in the engineering field is not hindered due to financial issues. I am extremely grateful to the WISH Foundation for allowing me to have such a great experience at Stanford. I now feel like helping other young women to achieve their professional goals. I am not able to make donations to the foundation yet but I will be happy to do so once I will get a stable job. In the meantime, I am open to share my experience overseas with any young female student at EPFL and make them believe in their career aspirations.

Stephanie Kayser [Stanford], WISH recipient 2011
Djenet Bousbaine [Yale]

The WISH foundation provided me the money required to do my master's project abroad at the prestigious Yale University in one of the best (if not the best) host-pathogen interaction lab. Thanks to this experience my future career plans have completely changed. I am currently pursuing my project as a postgraduate associate and next fall I am starting my PhD in microbial science and engineering at MIT. This fellowship allowed me to live a dream and will surely help me to obtain future positions. My association with the well recognized WISH foundation is obviously an excellent element for my future applications.

Djenet Bousbaine [Yale], WISH recipient 2011
Anu Kodiyan [Harvard]

The WISH foundation was definitely a great support financially as well as a very encouraging award: it recognized my hard work at EPFL and encouraged me and motivated me to continue the hard work at Harvard. The WISH foundation supports ambitious women and it is a good reminder for women, that their hard work is recognized and that they should never give up their ambition and career because of social factors. This award definitely influences my future career: I will continue being ambitious and the fact that I am a woman will not hold me back. I also encourage girls and women to pursue their career dreams.

Anu Kodiyan [Harvard], WISH recipient 2010
Gabriela Pregernig [MIT]

Receiving a community career investment from the WISH Foundation gave me a feeling of responsibility, which specifically in the context of my Masters project gave me an additional reason to perform well and leave a good impression. The fact that it enabled me to go abroad made a great impact on my life and career in general, since my experience convinced me that I liked studying abroad and exploring new environments, and that I wanted to pursue research at least still for the duration of doctoral studies. It has also reinforced my desire to perform well in my scientific field, in order to represent the community of women in science, and hopefully become a leader in the field, to convince others that being a woman does not prevent you from achieving higher scientific career goals.

Gabriela Pregernig [MIT], WISH recipient 2010
Lada Goergovina [NUS]

I am very thankful to the WISH foundation for their financial help and to Melody Swartz for her support and guidance. I have noticed that although women and men are said to be provided with the same opportunities, in academia and in industry key positions are mainly occupied by men. I believe that the WISH foundation is essential in making people aware of this and in supporting career choices that promote work at prestigeous places and thus go against the educated-housewife model. I would like to achieve a balance between career and family, but that does not mean working part-time at assistant positions for my male ex-classmates.

Lada Goergovina [NUS], WISH recipient 2010
Antonina Lagovitina [Princeton]

I'm extremely grateful to the WISH foundation for the support during my Master Project. It gave me the confidence that I could succeed as a woman scientist and opened the doors to many opportunities. For the moment I cannot provide any financial help. However, the Life Science Faculty at EPFL and I hope the WISH foundation has my contact details and I'm dedicated to help, encourage and support other students. I am currently also a part of the women's group at Harvard Systems biology department where we discuss difficulties and challenges women meet in science and try to take steps that allow to improve the situation for the future students.

Antonina Lagovitina [Princeton], WISH recipient 2010