Paola Elefante

My addiction to math started when I was 16 years old and my soon-to-be mentor Prof. Giorgio Guerrini walked into the classroom and spent one hour explaining the subject in a passionate and charismatic way. From then on, everything was clear to me: I wanted to be a mathematician.

I took my diploma in theĀ local scientific high school, where I found stimulating teachers and challenging courses. After that, I applied to the mathematics degree course in University of Bologna, Italy. In 2008 I took my Bachelor degree, under supervision of Prof. Ermanno Lanconelli, writing a thesis on symmetry problems of harmonic maps. In 2010, under suggestion of Prof. Lanconelli, I left to Finland to specialise in mathematical analysis. During my Erasmus year I fell in love with Finland and decided to stay. I completed my master studies in 2011 with a thesis on Wiener's criterion and I left with my family to Finland, to start my PhD studies in inverse problems at University of Helsinki.

In 2013, I was so lucky to become a mother to a beautiful girl. After my 10 month maternity leave, I came back to submit my licentiate thesis on inverse acoustic scattering and I started working in a challenging problem in X-ray tomography. At the end of 2014, I won a scholarship of the Doctoral School of Mathematics and Statistics at University of Helsinki. In October 2016, I graduated and was awarded a Licentiate Degree in Applied Mathematics. In 2016 I started working in the role of Technical Project Manager at Relex Solutions Oy, a software company which implements solutions to improve Supply Chain Management. In 2017 my son joined our family through international adoption.

His adoption made me question my whole vision of life and the world. I was forced to witness first-hand the terrible inequalities that plague us globally. In 2019, in a surprising alignment of events and circumstances, I was hired by the no-profit Plan International as Digital Scaling Project Manager.