Prof. Dr. Nertila Gjini is a professor in the Faculty of Informatics, as well as the Deputy Rector of the University of New York Tirana. She has completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics (Honors program), PhD in Mathematics and her post-doctoral studies all at Osaka City University (Japan). She is the Author, co-author, and editor of: 1 Monograph, 14 peer-reviewed international scientific journal articles mostly with impact factor, 10 publications as proceedings of the international congresses and conferences and 3 scientific book editing.
1. When did your interest in science begin?
It is in elementary school that I first realized which subjects I like the most. With time, I was even more certain that mathematics, physics and chemistry were my favorite subjects. It has always been a pleasure to me to read books explaining phenomena I experience in daily life. During High school I participated in national mathematics competitions and won prizes. These competitions gave me the confidence to believe that I could realize my dream of having a future career related to mathematics or engineering. If you realize, early on in life, what your interests are and what you want to become, then it becomes natural to work towards realizing your dream of having a successful career. However, I also want to emphasize that the road is challenging, it requires sacrifices and dedication.
2. How did you get to the position you are in today? Was it a straight forward career trajectory?
As I said previously, it has been difficult and full of challenges. I started working at the University when I was 23 years old. Being among my professors gave me the chance to progress academically and scientifically. Working with students has always been a great pleasure of mine. Their energy and talent has always inspired me. The most challenging fact has been the balance between being a wife and a mother all while continuing my academic career. When I went to Japan for my doctoral studies, I left my family here in Tirana, my son was only a 1-year-old. Without the support of my family, nothing I have achieved would have been possible. It has been 16 years since I started working at UNYT. I am thankful to all my students and colleagues for their support and the confidence they have given me. Working with a group of wonderful professionals has been the greatest inspiration to me.
My career path has not been an easy one and keeping the work-life balance has been one of the most difficult challenges I have faced. But at the same time it’s been rewarding. The worldwide network, the communication among peers, the exchange of ideas and results give me great satisfaction and the necessary force to continue this difficult path.
The changing society, shows that the number of women majoring in science, technology and engineering has increased. However, a career in the academic and research field is still not very welcoming to women worldwide. I can mention the fact that there are only three female Mathematics Professors in Albania.
3. What advice would you give to students and young females interested in science?
It is my great pleasure to be surrounded by students and young colleagues interested in science. My advice would be to take initiative, accept responsibilities, look for chances and opportunities and do not be afraid of failure, instead learn from your mistakes. The road to success in science is difficult and challenging but also rewarding. Ask for help and advice, but don’t stop trying, try hard. The contribution of dedicated, talented and hardworking people is crucial in building a better world.