WASHINGTON, JANUARY 7 – “Work hard, commitment. You have to find the right time, and be the right person in the right place. Be quiet and wait for the right moment. No need to rush, but in the meanwhile you have to keep learning and, last but not least, you have to keep your passion alive”. Interviewed by Gwen K. Young of the Wilson Center for the series “Women on The Move”, Italian astrophysicist Simonetta Di Pippo gave this advice to young women entering the professional world.
“This is what I was looking for – learn every day something new, and keep my passion alive – and this is exactly what I have found”, said Ms. Di Pippo, the Director of UNOOSA, the UN agency for outer space affairs. Revealing that being a kid when man landed on the Moon for the first time was in the back on her mind in her first professional choices, Ms. Di Pippo remarked that “innovation is important – not only for yourself, but also for the society in which you live.”
Ms. Di Pippo has a large experience experience as a woman in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), as well as international (and interstellar) public service with more than 30 years in aerospace affairs. “Diversity is an asset, not a problem”, she says.
After having graduated with a Master’s degree in Astrophysics and Space Physics from the University La Sapienza in Rome in 1984, she joined the Italian Space Agency (ASI), then moved to ESA, its European partner, as Director of Human Spaceflight. In March 2013 she was appointed at UNOOSA and has since working to enhance international cooperation to promote the benefits of outer space for humanity. In December she was featured in HERStory, an exhibition at in New York featuring the contribution of women to the United Nations.