About the Fun of Solving Problems
Andrea Gorsche (VIRTUAL VEHICLE) & Almasa Alomerovic (VIRTUAL VEHICLE)
Almasa Alomerovic followed her passion for mathematics and is now a battery safety scientist at VIRTUAL VEHICLE. Originally from the Serbian town of Prijepolje, Almasa was drawn to study and live in Graz, Austria. Along the way, she has been accompanied by a constant curiosity and the joy of solving problems.
What was your dream job as a child? Did you, always want to be a scientist?
“I didn’t have a dream job, but my interest in Mathematics was always very strong. My math teacher always supported me. I dreamed of studying Math like her. At one point, I even wondered if I should become a teacher myself. But Math offers so many opportunities. It’s not an easy degree, but if you can do it, you can work in many industries.”
What was your background like? What school did you go to? What apprenticeships did you do? Have you ever been abroad?
“I went to school in my home country Serbia and did go to high school there. I chose the science path. After one month of university studies in Belgrade, I moved to Graz to study mathematics. I’ve been here for 10 years.”
What exactly do you do at Virtual Vehicle?
“I am part of the Vehicle and Road Safety group and use artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop mathematical methods. These methods are used to determine the probabilities of a short circuit when the battery is mechanically damaged.”
What do you enjoy most about your work as a scientist?
“I enjoy solving problems. The feeling of accomplishment is unique. Knowing that I’ve accomplished something useful. It’s a lot about trying things out. Often, you don’t have a concrete idea how to solve a problem at first. But that’s exactly what makes it fun – not knowing the solution. The same ideas don’t always work, which is why you learn so much when solving problems. At the same time, you may create reusable knowledge for similar problems. It’s just never boring as a scientist, sometimes exhausting, but never boring.”
Did you always want to be work in the area of car safety?
“No, I didn’t think I would be involved in vehicle safety or the automotive industry. Mathematics is the basis of everything in life and you can do so many things with it. I’ve always been curious by nature. I wanted to understand how things work, how they are connected. As a scientist, I know why certain things work. My background knowledge helps me understand things that others may not even think about. Through my research, I feel like I’m creating the future in a way. I’m working on something today that may not come into use for another 5-10 years.”
In technical professions and science, many colleagues are still men. And boys also predominate in the HTL. How did you feel as a “girl in science”?
“I studied mathematics, where there were only four of us in the master’s degree anyway. Nevertheless, I had mostly men as fellow students. There were also a few women in the teaching specialization of the bachelor’s program, but on my path I was the only woman. That was always completely okay. I’m still good friends with my fellow students today.”
Around the age of 10, children and their parents in Austria have to make decisions on their schooling. Hauptschule or AHS. Maybe BHS later on? Matura with or without apprenticeship? What advice would you give to girls at this age who are interested in science but might be afraid of taking that step?
“It is important to listen to yourself. You should also keep in mind that interests can change over time. Decisions should therefore always allow other options. But if you want to, you can do it. I, for example, came to Austria without knowing German and studied mathematics at university in German.”
And with everything you know now about your career, what advice would you give yourself? What would you tell your 10-year-old self if you could go back in time?
“Well, my main takeaway was that no one will bite you if you ask something. Just put down your shyness and approach people. That’s how you can learn the most and gain experience.”