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Women at Oxford Centenary: Valentina Musat

To commemorate 100 years of women at Oxford University, we are asking ORI students past and present how they got into Robotics, and any advice they would have for those following in their footsteps.

What is your story, how did you get interested in robotics?

Hi, my name is Valentina Mușat and I am a 1st year DPhil student in Engineering Science.

Seven years ago, as a student in Economics, I was introduced to programming for statistics, and that was the time when I discovered the power of programming - if you can make an analysis so much simpler with a little programming, imagine what you could do if you learned programming for real. Motivated by this, after graduating, I decided to start a new undergraduate program in Computer Science, in order to learn more. During that time, I had the chance to work on various interesting and fun projects across areas such as Machine Learning, Robotics, Autonomous Driving and Formula Student. Being intrigued and motivated by the problems still unsolved in field robotics and the opportunities to do research and deepen my knowledge, I ultimately decided to further pursue a DPhil.

What advice do you have for aspiring women in Engineering and Robotics?

Although this isn't a women-specific advice, I find it valuable nonetheless:

  • be curious and learn - from books, people and their experiences, from your parents, your friends, your professors and supervisor and everyone around you; learn to take criticism and turn it into a learning and self-improving process.
  • get out of the comfort zone and push yourself to do more; take advantage of the opportunities given and discover the world around you.
  • when going gets tough, be true to yourself and persevere.


For more information on this historic event, see here.


Black and white image showing Degree Day 1920 Oxford.
Black and white image showing first Female Students in Oxford.
Old black and white image showing Degree Students 1920 Oxford.