Community News

#GEANTwomeninSTEM: Barbara Monticini



In honour of Women & Girls in Science Day and International Women’s Day, we are celebrating the women in our community. As our wonder women are involved in many fields, we decided to focus on specific fields and this year we are highlighting the women in Trust & Identity! Like everything in the world of GÉANT, our trust and identity team is a strong collaboration between women (and men!) all over the globe.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to our colleagues working for T&I, which shows perfectly in this series.

Let us introduce you to Barbara Monticini, senior T&I expert at the Italian NREN, GARR.


Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Barbara Monticini, I work as senior expert for IDEM, GARR AAI service.

What is your study and professional background?

I hold a Masters’ degree in Computer Science at the University of Florence and worked as IT specialist fist for the INFN, Italian Nuclear Physics Institute and the for GARR.

What made you pursue a career in STEM?

As a child my favourite subject was math. Later on, I found that everything related to technology and computers was appealing to me and I grew up playing video games with my Game Boy. I still remember the enthusiasm for the first videogame my father gave me: Pong!

When I enrolled to the university, security was my favourite subject and so I decided to focus my career on this particular aspect.

So, somehow, I can say that information technology has always been part of who I am.

Are there any challenge(s) you face as a woman in STEM (personal, in the sector, in T&I)?

In my professional and personal life, I have not experienced specific challenges for being a woman. Also, I entered university when the new faculty in Computer Science was just launched and I was among the first graduates in this faculty of my city, Florence, therefore I have not really felt a lack of female role models for the simple fact that everything around me was changing, and what I was experiencing for the first time, was actually the first time for everybody else too.

Generally, in my life, I think that what really helped me was a collaborative approach with my colleagues and peers which has always helped in creating a productive and peaceful work environment.

What is it you do in the field of T&I?

I’ve been working on security since my first day in GARR in 2005, where I am part of the Certification Authority, and from 2010 I’m operating the AA Infrastructure (IDEM) for the Italian Research and Education Network. Besides security, my activity is focused on metadata and support to system administrators, in a way that ensures that the different institutions connected to GARR can access the IDEM federation.

Thanks to this enthusiasm I enjoy working on T&I challenges today and want to keep continuing for the future.

Name your greatest experience or achievement in T&I work

I am proud to be part of the creation of our AAI federation (IDEM) from the very beginning. Editing the first metadata stream (which I personally created on my PC), setting up the first website for GARR user community and seeing how today these efforts have led to a shared solution that is used by millions of users in Italy is definitely one of my best experiences in T&I so far.

Any inspiring words for our readers?

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, walk through all the paths and always aim for the best.


From all the men and women at GÉANT, we would like to show our gratitude to the female career tigers, young professionals, researchers, students, mothers, experts, in short all the hard working women contributing to not only trust and identity, but all the work we are doing in R&E networking.

Make sure to keep an eye on the GÉANT blog and social media channels and follow the campaign under #GEANTwomeninSTEM.

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