In honour of Women & Girls in Science Day and International Women’s Day, two important days marked by the United Nations and celebrated across the globe, 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 Nicole Harris, virtual learning enthusiast.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Nicole Harris and I work as the Head of Trust and Identity Operations at GÉANT.
What is your study and professional background?
I’m an English graduate with a BA and MA in English Literature – I specialised in Children’s Literature. This is surprisingly useful in my current role. I also study Anthropology in my spare time. I worked at Jisc and on Jisc projects for 13 years before moving to GÉANT (then TERENA) in 2013.
How did you end up in STEM?
Unintentionally. I was working as a TA in a cocktail bar at university and became interested in the new virtual learning environment ideas. After finishing my MA I went to work on a Jisc project exploring VLEs and their application in education and someone asked me to look for “some sort of easy way to login”. I quickly became the bridge between the technical developers and other project and organisational people and have continued in that hybrid role ever since. Along the way my interest has diversified from identity to focus even more on the “trust” side of my work – including working with incident response teams and the new GÉANT Security work package.
Are there any challenge(s) you face as a woman in STEM (personal, in the sector, in T&I)?
I think the “Ban Bossy” campaign sums it up (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dynbzMlCcw). A woman that speaks out is quickly labelled aggressive or bossy whereas men are seen as taking initiative or leadership.
What is it you do in the field of T&I?
You may remember me from such community endeavours as REFEDS, TF-CSIRT, Trusted Introducer, TCS, and TNC programming. I’m still involved in all of those things, but my formal role now is to lead the GÉANT T&I Operations team to ensure we have a robust operational framework in place for the many GÉANT T&I services.
Name your greatest experience or achievement in T&I work
Looking back, setting up the UK Access Management Federation was a bigger thing than I realised at the time given the scale of organisations involved and how early on we were in thinking about open standards for identity. 25 year old me was incredibly tenacious.
Any inspiring words for our readers?
Inspirobot (https://inspirobot.me/) tells me “seek success but prepare for vegetables”. I think these are words we can all live by.
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.