Go to news


“The greatest satisfaction is to see how people in my teams have evolved”

STEAM Day 2024

In the world of innovation and technological progress, women have been making their mark in a remarkable way. From science and technology to art and mathematics, women are leading and transforming diverse disciplines in what is known as STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.

The letter ‘A’ in STEAM has been added to the term to reflect the inclusion of the arts in education and research. This modification has been made in recent years to recognise the importance of the arts and creativity in the development of holistic problem solving skills and approaches. The arts include imagination and critical thinking, which are seen as key to innovation and advancement in all areas of knowledge.

This acronym represents not only fields of study, but a movement that celebrates diversity, creativity and female ingenuity in traditionally male-dominated sectors. In this space, we want to highlight the journey, achievements and vision of an outstanding STEAM woman, whose story can light the way for future generations. Our protagonist is Blanca Rodríguez, leader of one of the expert teams in European Programmes at Zabala Innovation.

Blanca Rodríguez, our STEAM protagonista

Blanca Rodriguez embodies the spirit of STEAM women with a track record that not only reflects dedication and professional excellence, but also a passion for driving innovation and progress in the field of telecommunications and technology. Her commitment, with 24 years of experience within Zabala Innovation, has been a beacon of leadership and vision.

His ability to participate in and lead R&D projects at European level, generating innovative proposals and coordinating multidisciplinary teams, demonstrates his exceptional ability to excel in a field where creativity and technical rigour are essential.

Some members of his team highlight that he has “a lot of patience to train and explain, something he does with great peace of mind”. And this is not only linked to her background in telecommunications engineering as a leader of European projects. In addition, Blanca Rodríguez has not always been one hundred percent dedicated to her scientific career, but has also devoted much of her time to classical dance, in which she reached professional level, and has continued to train young dancers throughout her life, which reinforces her ability to train and inspire.

This singularity, the division between the scientific and artistic worlds, makes Blanca one of the STEAM women, but she also has that artistic ‘A’ of the term STEAM that is increasingly used to determine this current of feminine impulse in the world of innovation and research.

Another of the qualities highlighted by those closest to her in the office is that “she has a very good critical eye for knowing when an idea or a project is good”, which she demonstrates not only by leading hundreds of initiatives in which she participates to success, but also by being a project evaluator at the European Commission.

Of her arrival at the organisation, the team recalls how important it was to have someone as involved in innovation and contemporary issues as Blanca, who was working to prevent the “dreaded Y2K bug”, which was a software error that was supposed to affect computerised database systems and other electronic equipment, caused by the custom of programming the date omitting the century on the assumption that the software would only be operational between 1900 and 1999.

When asked about areas in which she is an expert, her team replies that she is an expert in everything. Health, energy, tics, research, etc. But what stands out most among the many comments that attempt to describe her is that they consider her to be “a smile in the face of adversity, an inseparable companion in fatigues and a bulwark of Zabala Innovation as we know it today. Because over and above the excellent professional she is, she is a very good person”.

Blanca Rodríguez in first person

At school I always liked the subjects related to science and technology the most. Whether it was mathematics, physics, chemistry or biology. For me they were subjects that explained why things happen. With them I could find out why physical phenomena occur. For example, knowing how a device works has always been something that attracted my attention.

It was more attractive for me to study one of these subjects than something more related to history, for example. However, my true vocation as a child, like many other girls I suppose, was to be a dancer and I tried it for a while.

But the high sacrifice it requires and how difficult it is to become a high-level professional and be able to make a living from it, led me to follow the world of engineering.

I think I was a disciplined student, a bit stubborn, one of those who, if I didn’t understand a problem or didn’t understand it, I didn’t try to give it up and forget about it, but worked on it and asked questions until I understood it. I would say that I was a hard-working student and that drove me.

My parents influenced me. My father is an industrial engineer and I always liked the way he explained things and the reasons he gave for why they were the way they were. He had an incredible logic that left no room for doubt. I was impressed by the fact that whatever mathematics, physics or chemistry problem I asked him about, he knew how to solve it and explain it with great ease. On the other hand, my mother is an example of planning and foresight, very important aspects in STEAM careers.

I liked science in general, and it was clear to me that the subject related to economics did not appeal to me as much, I liked chemistry and biology, but I think that at that moment I thought that engineering could give me a broader vision and yes, offer me a greater number of career opportunities.

In my class the number of women was quite high compared to industrial engineering. I think there were 30 women out of 80 students in the first year, whereas in industrial engineering there were about 5 women and most of the teaching staff were men. But the truth is that the relationship between all the classmates was always great and I don’t remember any kind of difference in treatment by gender on the part of the teaching staff.

I think the trend has changed, and nowadays there is even less of a gap. Education in equality from childhood, the incorporation of women into the world of work, social and political support, I think that this is leading to the fact that the differences are becoming smaller and smaller.

I think it is something that will change and become more equal as the role of women in society becomes more equal to that of men. We each have our preferences and tastes regardless of gender and the big step that society is taking is that this is what is important and what will make you choose and not other types of conditioning factors. Personally, in my student and working life, I have not had any limitations because I am a woman.

I would tell them to go for it. If you like to know why and how physical, biological or chemical phenomena occur, how different equipment works in our society, etc. A career in STEAM could be the right one for you. Moreover, these careers open up many different fields in the world of work.

I think it is a future and already a very promising reality because, as I said before, what is important is the value of the person regardless of gender, and there are women with value as well as men with value, and we are moving towards a society where the important thing is the person and not the gender of the person.

In my experience, I think diversity is very enriching. It’s great to have colleagues, regardless of gender, who think differently from you. It always helps to approach problems better, not only from the same perspective, but also considering other aspects that you might never have thought of. Diversity also makes it much easier to generate new ideas, services, products…

For me, the greatest satisfaction is seeing how people I have worked with and currently work with in my teams have grown and become great professionals. I like to think that I have contributed a little grain of sand to that.