The Slovenia Times

Ljupka Vrteva 2023 Woman Engineer of the Year

Science & Technology
Ljupka Vrteva (right) receives the 2023 Woman Engineer of the Year award from the 2022 winner Rosana Kolar. Photo: Andrej Križ

Ljupka Vrteva, a Macedonian-born engineer who heads a solar power plant development project at the energy company Petrol, has won the 2023 Woman Engineer of the Year, a title aimed at inspiring young women to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Vrteva holds a master's degree in mechanical engineering and is a development engineer in heating, ventilation and cooling of buildings.

Growing up in a family of musicians and economists, she wanted to be different - she was very creative as a child, but she wanted to turn her imagination into something visible and tangible.

Vrteva says it was this imagination that guided her, and after finishing high school in North Macedonia and moving to Slovenia, her only wish was to become an engineer.

She finished her undergraduate and master's studies at the Ljubljana Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, and in 2019 she completed the EUREM Energy Manager international educational programme at the Jožef Stefan Institute.

Vrteva first developed a computer programme for mechanical ventilation of buildings, and is now designing new efficient energy systems. She currently heads Petrol's solar power plant project.

Despite many obstacles, including the initial language barrier, her decision to become an engineer was the right one, and she has the energy and desire to encourage young women when making decisions on their career path, the award jury said.

"I have the opportunity to tell young girls that each of them is capable of pursuing their desires and that there will come a time in their lives when they will be grateful and proud of themselves for choosing the engineering profession," said Vrteva.

She accepted the award at a ceremony in Ljubljana's Cankarjev Dom on 16 January from last year's winner Rosana Kolar, an aircraft engineer at Adria Tehnika. Kolar said that women engineers played an important role because their different way of thinking contributed to solving various problems.

The title was awarded for the sixth consecutive year by the IRT3000 magazine and the marketing company Mediade and their partners.

The winner was picked from ten nominees by a 92-strong jury, comprised of past nominees, media representatives, teachers and students enrolled in the project We'll Be Women and Men Engineers, and the organisers.

Last year, Croatia and Serbia followed suit and started to award the same honour to women engineers.


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