A Researcher Profile on Silvia Barbareschi

By Emma Garcia

Silvia Barbareschi is a current PhD candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. In November of 2023, Silvia began a research project titled “Call Me When You Get Home”: New Technologies, and the Safety Gender Gap. The research Silvia is conducting studies how the perception of low public safety leads to gender gaps throughout a wide set of dimensions, ranging from educational outcomes to how individuals spend their free time. Additionally, Silvia’s project investigates how a mobile safety app can be used to reduce the gender gap, exploring the capabilities of new technology. The app allows users to make calls while in public and the research will be conducted through a random assignment of either the mobile safety app or a placebo app to a group of students at the London School of Economics. Silvia added that she expects the mobile safety app will “expand women’s choices and decrease the gender gap in time spent at the library, gym, and social work events.”

As to what inspired her research in the field of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Silvia credits the nonprofit organization called DonneXStrada that she collaborated with ten other women to create during her first year at Berkeley. The goal of DonneXStrada is to create a cost-effective solution to combat street harassment, an effort initiated by Silvia’s personal desire to address a common fear of going out alone. Silvia added that while harassment is a global issue, it has received incredibly minimal attention from researchers and policymakers, further inspiring her to conduct her own research through DonneXStrada.

Before this project, Silvia worked for Professor Carlana and her research evaluated the “impact of courses stimulating girls’ STEM interests on high-school track choice.” Silvia was led to this work after discovering that financial aid “does not significantly affect women’s major choices” during her master’s thesis development. In addition to this key finding, her interest in the “influence of gender norms and stereotypes on education and career choices” is what convinced Silvia to apply to PhD programs and eventually led to the creation of DonneXStrada.

Silvia mentions Professor Matilde Bombardini as an Equity Fluent Leader that inspires her, emphasizing Matilde’s ability to empower others and her belief that no one should be left behind. Silvia also praises Matilde for always pushing her students further while still being understanding of their lives outside of academia. Additionally, Silvia renames Professor Michela Carlana as another leader who exemplifies the definition of being Equity Fluent. Professor Carlana recognizes the importance of diversity among team members and she values each person’s unique potential. Silvia praises Michela for always reminding people that their contributions are worthy, a trait that she carries on in her own leadership approach.



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