From the Banking Sector to AI Research – Hear it from Dima

Women have made significant contributions to various fields, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no exception.
As we celebrate these women and try to #BreaktheBias against inequality and prejudice, we decided to show some inspiring stories from women working in AI.
We had the privilege of chatting with women working in the field of Artificial Intelligence, who shared their experiences with us.
Dima El Zein is a researcher and last-year Ph.D. candidate in computer science at the Côte d’Azur University, France.
Dima’s work involves adapting information retrieval systems, or search engines, to support user learning. This particular research domain is commonly known as “search as learning“.
In her day-to-day work, she relies on AI techniques like user modeling, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to provide personalized search results based on the user’s behavior and knowledge.
When asked why she decided to join the field of AI, Dima said that she enjoys fast-paced and forward-thinking environments and has always been intrigued by how machines operate.
Dima adds “My passion for coding and problem-solving, combined with my studies in computer science, have given me the necessary knowledge and skills to delve into the world of AI. After spending five years in project management and quality assurance testing in the banking sector, I decided to embark on a new adventure abroad and work in AI research. AI poses several unresolved problems and research challenges, and I believed that contributing to the advancement of the state of the art would be both demanding and fulfilling. Despite the vast and complex nature of AI, I have carefully selected a research topic that aligns with my interests and skillset”.
When talking about Women’s International Day Dima says that “while there are certainly talented and successful women in AI research, women remain underrepresented in leadership positions in the field. For me, this day serves as an opportunity to recognize their contributions and highlight the need for greater representation, diversity, and inclusion in the AI community”.
Dima is inspired by the quote “Careers have no gender” since “as a researcher, I do not identify as a female researcher, but simply as a researcher”.
She adds that in the past, a search for images of CEOs, engineers, nurses, or teachers on commercial search engines would have returned biased results.
Dima thinks that the AI industry needs to work towards equality not only in terms of gender, but also with regard to ethnicity, age, sexuality, and other factors. “The issue of bias is not just related to the search algorithm, but also to the training samples used, and it is the responsibility of humans behind the machines to eliminate bias. Fortunately, both the industrial and research communities are making efforts to avoid biased searches”.
Just like Dima, many women around us are making a difference step by step in their fields to reach an equal and unbiased society.
Watch other women’s inspiring stories below.

Amanda - AI Instructor at Zaka

Nataly Dalal - Data Engineer at Catawiki