Katherine Asfaw (Ireland) is a Standards Specialist in the Safety and Security Coordination Section in the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security.
“I always liked the idea that you could grow up to do something that you love!”As a young woman who excelled in maths, Katherine chose to combine her love of maths with physics. At the time, she was inspired by reading ‘popular science’ and felt optimistic that she could turn something she was passionate about into a career
After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Physics, a Master of Science in Mathematics and a PhD in Physics, Katherine decided to volunteer in rural Ethiopia as a teacher-trainer at a new university to train high school physics teachers. She also started a Saturday maths class to provide extra tutoring, particularly to young female students
Nearly two years later, Katherine applied to the IAEA. Always with the desire to work in an international organization, Katherine thought that the IAEA would be an interesting and rewarding place to work. She is now responsible for the technical editing of safety standards and manages and reviews safety standards for Member State approval.
Katherine appreciates that Vienna is a family friendly city. She enjoys outdoor activities during the summer and taking family holidays. Policies such as maternity leave have provided Katherine with the flexibility to be a working mother. Although the daily functions of Katherine’s job may not always affect all of humanity, “it contributes to the sum of knowledge and it’s good to make words mean something important.”
She appreciates the space and peace that she has to focus on her work and believes that safety standards hold an important place in the role of the IAEA.