Meet Emma Leroy, EPITA winner of the 2017 Trophée Excellencia award!
The eight new award winners and partners schools
On Tuesday, November 21, 2017, the Trophée Excellencia awards ceremony was held at Day Click (see box) in the Centquatre cultural center (Paris 19th district), bringing together the eight new award winners. The contest is organized by Femmes du Numérique (Syntec Numérique commission) and the Pasc@line association to encourage young women to pursue a career in the IT sector. Thanks to this prize, award winner Emma Leroy received a full paid scholarship to EPITA for five years to study the world of tomorrow. Read the success story of this promising future engineer in her own words!
Joël Courtois, EPITA’s managing director and Emma Leroy
How did you hear about the Trophée Excellencia?Emma Leroy: I heard about it a year or two ago during an open doors event at EPITA. When I was still in high school, I discovered EPITA at a student fair and wanted to learn more about this school. One of the former Excellencia award winners was at the fair to present the contest to the girls. I then visited the EPITA and Excellencia websites, and decided to try my luck as an applicant.
How long have you wanted to study information technology?Since I started high school. Although I had been interested in computers for many years, it was during my first year of high school that I really discovered programming. This was when I knew that I wanted a career in the field of information technology. I was thus drawn to EPITA, a school that offers many interesting projects, such as designing a video game during the 1st year of studies. I have to say that EPITA is really the school I have always dreamed of! (Laughter)
Carine Braun, director of Syntec Numérique and manager of Red Hat company in France, Spain and Portugal
What was your reaction when you heard the good news?I was very happy and even surprised because I didn’t expect to win!
Can you tell us what is required of the candidates competing for the Trophée Excellencia?You have to speak a bit about yourself, your experience and more particularly, propose an invention that has revolutionary potential and was designed using digital technology. My idea focused on a small chip or card implanted in the optical nerve to record our memories on video so that we can watch them over and over again. Although it is an idea that I have had for a long time, with the goal of helping individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, I ended up choosing it on the spur of the moment. Of course, given today’s technology, it is still difficult to create, but I really believe that we will be able to manufacture this type of object in the future. We could even use modified contact lenses. It seems to me that a project like this is currently being developed.
Claudine Schmuck, founder and associate director of Global Contact, took advantage of this event to share the results of the Gender Scan survey that studies gender diversity and women working in science and technology.
In September, you officially started the preparatory cycle at EPITA Paris. How are you enjoying these first few months on the campus?I really like it here! The students are nice-the atmosphere is fabulous and I already know who my partner will be for the 1st year project – and the professors are great. My favorite classes so far are algorithmics and programming… The three hours of computer science are really interesting: I never see the time go by! I’m also starting to discover the student associations. A lot of them look quite interesting, such as Epitanime and the Bureau des Sports, but I’m still not sure which ones I want to join. I’m giving myself time to choose.
You spoke about the first year video game project. Do you already have an idea in mind?It’s still quite early and perhaps a bit too ambitious, but we would like to work on a horror game, similar to an escape game, from a first-person perspective and with a very elaborate story line. We have already started to think about the scenario and gameplay. I have even began to study 3D modeling.
Do you already have an idea of what you would like to do after you receive your engineering degree in 2022?Not at all! I just want to enjoy my years at EPITA and discover all of the possibilities that IT offers. For now, I’m learning about all of the different fields. I’ll decide on a major later on.
Ingrid Bianchi (right), president of Diversity Source Manager and Jenny Augias (left), manager of Prairial, gave the floor to three former award winners, including Julia Benais (EPITA class of 2019, thumbnail on the right) and Justine Zanna-Bellegarde (class of 2019, thumbnail on the left)
The ceremony ended with a speech by Marie-Pierre Rixain, Member of Parliament for the Essonne department, and president of the delegation for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality at the National Assembly.
Victoria Guehennec (EPITA class of 2020), the 2015 EPITA winner of the Trophée Excellencia, next to Julia and Justine.
Organized by Syntec Numérique, Day Click is an important event that brings together the major players in French Technology. It hosts the Excellencia awards ceremony as well as many workshops, contests and conferences with a focus on new technologies and innovation. This year, EPITA was particularly well represented, thanks to its Alumni who have become successful entrepreneurs (Idopic, ProcessOut, Ysance), a corner dedicated to VR animation run by the teams from the IT Innovation Institute of EPITA (3ie), a highly colorful and lively stand held by the school’s students, as well as high impact presentations given by numerous current or former EPITA students, such as Pierre Vallat (class of 2018), member of Cristal, a business association at EPITA and Cédric Eugeni (class of 2014) from the Sweebi start-up.
Pierre Vallat, giving a speech, with Mounir Mahjoubi, Secretary of State in charge of Digital Affairs under the French Prime Minister in attendance.