3 min

Gender & Diversity Awards for the First Time

St. Pölten UAS Gives away First Gender & Diversity Awards for Students’ Final Theses

Award Ceremony
Copyright: Peter Rauchecker

Within the framework of the European Researchers‘ Night on 30 September 2022, the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences gave away its Gender & Diversity Awards for the first time.

Pitches Marked by Inclusion and Diversity

Six individuals and groups prepared to present their pitches.

The topics are very diverse but all of them address aspects of Gender & Diversity. The participants had a maximum of three minutes to present the most important points of their work.

The fact that an interpreter was present to simultaneously interpret the event into Austrian Sign Language (ÖGS) made it clear from the beginning that the spotlight was on inclusion and diversity.

Outstanding Works on Gender & Diversity

The Gender & Diversity Awards are used by the St. Pölten UAS to honour outstanding final theses of its students and graduates that are relevant in terms of these topics.

Endowed with EUR 500 each, the awards are given away by the Executive Board’s Gender & Diversity unit to one bachelor thesis and one master thesis.

The purpose of the distinction is to honour outstanding achievements of students and show their commitment to gender and diversity topics. It draws attention to how much these issues and perspectives enrich our research.

Very Good Response and Diverse Pitches

The response to the first call for the award was very good and resulted in a total of 18 submissions from five out of the St. Pölten UAS’ six departments.

An expert jury chose the best submissions from the wealth of available material.

Our Jury

  • Michaela Moser, lecturer at the Department of Social Sciences
  • Irmgard Wetzstein, Academic Director in the Department of Business & Innovation
  • Daniela Kaser, head of the UAS service unit Marketing and Communications
  • Aurelia Mohl, Diversity Officer of the Austrian Students’ Union (ÖH)
  • Sabrina Burtscher, master’s programme graduate of TU Wien with a research focus on discrimination in technology

Bachelor Theses

  • In the “Bachelor Theses” category, Sophie Maresch pitched her work on “Gender (In)Equality” and drew attention to the still precarious position of women in the Austrian film industry.
  • Eveline Pichler, Anica Popovic, Franziska Traxler, and Sophie Walter used the real and metaphorical “hamster wheel” (or “treadmill”) to illustrate the challenges of being a single parent.
  • Viktoria Wiser explained the relevance of queer safe spaces for adolescents in Lower Austria.

Master Theses

  • In this category, Nicole Gebhardt, Paul Haller, Sonja Huber, and Julia Steiner pitched the results of their participatory research on the understanding of peer counselling of the “Beratungsstelle für Variationen der Geschlechtsmerkmale” (VAR.GES).
  • Viktoria Kasser addressed the audience in Sign Language, thereby illustrating the situation faced by people with hearing impairments when studying – the topic of her work titled “Deafhood und Deaf Gain - zum ersten mal geHÖRT?”.
  • And Janine Klammer gave an insight into the diversity management of Austrian banks’ internal and external PR.

Keynote „Was zählt?“ (What Counts?)

This stimulating round of pitches was concluded by a keynote held by Katta Spiel (TU Wien) titled “Was zählt? Minderheitenschutz in der Datenverarbeitung“ (on the protection of minorities in data processing).

Katta Spiel provided clear examples of what happens when technology is inflexible and fails to structurally portray the reality of minorities’ lives – e.g., non-binary persons – for example through missing information in terms of gender or addressing persons wrongly. This type of discrimination can be avoided through data economy, data protection, and data refactoring.

Honouring the Winners

After a short break, the jury announced Viktoria Wiser (BA) and Viktoria Kasser (MA) the winners of the award.

Gewinnerin Viktoria Wiser mit ihrem Scheck über 500 Euro

“Both award winners’ captivating pitches presented a highly relevant topic with strong practical relevance and good applicability”, said Aurelia Mohl, thereby explaining the jury’s choice.

Gewinnerin Viktoria Kasser mit ihrem Scheck über 500 Euro

Hannes Raffaseder, member of the St. Pölten UAS’ Executive Board, congratulated the winners and thanked all finalists: “They all made valuable contributions to the enrichment of our research through gender and diversity topics. The St. Pölten UAS itself has already implemented several measures on behalf of diversity in research and teaching and will continue to do so.”

An interview with the two winners of the Gender & Diversity Awards 2022 will soon be aired on the Campus & City Radio.

You want to know more? Feel free to ask!
Steinberger Anna, BSc, BSc, MA

Anna Steinberger, BSc, BSc, MA

Section Head Gender and Diversity Service and Competence Centre for Higher Education Development and Quality Management