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Ljupka Vrteva Wins Slovenia’s 2023 Woman Engineer of the Year Award

Macedonian-born Ljupka Vrteva, a trailblazer in solar energy development at Petrol, has been named Slovenia's 2023 Woman Engineer of the Year. 

This prestigious award, aimed at encouraging young women in STEM fields, highlights Vrteva’s exemplary career in mechanical engineering, focusing on building heating, ventilation, and cooling systems. Growing up in a family rooted in the arts and economics, she chose to forge her own path, translating her childhood creativity into the tangible world of engineering.

Vrteva’s academic journey led her from North Macedonia to Slovenia, where she completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering at Ljubljana’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Further enhancing her expertise, she graduated from the EUREM Energy Manager program at the Jožef Stefan Institute in 2019. Her professional accomplishments include the creation of a computer program for building ventilation and leading Petrol’s innovative solar power plant project.

Overcoming numerous challenges, including a language barrier, Vrteva’s steadfast commitment to engineering has been a beacon of inspiration. Her passion for encouraging young women to pursue engineering careers was a key factor in her recognition. “Each young girl is capable of pursuing their desires in engineering,” Vrteva expressed, underscoring the importance of perseverance in the face of obstacles.

The award ceremony, held at Ljubljana’s Cankarjev Dom on January 16, saw Vrteva accept the honor from the previous winner, Rosana Kolar, an aircraft engineer at Adria Tehnika. Kolar emphasized the unique perspectives women bring to engineering, enriching the field with diverse problem-solving approaches.

The Woman Engineer of the Year award, now in its sixth year, is an initiative of IRT3000 magazine and Mediade, with their partners. A 92-member jury, including past nominees, media, educators, and students from the “We’ll Be Women and Men Engineers” project, selected Vrteva from ten nominees, underscoring her significant contribution to engineering and her role as a role model for aspiring female engineers.

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