Leonardo rewards Nancy De Nunzio, a graduate in Aerospace Engineering

19 July 2021

Leonardo graduate Nancy De Nunzio has won the Bellisario Award, in the ‘New Graduates in Aerospace Engineering’ category, with her dissertation on ‘the application of artificial intelligence to the problems of anomaly detection in the field of space missions’. Simonetta Iarlori, Leonardo's Chief People, Organization and Transformation Officer, awarded Nancy with the “Mela d’Oro” (Golden Apple), the female symbol par excellence.

Italy’s Fondazione Marisa Bellisario has been granting the Bellisario Award annually since 1989 to women who stand out in business, management, science, economics, social issues, culture, information, entertainment and sport, at national and international level.

Once again, in addition to being on the Honorary Committee, Leonardo has been on the foundation’s Examination Board in the selection of new Aerospace Engineering graduates. Simonetta Iarlori announced the Board’s choice, stating: “In choosing Nancy, we wish to reward excellence in innovation-centric learning, which is reflected in her dissertation on the application of artificial intelligence to the problems of anomaly detection in the field of space missions, where she identifies the elements or rare events that differ significantly from most data. Nancy has demonstrated a forward-looking approach to learning, reflecting Leonardo’s vision for the future in which we invest in our people, placing particular focus on how to progressively increase the number of female STEM profiles within our company.”

Leonardo is strongly committed to closing the gender gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), a field which in Italy has always seen a significantly lower percentage of women than men. Indeed, technical-scientific (STEM) disciplines are still assumed to be the prerogative of men but many players - Institutions, Companies, the School System - are committed to trying to close this gap. To this end, Leonardo, which operates in the Aerospace, Defence and Security sectors, has implemented policies and measures to increase the representation of women in STEM disciplines, introducing inclusive training programmes aimed at eliminating all forms of diversity.

Our results confirm the effectiveness of our commitment: the company’s female workforce has grown significantly in the last five years, with more than 3,400 women having been recruited and the percentage of women managers having risen from 15.1% to 17.3%.

Furthermore, 23% of the 3,200 people who joined Leonardo during 2020 are women, a high proportion of whom have a sound scientific background. The aim is for 32% of all new recruits to be female by 2022, and for the proportion of women employed in the STEM area to increase to at least 30% by 2025.


Photo credit: Fondazione Marisa Bellisario