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News 2 > Global Student Prize - Finalists > 2023 Finalists Global Student Prize > Elisa Torres Durney

Elisa Torres Durney

Elisa’s journey towards being an educator in quantum computing has been in progress since she was very young. Her curiosity as a child led to various artistic and scientific interests, including ballet, painting, DIY and theater clubs. Later, she learned how to code, opening up a new world. When the COVID-19 pandemic began and the world went into lockdown, Elisa wanted to make use of the free time at her disposal – so she started looking for learning opportunities. When she found an introductory quantum computing course, it marked the beginning of a new chapter for her.  

Elisa founded Girls in Quantum to get more girls interested in technology and show how fun and interesting the subject could be. She began to film videos and write blogs to explain what this field consisted of – from Qubits, bits, and quantum cryptography to quantum computing in pharmaceutics. After telling others about her videos, Elisa received three messages of interest from girls in Africa, Spain and the USA. They were the first to become ambassadors of Girls in Quantum. Through a great deal of effort and collaboration, Girls in Quantum now has students from 11 countries on the team: together, they have turned it into an international organization that has impacted students from 21 countries with free educational resources in English, Spanish and Tamil.  

To share all this information, Elisa developed a website ( that highlights the activities Girls in Quantum have been involved in. The group’s mission is to democratize education and help close the gender gap in STEM, and to do so it collaborates with companies and organizations such as IBM, Perimeter Institute, Le Wagon and Inspiring Girls to provide educational content and organize international events. Elisa is not only an educator in Quantum computing, but she is also committed to promoting the growth and involvement of students, particularly young women. She encourages students to embrace educational, socioeconomic, and gender disparities in Quantum computing.  Elisa has also had the opportunity to present at events organized by the Women Economic Forum, IBM, Google, The Economist, The International Festival for Social Innovation in Chile, and Qureca. An invitation from the University of Illinois led Elisa to participate in a video for World Quantum Day with IBM quantum leader Olivia Lanes, Star Trek actor LeVar Burton, and NASA astronaut Josh Cassada. 

With the Global Student Prize funds, Elisa would expand the activity of Girls in Quantum with the aim of eventually reaching around 10,000 students in 50 countries to access STEM education and close existing gaps. Up to now, the group has functioned purely with support from volunteers and in-kind help from a few companies, but this is not sustainable in the long term. Elisa wants to provide scholarships for in-person and online quantum computing courses, create expert-led events for the organization (courses, seminars or hackathons), translate the group’s educational materials into different languages and pay for the legal processes and administrative management that the organization needs. Long-term, Elisa wants to develop a mobile application that collects all Girls in Quantum educational resources together for easy access. 

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