International Women's Day 2020 SFI President of Ireland Future Research Leaders

To celebrate International Women's Day 2020 we asked some of the recent SFI President of Ireland Future Research Leaders to tell us about their experiences as women working in STEM

Dr Sonia Negrão, Assistant Professor at UCD

I fell in love with genetics as a high-school student while studying Mendel’s genetic laws. From there, I decided to study plant sciences and was always very encouraged by my family. I only realised the importance of women in STEM when at the end of my undergraduate degree, and while starting my research project, I noticed that almost all PIs were male. In my case, I was fortunate to have a strong female role model as a PhD supervisor, Prof Margarida Oliveira from ITQB-Nova (Portugal). Today, I follow in her footsteps and always welcome all students. My advice to young female researchers is to never ever lose your passion for science, the awe in all the little discoveries, and to always continue even after those hard days.

I believe that as women, our passion, emotional intelligence and curiosity of always wanting to know the why’s will be rewarded.

Dr Joanne Masterson, Assistant Professor at MU

Find your scientific passion and pursue it with gusto. It’s a long career so have fun. Be creative, you are the painter and your career is a blank canvas awaiting your talents and inspiration.

Focus on the positives, and find great mentors, advocates, and colleagues to help build you up and keep you on track. They will be your sunshine after the storms.

Dr Caitriona Jackman, Honorary Professor at DIAS

I love working in Space Science: the excitement of analysing data from a spacecraft around a distant planet for the first time, and the opportunity to collaborate with international teams of highly motivated, creative and inspiring people. There have been challenges throughout my career, most recently centred around combining parenthood and work. I submitted my application for my SFI award 10 days before giving birth to my second child, and much of my interview preparation was done while pushing my newborn's buggy around the park! I am lucky to have a supportive family who encourage me and give me perspective about what is most important in life.

What drives my career is my passion for my subject and the thrill of seeking new knowledge every day.