I grew up in a neighborhood in the south of Buenos Aires City, Argentina. Spending my infancy among my three football fan brothers, I was “expected” to be the goalkeeper only in case they needed me. I soon realized that there were no reasonable arguments for some activities being dominated by men, and domestic tasks were the “natural” environment for women.
In that sense, my maternal grandmother has had a profound influence on me, she had become a widow very young with 3 children to feed and raise. In that context, she studied, worked, and raised her children as a very determined and confident woman. She gave me my first encyclopedia (32 wonderful books), took me to the zoo regularly, and helped me develop an insectarium when I was 8. She always encouraged me to follow my dreams and to be independent.
At school, I was very studious and keen at sports. I really enjoyed studying Natural Sciences, but I also had a growing interest in social issues. Firstly, I thought that I must choose between studying natural or social science, then I realized that I could combine both by committing myself to helping people improve their overall quality of life, especially for the most vulnerable sectors of society.
During the first years of studies for my Bachelor’s degree in Biology, I served as a rural teacher, spending some weeks in an isolated village in the province of Santiago de Estero and in a native community – the Wichis indigenous groups – in the province of Chaco (Argentina). By that time, I knew that Biology was my passion, but this contact with such isolated and suffering communities made me meditate on our social commitment as human beings, and how important the access to education, health, integration and respect really are. For this reason, I decided to perform my PhD and the rest of my scientific career under the perspective of improving public health, specifically focused on tuberculosis, and scientific outreach.
I am also a mother of two young children (2 and 4 years old). The challenge of achieving a balance between my professional and personal lives provided me with different and broader perspectives about managing my time more efficiently according to clear and concise priorities. I believe that the creation of a family should not be detrimental to career advancement, and still a lot should be done to address that issue. We can work together to make our world a more inclusive one, without gender boundaries, endowed with social equality and human diversity. Hey girl: don’t give up!