Barbara I. Escobar Anleu
Coordinator of Jaguar Corridor Initiative
You can be introverted, reserved and still lead in various spaces and make big changes.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am a Guatemalan biologist with a master's degree in conservation and wildlife management. Currently I work for Panthera, an international organization dedicated to the conservation of wild cats and their habitat. I do research about species such as jaguars, pumas, ocelots, jaguarundis and margays mainly in eastern Guatemala.
I also enjoy doing science communication, so I have a blog and use social media like Twitter and TikTok to share about my work and the importance of biodiversity and its conservation.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?
I consider that I am a person who was born with a vocation.
Since I can remember I have been passionate about nature. The only other field I was interested in my life was veterinary medicine because as a girl, I wanted to "rescue all the animals of the world". It was since I was in high school that I discovered biology and realized that it was that science that would enable me to rescue, not only animals but also plants and their habitat. I am in the right place.
HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?
I was very fortunate to have a supportive family because I never had a problem achieving my dream of studying to “save the world”. As for my training as a student and professional experiences, my obstacles have been mainly due to the context in my country, since I have had to deal with machismo and the risks that my work implies because I am a woman.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"
You will achieve what you want, do not be afraid.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?
I love biology because it allows me to continue being that girl who is surprised by what she discovers in nature. The difference is that now I can better understand the processes and transform my discoveries into concrete proposals to conserve nature.
BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?
You can be introverted, reserved and still lead in various spaces and make big changes. In a world made for extroverts, you can stand out with your creative, nerdy initiatives and your empathy. Dream big and don't be afraid!