Luz Angela Garcia
And - Professor
If you are curious and interested in nature, go for a career in STEM!
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I'm a scientist, and my research focuses on the study of the early Universe, in particular, Reionization, the epoch when the first galaxies, stars, and black holes formed and shaped the way structure and free Hydrogen is seen today with our telescopes. I use numerical simulations to understand the processes that took place when the Universe was young and evolving.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?
When I was a child, I was given a little telescope as a Christmas gift. I was already interested in science and maths, but that particular present marked my future career path. Later on, at the age of 12, I watched Cosmos: a personal journey, featured by Carl Sagan, and I was thrilled by our Universe wonders. Finally, at high-school, I received my first lectures on physics and basic astronomy, and all of these experiences helped me to decide I was ready to do a Bachelor in Physics, and specialize in Astronomy.
HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?
There have been many obstacles along the path, in particular, because in my country, most people think women could do better in other types of careers, not in STEM. For me, the first thing to tackle these issues it's to realize there's something that bothers me, and why. After that, I would ask myself whether changing the situation depends on me or not, hence, I can try to find a solution. Also, talking about these situations with peers and friends is extremely useful, because most difficulties have happened to others, and therefore, they can give you relevant inputs and advice. Finally, relying on my mentors has helped to overcome most of the issues I have faced along my career path.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"
The immense impact that computing and AI algorithms can have to study different cases in science. Although I'm not an advanced programmer, I have explored and implemented these techniques and coding skills to improve my research.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?
The interaction with people and the feeling that I'm doing something useful to the progress of humanity.
I adore doing outreach of my research, and through that, I have been able to motivate and inspire girls and young women to pursue a career in science. People often tell me I'm being part of the change of paradigm, and I feel very honored and proud about contributing to promoting women in STEM.
BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?
If you are curious and interested in nature, go for a career in STEM! Science needs a multicultural and diverse environment.
Always be passionate, be persistent, be patient and pursue your dreams.
“Science makes people reach selflessly for truth and objectivity; it teaches people to accept reality, with wonder and admiration, not to mention the deep awe and joy that the natural order of things brings to the true scientist.” - Lise Meitner