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Patricia Landaverde

Associate researcher

Martin Luther University

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This is actually the beginning of a great adventure, which will help you to grow academically, emotionally and live your dreams.

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am molecular ecologist and entomologist working with pollinator in Mesoamerica a hotspot for biodiversity that is of particular interest not only because of its complex geological, biological and cultural diversity but also because of the lack of studies of its local fauna and flora. With my studies I try to make a connection between the traditional practices, the effect of landscape, geological history on the genetic diversity of pollinator with the goal to improve their diversity, conservation and the service of pollination that they provide for traditional and cash crops.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I always felt attracted to the science subjects and I was raised loving nature. However, initially I did not choose biology as the career was not very well known to me, but after my first semester I checked the study program and I fell in love with ecology and genetics and the infinite possibilities for research. In that moment I knew this was my career.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

I faced many obstacles for being the first in my family getting a university degree and continued with my graduate studies until I finished my doctorate. Second, being Central American, the region does not always have many opportunities for scholarships and funding for research, and third for communicating in multiple languages in distant countries, outside my culture and my family. Discipline, perseverance and mainly the passion to fight for my dreams have been the main drivers. I think I have also tried to fight against the idea that because I am from Central America, I will not be able or I am at a disadvantage and I have tried with all my might to rise to the challenge. My strategy has been to face fear with enthusiasm and perseverance. Further, failures are not the end of a fight, they are just lessons from which a lot can be learned.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

I should not be afraid because I am the daughter of a humble woman who did not even have the opportunity to finish university, or because I have grown up without a father or because I do not possess great wealth. Because precisely that persistence, passion and intelligence that I observed and learned from my mother would be the tools to polish my path. I would say to myself that I must have more confidence in my abilities to venture faster on this path of an academic career.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

I really enjoy satisfying my curiosity and the excitement of discovery of the mysteries of the amazing beings that share this planet with us, while also being able to do something of benefit for animals mainly bees and the sustainable subsistence of humanity. I don’t know if I have already inspired someone but I want to left the path open for another woman that also dreams about and enjoys STEM work.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

Do not be afraid to follow your dreams even if they look difficult and challenging. Do not be afraid to make the decision to travel to foreign places, far from family and everything you know in order to pursue your dreams. This is actually the beginning of a great adventure, which will help you grow academically, emotionally and live your dreams.

INSPIRATION

My role models are first my mother, Gregoria González who showed that the absence of a husband did not inhibit her from taking charge of her life and shining even more to build a future for her but mainly for us. Secondly, Dr. Carlota Monroy, who received me in her laboratory and was always a source of inspiration that science can be done in Latin America, mainly as women and still with many challenges to overcome. I not only learned her passion for science, but perseverance even in difficult times.