Fernanda Duarte

Associate Professor, University of Oxford


Challenge yourself, be perseverant and kind to others.

What do you do?

I am a computational chemist. I use computers as microscopes to study how chemical reactions take place at the molecular level. This is important to design new drugs, catalysts and materials.

Why did you choose this field?

While in school I wanted to study mining engineering (probably inspired by Jules Verne's book: Journey to the Center of the Earth and because I am from Chile where copper is central); However, I was told it was not the type of career for a woman. Then, without much thinking, I went into chemistry which seemed similar. Although I hope that this type of comments disappears, I'm happy about my choice, as I love what I decided to study.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

Ohh so many, e.g. learning English (which seemed impossible 15 years ago); Obtaining a PhD in Science (I knew nothing about research when I started my studies), etc

Why do you love working in STEM?

I enjoy been challenged by new problems and find extremely rewarding working towards their solution together with students/colleague. That is what keeps me motivated, especially during difficult times.

Best advice for next generation?

Challenge yourself, be perseverant and kind to others

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about” (Ian Maclaren is thought to be the original source)

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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