Susana Arrechea

Latin America Coordinator, New Sun Road Guatemala

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Be brave to embrace your intelligence, and don't be afraid to fight.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am a former research-scientist in nanotechnology from University Castilla-La Mancha Spain, where I worked developing organic solar cells. I currently work coordinating projects on solar energy, connectivity, and digital literacy in Guatemala's rural communities, reducing the gender-digital gap.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

As a young girl raised in rural Guatemala I did not feel I was good at math or engineering.
As you know, this is still a very common perception in young girls. Nevertheless, several women inspired me to fight for my dreams: my mom, my aunt, and especially a very tough professor, Miss Elsa who challenged me in math when I was in ninth grade.

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

I wish younger me would have known this was possible: I won the award "Illustrious Guatemalans" 2017 in the scientific category and the award for Young Scientists 2017 granted by TWAS. In 2020, I was awarded the OWSD Award - Elsevier Foundation for young scientists in the developing world, representing Latin America. Also, I was considered as one of the 100 most powerful women in the region by Forbes Central America Magazine. Now, I have shared this experience with more than 5,000 girls and young women to promote STEM careers.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

I am looking forward to finding power and connectivity solutions to rural and remote communities. For me, the best part of being a scientist and now a developer is not about discovering new knowledge or new applications; it is about supporting my community and being an example and role model for new generations.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

Be brave to embrace your intelligence, and don't be afraid to fight.

INSPO / FUN FACT

“Whoever touches the life of a child, touches the most sensitive part of a whole which has roots in the most distant past and climbs toward the infinite future.” Maria Montessori

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