At RZSS WildGenes, I feel very lucky to be able to use my scientific knowledge to support the conservation of endangered species around the world. In honour of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, I thought I would ask some inspirational women scientists who work with RZSS across the globe why they love their job and what advice they have for girls and young women who might be thinking of following the same path.
Jyoti Joshi , Nepal
Jyoti is a Conservation Genetics Program Manager at the Centre for Molecular Dynamics in Nepal. Her role involves work with a lot of labs and research institutions around the world including on the Himalayan wolves project with RZSS.
I love the fact that my job…. has both field and lab components which really helps keep the work fresh and diverse. Our contribution goes beyond the confines of field or lab, it impacts on the lives of local people and the environment through the prevention of disease or the protection of an endangered species, which are tangibly connected to the economic or cultural aspect of peoples lives.”
My advice for young scientists is… Pure science requires being meticulous, disciplined and to have perseverance at your craft. Keep at it always, don't ever take the foot off the pedal. Regardless of whether the industry is dominated by men or women, if you are a worthy researcher with a strong work ethic, you will get more than enough opportunities to grow and become a top scientist in your field. Learn and go out on as many field trips or work placements as you can, nothing replaces the core learning experience you gain from being subjected to real-life work situations. But most importantly, enjoy enjoy enjoy your work, I cannot stress that enough. Believing in yourself and enjoying your work is probably the core reason why you become successful!
Srey Chansorphea, Cambodia
Chansorphea is a Biology lecturer at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP). She is working with RUPP, RZSS and FFI on project funded by the DEFRA Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Challenge Fund to understand the illegal trade in elephant ivory. Chansorphea worked with RZSS WildGenes last year, using genetic analysis to monitor wild elephants in Cambodia.
I love the fact that my job … allows me to continually gain a lot of knowledge and have many great experiences. I love to always be learning and passing on my knowledge to others.
My advice for young scientists is … quite simply that being a scientists is not only for men but also for women. Science helps us all to solve many problems, and allows us to understand how to make the best decisions. We can apply it to many situations where we face difficulties around the world. Science is so wonderful that it must be for everybody!
Jennifer Kaden, UK
Jenny is a senior lab technician at RZSS WildGenes. She works on many RZSS conservation genetics projects from DNA extraction to “Next Generation” Sequencing.
I love the fact that my job … always throws up challenges. Working with rare and endangered species can be really tricky. I spend a lot of time working with difficult samples trying to create protocols that can be applied in field sites and laboratories around the world. I really love learning how to use new technologies and meeting and working with new people through our collaborative projects.
My advice for young scientists is … Find what you’re interested in and work hard to develop a skill you are really good at. Put the two together and you’ll end up doing something you really love! I’m interested in conservation and I love the practical work of being in a lab, so being a lab technician in a conservation genetics lab means I get to do work I enjoy and be part of some really interesting projects.
Bruna G. Oliveira, Brazil
Bruna is a Biologist for the RZSS supported Giant Armadillo Conservation Program and work with the support of Natural Research. For the last two years she has been crossing the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, looking for Giant Armadillo to compile the distribution map of this species. Currently she is working analysing all data collected in the field.
I love the fact that my job ... Allows me to be in touch with nature and with wild animals. When I see a pristine area or a wild animal in it’s habitat, it makes my day better and I think that all the efforts is worth it. I also love that my work and my purposes in life are the same. For me, life makes more sense when your work helps to change what you want to see in the world.
My advice for young scientist is … Being a scientist is not easy sometimes, it is a life of dedication and a lot of study. If your work includes field work you also have the physical hardship. However, everything is worthwhile when you are doing what you love and when you see the results and discoveries of your research. Never let someone tell you that a job “is not for women”. Due to my field work I have heard things like these, but the reality is that women are excelling in science, in field work, in conservation and in doing whatever we want to do. We are strong!
As for my advice? Work hard. Never stop asking questions. You will become a better scientist if you are unafraid of working with people who might be better than you at something- that’s the way to learn. Try to ignore any “this is something for boys” or “this is something for girls” viewpoints that you might come across. Look around at the varied and amazing things different people do in this world and see, that regardless of who we are, we are all capable of being much more than a stereotype.