Monterrey, NL – When Andrea Gomez-Maqueofood and biotechnology expert, she was on a student exchange in Germany, she thought it would be nice to stay in the country to get her work experience.
So, she wrote a letter of intent to the Nestlé company and asked a friend to help her check her German grammar. It was slow to respond, so Andrea decided to send the email with her question. Her friend later warned her that the letter was too “enthusiastic”. Andrea started to google “How can I retrieve an email that has already been sent?”
A few days later, they called to tell her she had been accepted. She asked why she was selected from so many contestants. They replied that it was – precisely – because of her letter. It was then that you realized the importance of being true to yourself and expressing yourself exactly as you are in science.
Today, the The Tec graduate is Head of Research at the Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation, where he is studying how to improve the glycemic index of foods. At Tec de Monterrey 52nd Research and Development Conferenceshe shared the aspects that worked for her to succeed without ceasing to be herself.
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Build your professional identity
In the end Andrea says it we all want to be happy and find meaning in what we do in our work and private life. However, the reconciliation of both can lead to conflicts.
“Personal identity has a component of who I am, what are the qualities that make me unique and how I fit into my community, why we are social beings and we have to find our place.”
Gómez Maqueo believes that the construction of a professional identity it’s a process. It starts with a bachelor’s degree and it is only achieved when you can exercise your professional role with creativity while remaining true to yourself.
“Professional identity is not moving forward in a straight line. It includes steps forward, but also setbacks. There will be times when we feel safe, but there will be times when we question everything, and there’s nothing wrong with asking questions. “
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Five keys to success in science, according to Andrea Gómez-Maqueo
In the process of becoming a researcher, we are always faced with rejection: when we want to propose a new idea, a new hypothesis, or when we submit articles to peer-reviewed journals.
We need to stand up for what we believe in and recover from the harsh comments of other more experienced scientists like, “This is useless.”
2. Form a community
The sense of community in science is very special. There is a very high level of trust and our language is science. We meet people who become colleagues and you soon feel they are a part of your life.
People with very strong professional identities can be an inspiration to you when you are young.
I think research is a unique job. You can express your creativity and originality in your study paths, in conferences, with your students. From an early age I enjoyed drawing, and I express it in my articles or in book chapters to explain complex mechanisms.
We can feel invincible in science and technology careers because we face so many challenges, from publishing documents to obtaining funding.
But we must also recognize it we are not invincible. We should choose our battles wisely and guide students to their creative lines of research.
5. Be authentic
Stay true to yourself. Express your personality as you are. It’s not wrong to be very enthusiastic or shy. If you are someone who likes to write, become a science writer; if your passion is teaching, you can focus on the lessons; if you like starting a business, look for mechanisms to make your idea come true. The academic world is flexible.
Low-sugar foods and diabetes
As in Mexico, the Asian population has a high rate of type 2 diabetes, with the problem even more serious there. It is estimated that one in two people in Singapore will be diabetic by 2050.
In light of this serious health problem, Andrea Gomez Maqueo he is working with his team to design potatoes, a food widely consumed by the population, so that they have a lower sugar content.
“Potatoes are a very healthy food. However, they contain starch, a glucose chain, and when we eat them, the enzymes in our body release these molecules. If our metabolism processes them very quickly, in the long term it can contribute to the development of diabetes ”.
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