Women in Science
My name is Anna Salowka and I am a Research Assistant in the Spagnoli lab. Our work focuses on understanding different aspects of pancreatic development with a long-term prospect of applying this knowledge to improve therapies for pancreatic diseases like diabetes. I received my primary and secondary education in a small town in south-eastern Poland where I was born and raised. I then moved to the UK and enrolled into a short A-levels course followed by BSc in Molecular Genetics (King’s College London) and MRes in Molecular Basis of Human Disease (Imperial College London). I have recently secured a place on the Wellcome Trust PhD Training Programme and I’m very much looking forward to starting this new chapter in September 2022.
Since joining the world of science in 2016, I have never really thought about whether and how being a female affects my choices and possibilities. I have never thought of myself as a Woman in Science before. In my mind, I would rather depict myself as a junior scientist on the journey to become a senior researcher. I believe this is because I was lucky not to have experienced any form of gender-based discrimination or bullying. Moreover, I have met an array of amazing female mentors who inspired, encouraged, supported, and guided me throughout the course of higher education and continue to do so today. The scientific world I know seems to consist of more females than males. Regardless of the exact numbers it seems equal and inclusive. The scientific community is, however, much larger than my immediate surroundings and it is deeply shocking and upsetting to think how circumstances can differ drastically elsewhere.
Being a researcher is challenging on many levels. It is tricky to stay creative and motivated especially at times when there seems to be no or very little progress despite your best efforts and long hours spent in the lab. Troubleshooting and optimisation can last what feels like forever without even the slightest step forward. Sometimes one tiny mistake or simply bad luck can cause a month worth of work go to waste irreversibly in a blink of an eye. On top of that there are tons of unsuccessful applications and deadlines around every corner to name a few. It really can get quite rough, and it is not easy to face without blaming or being harsh on oneself. I believe this hardship is unisex and therefore everyone without a single exception should be surrounded by a supportive and inclusive environment. It simply is invaluable, and no-one should ever be excluded, especially because of one's gender.
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