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Women’s Day for Biology students

‘It was not always accepted, but I just wanted to be a researcher. Now, I am as happy as can be.’ It is one of the quotes from the International Women’s Day presentation for Biology students. Seven women, working as researchers and teachers at the CML, IBL, and Naturalis, shared their experiences with the students.

‘Times are changing, but there are still many men in higher positions. That is why we wanted to organise a small symposium this 8 March’, says Nikie Veld, Education Coordinator at the Biology department and organizer of the event. ‘We think it is important to show female role models. So this session was not necessarily focused on women power. Instead, we illustrated to the students what the speakers’ careers looked like, and got to know their motivations and ambitions.

Different time periods and backgrounds

Speakers at this symposium were Leni Duistermaat, Liselotte Rambonnet, Tonny Regensburg, Rinny Kooi, Mei Wang, Nienke Beets and Sandra IrmischThese women started their careers in different time periods and sometimes in other countries. Biology students both present live and via Zoom asked further questions about their background and experiences in the Biology field. 

 Overall, the women tried to implore the following tips to thrive in an academic career:

  • You don’t always have to look into the future, it is also very important that you like what you do today. 
  • When faced with something negative, try to turn it into something positive. However, speak up if it's about something you stand for or don’t accept. 
  • Look for the people that want the best for you. If you are not recognised or appreciated by the people around you, change the people you work with. 
  • Speak to lots of people and try to make friends. A career is more enjoyable if you have some colleagues to who you can speak freely.
  • Everybody is just a person, even professors, and all are winging it too to some extent. Nobody is completely sure about what they are doing all the time. 
  • The perception is that academia often struggle with workload. It does not have to be true: Working at a company can be just as hard.
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