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Hellen Weinschutz Mendes @hellen_cwm
, 21 tweets, 30 min read Read on Twitter
I was born and raised in the beautiful city of #Curitiba, southern #Brazil!
This region is famous for being cold and cloudy (yes it can be cold in Brazil!).
It is also famous for its very endemic and beautiful #Araucaria pine trees. #voicesIWS @IWS_Network @500womensci /1
#Actions speak louder than words! I am thankful for my parents for being who they are. Both always showed love for Nature, different interests and #curiosity! So no wonder by observing them I grew up to be a very curious girl who really loved Nature. #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /2
During High School I became fascinated by the #mendelian #genetics classes and the work of #gregormendel! I also loved studying animals, ecosystems and climate so the obvious choice for me in University (@PUCPR_oficial ) was BIOLOGY!! @IWS_Network #womeninscience #voicesIWS /3
I stopped my undergrad studies for 6 months and went to #vancouver to study English! There, in 2002, my love story with #Canada started. Little did I know how this would be a game changer.
Experiences #abroad for sure open our minds! #womeninscience #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /4
Back to Brazil in the early 2000s, there were not a lot of opportunities in my University for #undergrads to get involved with #research. It was then a great honor to be chosen in my class for one of the few research #opportunities that opened up! #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /5
Got my #BSc in #Biology, experience with research now I wanted to work! But Finding a job as a Biologist in Brazil is hard. After a while I got a research position working with genome sequencing.Two years later though #funding for that position ended. #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /6
I spent three years working outside of the field and acquiring experience with #teaching. During this time I would wonder if I'd ever go back to #research. It came to a point I thought it was #impossible and I almost gave up on that career #bumpyroad. #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /7
As a #solution I started volunteering in a Lab while having another job. Though #challenging I was thrilled to be back to research after almost 4 years away from a #Lab! But you know, :) girls just wanna have FUNding for their scientific research... #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /8
I got #funding to start a #masters at that Lab!! At the age of 29 (lot later than the usual) I started my Masters at a great institution (@UFPR) working with #SNPs in genes of Innate Immunity and their association with Leprosy! I loved that project. #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /9
During my Master I got one of the most amazing #opportunities of my life! I was sent to #Denmark at @AarhusUni for 3 months to conduct part of my Masters research with a renowned group! Good thing I had invested in learning English before!#WomenInSTEM #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /10
Working together with #professors and #students that were the authors of #scientific papers I used as #reference for my research, was very intimidating at first. But the group was great and I learned so much during this time in beautiful #Aarhus, DK! #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /11
After this #adventure in Denmark I wanted to pursue a #PhD abroad. As my husband also really liked the idea of living in Canada, I started a long process of #searching for PhD opportunities across #Canada while still working on my Masters research. #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /12
I looked up over 30 potential supervisors, sent many emails and three letters! However, deep inside I really #doubted myself, thinking nobody would want an over-30-years-old #foreigner PhD student. But hey, all you actually need sometimes is one #yes! #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /13
My search actually resulted in two PhD opportunities, with funding! I even got to choose! Yes, there are a few who can see your potential beyond any barriers of #internationality, #gender, #race or #age (yes!) and for those, I’m thankful!
#voicesIWS @IWS_Network /14
After careful considerations I chose one of the two opportunities. I’ll always remember getting the official #acceptance #letter back in #Brazil, what a day! Next destination: #Ottawa! Time for this couple to pack a whole life into 5 bags! #Immigrant #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /15
Being a #newcomer is challenging! You usually have to #solve in a matter of weeks things you slowly established over years as an adult in your home country! Not mentioning being #far away from #family, which is always an extremely high price to pay! #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /16
Despite the challenges I was happy to start a PhD and so I did in Sep/2015!
I am studying the role of specific #transcription factors in brain #regeneration and for that I use the #zebrafish, which can fully regenerate several organs after an injury! #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /17
Doing a #PhD can be #tough!
But sometimes while walking from the Microscope room to the Zebrafish facility I remember about me in my mid-twenties back in Curitiba, with disbelief I would even go back to #research! It's a great feeling! #womeninSTEM #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /18
I started learning #English at 19 years old and I am proud of my #roots, #culture, my tendency to hug people and yes, my #accent! I am happy to live in #Canada a country that embraces all these differences very well, with a few exceptions of course. #voicesIWS @IWS_Network /19
#Connection, #support, #network, oh things you need as an #IWS (Immigrant and international women in science) in a new #country! One of the best decisions I made throughout this PhD was to join the newly formed @IWS_Network!
#voicesIWS #WomenInSTEM #immigrantwomen /20
I’m looking forward for the next chapters of my life as a #scientist as I’m approaching the end of my PhD! It was a pleasure sharing a bit of my #journey here on #voicesIWS! Stay tuned for more stories on @IWS_Network! And always #believe in yourself! Um forte abraço a todos! /21
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