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My story starts in a small town from the northern region of the warm vibrant and culturally diverse #India.
#VoicesIWS Image
Born as 3rd daughter in a culture where birth of a daughter is resented by many, my parents had to deal with 'eerie' solutions from society to get rid of the "burden" that I was about to become. But, my visionary parent-warriors had their armours on! 😇
#genderbias #VoicesIWS
#QuickFact: Did you know, according to @UNFPA 126 million girls go “missing” every year due to sex-selective #abortions. The figure is >600,000 girls (aged 0–6 years) for India.
Coming back to the story. My parents raised us up with best parenting & education possible there, supporting us all the way. Eventually, I moved out of the town to pursue higher studies from 3 different universities, travelling across the vast and #IncredibleIndia!
#VoicesIWS Sunrise at Kanyakumari, the...
I grew up watching @NatGeo & @DiscoveryIN, aspiring to be a #zoologist, out on adventures in the wild. With time, my love for #Biology funnelled into behavioural sciences & before I knew, I was obsessed with studying #psychology & #neuroscience
Right after getting my master's degree with 'Certificate of merit', I won a research fellowship from @ugc_india-@CSIR_IND, Govt of India, through nationwide competition! I was ecstatic! So I packed my bags & traveled ~3000kms, to study #circadian behavior
And then it happened..#workplace #harassment. I was asked to "do as I'm told, if i wanted to succeed in research, or else I'll face consequences". When I 'didn't', I was #Gaslighted into believing I wasn't good enough. Mortified, I quit within 11 months.
Without losing any more time, i was fortunate to join Dr. @TRRaju1's lab. 5 years later, I graduated with a #PhD in #Neurophysiology. I studied the role of #glia in the pathology of #ALS.

However, the struggle wasn't over: this time, the culprit was my own health
After 7 years of misdiagnoses since my first episode at 20yo, I was symptomatically diagnosed with episodic #ataxia, a rare disorder not much researched upon. Although -ve for known mutations, I was responsive to the medication (thank #Science!)
I was devastated.
But wait! There is a silver lining!
Over all these years, I have recieved enormous support from my supervisors, colleagues & family, which has led me thrive despite all! A kinder research culture exists, y'all & none of us should ever settle for less
Now the good part: during the last phase of my PhD. I met my current supervisor, Prof. Jean Pierre Julien in a conference. While discussing our research, we realised how our research interests align. Et voilà, I landed in Quebec city by march 2016 as a postdoc!
New city & new culture. Being an #Immigrant has pros & cons. Pros: you make new friends, learn about new culture & sometimes a new language.
Cons: Adjusting to so many changes at once can be tricky
Q: In your #iws experience, did you find #cultureshock challenging?
Being an introvert, transition to a complete new culture was definitely not easy for me. This where I'd like to mention @IWS_Network. With the support, help & friendships I recieved within this extended family, Canada now feels like home
#WomenInSTEM Image
And this concludes my story thus far. One thing that i learned so far in my story, is that determination, hardwork & kindness take you a long way.
I intend to pay forward the support I recieved.
Thanks @IWS_Network for letting my story become a part of twitter verse🙏
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Keep Current with Pooja Shree, PhD. 🇮🇳🇨🇦

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