Ma. Diana Roque

With the emancipation, do you think there is still prejudice against women's participation?
Regardless of prejudices, women are gaining more and more space in science and representation matters! We have more and more shining examples of women in science, look at the names of your own groups! Women scientists who have made their mark. A very interesting fact is that Brazil is one of the most equal countries in the proportion of men and women in academic publications (for those who want to read a little more, here is the reference of this data I mentioned: "Gender in the Global Research Landscape”).

At what age did you realize you wanted to be a SCIENTIST?
Since I was a little girl I always liked to be in contact with nature, surrounded by plants in the garden of my grandmother's house, we also had a puppy when we were toddlers (me and my twin brother), my beloved parents, Maria Inês and Ricardo, always took us to exhibitions and museums, and this world always attracted me a lot! So I feel that these experiences gave me a fascination for the world, for the diversity of organisms that we have on our planet! And I wanted to better understand how it all worked, so I chose to study Biology and that's when I started to follow my path in science.

How did you discover the area of science that you wanted to participate in?
I was discovering by experimenting and getting to know the areas during college. I allowed myself to work as a researcher, as a tutor of the subjects I loved to study ("Evolution of organs and animal systems" was my favorite subject!), I organized events like "Biology Week", in college you have a universe of possibilities! Naturally you realize that you have an affinity for some specific subjects more than others! So, a tip that I must leave here is: feel what vibrates with you! If you hear about a specific subject and it catches your attention, no, it's not for nothing.

How does it feel to discover something new? Are there still many things to be discovered?
It feels great when you achieve the goal of your research! When you get the answer to your research question it's a feeling of mission accomplished! And you start thinking about the next one! And, yes, there are many things still to be discovered! In all areas! There is plenty of work and opportunities for you girls! Come on out!

In the science area do you have to do a lot of calculations or are they more practical things?
Sit down, here comes the story... (laughs) Math is a fundamental knowledge for all sciences. For example, when I worked as an undergrad student in a laboratory at the Catholic University of Brasilia, where the focus of the research was the purification of proteins, I had to do calculations to prepare solutions, to prepare the culture media where I would inoculate the bacteria that I wanted to test. So, even though the focus of my work was not mathematics, mathematics was always present. So it is worth paying a good attention to it if you like the science area!

What was your family's reaction when they heard that you wanted to be a scientist?
During the Biology College, since the second semester, I already started to work in research as a Scientific Initiation student, I received a scholarship from CNPq (one of the important agencies that finance research in our country) and continued researching throughout my graduation. If I think of the exact moment when I decided to be a scientist, it was during this first contact with research, in the second semester of college. But if you want, you can already start doing research in High School, remember Juliana Estradioto's example, in the video-inspiration of this week?

Have you ever thought of giving up because of insults?
I recognize that the area of research is important for me to develop as a teacher and researcher and this will benefit everyone! Therefore, no challenge 'till now has been bigger than my will to continue!

How do you, scientists, react to sexist thoughts in your fields?
Many people portray situations along these lines, the best we can do is to remember why we are doing what we do and reinforce that point within us, so we get back on track and move toward our goal!

You all, as scientists, how do you absorb so much knowledge?
Scientists have a lot of dedication in what they do, just like in any other career, it takes study to improve and become more and more useful in their field. And in science especially, everything is very dynamic! What was known not so long ago about our solar system, for example, has already become obsolete. Because of the development of technology, we have more and more elaborate equipment and probes with greater potential to make us better understand our own environment. That is why being always up-to-date about matters in your area, whatever it may be, is fundamental!