A Black Sheep for A Greener Environment

Ana Paulina López (ESR2)

Hello! My name is Ana Paulina, Early Stage Researcher 2 in NOWELTIES project.

I have always liked the natural sciences, experiments with microscopes and chemical reactions in the laboratory. However, when asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I was not able to say “The scientist” or “The researcher”. I was born in Mexico City, where I followed a conventional education system, and where careers such as communication, business or administration are preferred choices.

Despite of this, I felt that my scientific profile could be formed and shaped according to my personality, values and principles.

So, I became a laboratory biologist with a clear goal: to help to implement solutions before environmental degradation reaches the point of no return. There is no need to wait to see the effects of contaminants on human health in order to focus on the environment.

That is why I decided to follow an environmental path, and my first approach to water contamination started when I focused my degree thesis on how pollutants discharged into rivers can cause leukaemia and the death of neighboring inhabitants.

After graduating, I decided to continue working as a research assistant in environmental toxicology. At that time, I realized that the pace of scientific research clashes with those of environmental regulations, which take a long time to implement.

This inspired me to continue my training with a master’s degree in environmental sanitation in Belgium, where I chose a specialization in water treatment using wetlands and microorganisms. This knowledge would allow me to contribute with environmental solutions in a faster pace.

Before joining Nowelties, I was involved in a company that promotes the closure of the industrial wastewater cycle. This opportunity was very satisfying; however, I realized that my education was not complete in order to contribute fully for the resolution of scientific problems and to adjust them to case studies.

Therefore, I became an ESR and intended to complete my scientific knowledge in water treatment by merging my two different profiles: environmental and biological.

Now, my biggest dream is to be able to see how the impact of my research can provide real help in solving pollution problems.

I understood that being the black sheep has a great advantage: being able to choose your own direction.