As part of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which is celebrated today, we went to talk to a figueirense of heart and soul, marking a path of enormous relevance in the area of science: Sílvia Curado, Researcher and Director of Research at New York University.
Growing up in Figueira da Foz
I often think about how lucky I was to have grown up in Figueira da Foz and the influence it had on me. Figueira and my parents taught me to appreciate the “small but ultimately great” things in life – and today I am made of those things, it is my essence. That way of seeing and feeling, I always carry it with me, regardless of the country where I am. I still love walking around Figueira today – meeting people who have seen me grow up gives me special pleasure, it’s like finding little pieces of myself every twenty steps.
I studied in several schools in Figueira da Foz: at Jardim-Escola João de Deus (with steps that seemed huge to me at the time!), Escola Preparatória do Viso, Escola EB 2º e 3º Ciclos Dr. João de Barros, Escola Secundária Dr. Joaquim de Carvalho (with a gap year at Escola Secundária Bernardino Machado).
Leaving Figueira da Foz
Thanks to the open-mindedness of my parents, I was exposed early on to international experiences that made me curious about the possibility of combining academic-professional development with immersive knowledge of other people and worlds.
I first left Figueira to study at the University of Coimbra, then at the Biotechnology Institute in Bergen (Norway), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Germany), the University of California in San Francisco (USA) and New York University in New York, where I currently work.
I must confess, however, that I feel I have never really left Figueira, and that Figueira has never left me. It is still my “home”, my land and sea, that essence I was talking about.
I conduct research and lead research programs at New York University, School of Medicine. In addition, I am president of PAPS – an organization that represents Portuguese postgraduates in North America, I wrote a book for the general public about Genetics and the implications of the development of this Science in our future, and I love to photograph, paint, create.
Passion for science
I remember when I was 15, I realized during a biology class that I was in love with what we know about the human body. Today I am fascinated by what we know, what we don’t know yet, continuous learning and the possibility of contributing to knowledge in the field of biomedicine.
A message to all girls who dream of working in this field
Intelligence, curiosity, a taste for discovery, have no gender. In science or any other field, everyone counts and the world is full of challenges. Choose yours, embrace them and impact the world, without asking permission, proud of who you are!