Yasmin Quintana paves the way for female scientists
As a first-generation college student, Yasmin Quintana never imagined pursuing a career in fish ecology. For girls in her home country of Guatemala, becoming a scientist was not generally encouraged.Now, the doctoral student in the Texas A&M University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology has teamed up with international organizations to empower young women in science.
In addition to her many research projects for Texas A&M in Guatemala, Quintana devotes her time to the Organization for Women in Science in the Developing World (OWSD) Guatemala National Chapter. As an early member of OWSDW, Quintana knew she wanted to be a voice for women interested in scientific disciplines. She joined the organization in 2019 after witnessing similar women in science organizations being developed at the University of Florida and Texas A&M.
“I’ve been trying to be a part of these organizations and learn how to promote women in science because we didn’t do that in Guatemala,” said Quintana. “It’s hard to imagine being a woman working in science in Guatemala because we didn’t have those (female) role models or mentors. So, I joined OWSD, and we started talking about how we could promote different types of activities with children, young women and women in early careers. We wanted to work with national institutions to get funds from international sources to promote these projects.”
After working as a coordinator and volunteering for the organization in several capacities, Quintana attended an OWSD workshop for creative writing. The aim of the workshop was for women to tell their stories in a way that could inspire young women and children.
Ultimately, these stories were shared with the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, and utilized for the Lifelong Learning Project that promotes literacy in Guatemala. Quintana, along with seven other female scientists, were featured in the project’s Inspiring Guatemalan Women Series for their work in aquatic-related topics.