Maria Clara Franco next to FASEB logo
Maria Clara Franco featured by FASEB

See a portion of the interview by France-Elvie Banda below:

 

FASEB: What challenges do you think confront the Hispanic and LatinX communities in the scientific field? How did you overcome these challenges and what is your advice for the next generation?

Franco: As a Hispanic woman in a STEM discipline, I believe that overcoming isolation and participating in professional networking are some of the most common challenges faced by women and minorities in science. Having a support net is crucial. One of my strategies to increase my interaction with colleagues is based on promoting opportunities for informal networking. I also strive to be an active member of the scientific community at every possible level. Navigating through these different experiences also helped me become aware of my own subconscious biases. I realized that I naturally seek connecting with people from a similar background and with similar experiences as mine. As many, I feel more comfortable among people I can easily relate to rather than facing and managing the black box that represents our individual differences. I have worked and keep working on addressing this bias by opening the black box, recognizing and understanding the differences, and looking at them as an opportunity to learn and connect with others rather than letting them keep us apart. My advice to the next generation is to start building a supportive network of mentors and colleagues early on. Believe in yourself and what you can accomplish and reflect on your own bias.

FASEB: We evolve from our life experiences. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?

Franco: Doubt what you know because you are eager to learn more, not because of the perception others have of you.