To celebrate the 50th anniversary of women obtaining the right to vote in Switzerland, the National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) will introduce you to women working in Swiss research institutes. Today we invite you to meet Maria Taskova, a scientist who is always willing to share her experiences with others!
Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in science?
Not really. After high school I studied Pharmacy and completed a fiveyear program to become Master of Pharmacy. However, inspired by the medical field, I always had a passion to learn new things and make discoveries. Next, I enrolled second, more specialized Master program in Chemistry. Then naturally I continued with science during my PhD and now Postdoc.
What do you like about your field of research?
The field of DNA/RNA chemistry and technology is fast moving, exciting and mind blowing. I consider myself very fortunate to have the opportunity to work and give my contribution to it.
As a woman, have you always been in the minority?
I would say that during my Master studies in Pharmacy and in Chemistry as well we were balanced number of female and male students. Still, during my PhD and Postdoc I felt that as a woman I am in minority. For me personally this was not a problem in the everyday work but it would be encouraging to see more women succeeding in the later stages of a career.
As a woman and a scientist, do you consider that you can be a role model for young people who would like to follow in your footsteps?
I am not sure if I am a role model but I would be honored if someone can see me as one. I am always happy to share my experiences and to support young scientists. In general, I advocate for young girls to work for themselves, and to find their way whether they are in science or not.
Did you yourself have a role model that allowed you to become who you are today?
Yes, for sure. I believe having people that are role models and support is very important. My mother is my first role model. She is not a scientist but she tought me to always work for myself and to never give up. Then I was very lucky to have great women as a PhD supervisors. Today I aim to teach and supervise my students primarily by being an example.