Minorities and Women in OSA
Meet this female fellow
Laura M. Lechuga
Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2)
SPANISH RESEARCH COUNCIL (CSIC) and CIBER-BBN
OSA Member since: 2009
OSA Fellow since: 2014
Prof. Laura M. Lechuga is Full Professor of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) in Barcelona, Spain, since 2008. Prior to coming to Barcelona, she spent 18 years at the National Microelectronics Centre (Spanish National Research Council) in Madrid, Spain, and two years at the MESA+ Research Institute (University of Twente, The Netherlands). Actually, she is also Adjunct professor at the Arctic University of Norway (Norway) and distinguished Visiting professor at Campinas University (Brazil).
She has been co-founder of spin-offs companies since 2004 and has been actively involved in the development of the companies. One of her companies was sold to a large industrial Group in 2012.
She also serves as Associate Editor for IEEE Photonics Journal and for the Journal of Laser Technology.
What is your advice for balancing one’s professional and personal life?
There is no doubt that the best approach to reach a top position and stay relevant in your career is to invest yourself (effort, time…) in your research. Support and understanding from your family and your close circle of friends is essential, and to count with a supporting partner that accompanies you in achieving your goals is a must, although not necessarily easy!
Have an eye in not trying to be “perfect” in all the above mentioned aspects (career, family, friends, colleagues, partner…) but to be flexible enough to combine them in the best way. Good planning increases the chance of success in balancing one’s professional and personal life. But important: not forgetting to take care of yourself at the same time.
Do you have suggestions for how female scientists can support each other’s careers and development?
One of the best ways to support female scientists to go ahead with their careers is to stimulate them by supporting their work and transmitting energy and confidence in themselves. I also believe in motivation by mutual help and encouragement, as well as in sharing both success and difficulties, to have open discussions about how to coexist happily with success and how to overcome difficulties.
We should be more actively involved in “female” networking by mentoring and recommending talented young women scientists for positions, conferences or committees. Female principal investigators must be an example within their own groups by recruiting female scientists when possible and promoting them to achieve a better gender equality.
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