Meet the WinRs: Farners Amargant I Riera, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher at Northwestern University (Laboratory of Francesca E. Duncan)

What is your background/current position and what does it entail?

I am a postdoctoral researcher at Dr. Francesca Duncan lab (Northwestern University) working on female reproductive aging. I obtained my PhD in 2018 from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, in Spain.

What impact has being quarantined had on your daily activities and position?

This quarantine period has significantly impact my daily activities. Just before the shelter in place started I could finish my last experiments in the lab and I used this period to write and submit my paper. However, I had plan many experiments that I could not perform. In addition to affect my experimental plan, I was also supposed to attend Frontier in Reproduction course, but it was cancelled. In general, this quarantine period impacted not only my experimental plan but also my academic training.

What strategies have you adopted in order to create a new "normal" for your daily activities and position?

I found very useful all the online scientific meetings/talks. I tried to watch at least 2/3 talks per week. This kept my motivation. Also, I decided to re-organize my workspace to create a new environment and this also helped me to stay focused when I was working.

Have you gained any valuable lessons from being in quarantine?

I used this quarantine to read literature that it is not specific of my topic so I gained knowledge in research fields in which I am not familiar. Outside of science, I learned that we need to be kind to ourselves and to the people around us. This was a very difficult period, and everyone responds differently.

What expectations have you had to let go or remove from your daily activities and position?

During the quarantine I realized that having a very "packed" schedule was not a good idea because my capacity to focus on my work decreased considerably, especially the first weeks. Therefore, I started to plan my work in a more "realistic" way, so that I could complete it almost every day.

How have you stayed connected with friends and family during this time?

All my family lives in Spain, so we stay connected using skype/zoom. With my Chicago friends, we had zoom meetings on Saturday night to have dinner together and to play some games.

What will you do differently once you return to your position?

The lab will have a very different atmosphere. One thing that I will need to do differently is to plan my experiments with much more time in advance to make sure I keep all the safety rules.

What are you most excited to do once the pandemic has cleared?

One of the first things I want to do is to visit my family in Spain and spend some quality time with them.

How has being a woman in science affected your experiences and/or position during quarantine?

Luckily, I don't feel that being a woman in science affected my experience or position during this quarantine. The Northwestern Center for Reproductive Sciences is composed mainly by women and they have been very supportive.   

What words of inspiration would you like to share to other women in science and the future generation of women in science?

Dream the impossible, go out and make it happen.