The exciting life of a determined young researcher/mother

Ok so this is my first blog and I felt the need to write it because there is so much happening for me at the moment. I love my job. I am a marine ecologist; more specifically I try to understand the causes and consequences of the critical declines in albatross populations in French and UK sub-Antarctic territories.  I am currently a post-doc at the British Antarctic Survey and got 1 year left on my NERC grant. I have made a lot of personal sacrifices to get there including being away from my partner for 5 years and moving cities 6 times in 6 years. I now live in Cambridge in the UK and I love it although it is quite different from my hometown in Marseille in Southern France where all my family and friends still are. My partner took a step back on his career as a biotechnology engineer to allow me to keep my passion by coming to live here together. And last year we decided against all reasonable professional odds to have a baby! So it happened, and this little monster is going to turn 1 very soon now. I took a 10 month maternity leave which for a workaholic like me was a bit tough given both the facts that I missed using my brain and knew time was flying because competition is intense in academia… but I am very proud I could breastfeed him until he was 11 month and really watch him change and learn. It also gave me the opportunity to really think about the meaning of life and happiness, and the difficulties women are facing to balance a solid family life with a flourishing career. Coming back to work was so exciting and productive as my ideas were very mature waiting all this time, it also allowed my partner to be a dad at home and he loves the fact of being in charge. But as if the work burden was not enough I decided to apply to a fantastic project: Homeward Bound (… and I got in! Homeward Bound is a global networking of women in science aiming at elevating the role of women in leadership positions. We are 78 from 7 different countries and are already working together on projects targeting the issues of gender equality, for education purposes but also to investigate the role of women in conduction high-profile science and in influencing environmental policy. The initiative will culminate on a trip to Antarctica in December 2016 departing from Ushuaia to set our ideas together and receive a state-of-the-art leadership, innovation and strategy training with a bunch of amazing women. A documentary crew will follow us all the way. So yes, that’s it, I am just back from the 2nd World Seabird Conference in Cape Town where I presented my work in front of 400 folks and now I need to start raising money for half the cost of my position in Homeward Bound… will you help me?

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