Ariadna Blanca Romero, Data Scientist/ML Engineer at NatWest explain what inspired her to pursue a career as a physicist, and what encouraged her away from academia.
I am originally from Mexico, but I have lived in Germany and the UK. I am a Data Scientist/ML Engineer at NatWest and hold a PhD in Physics in the field of computational material science. The most challenging part as a postdoctoral researcher is to find a permanent position on the academic ladder. Therefore, I started a side project with a colleague who later founded a small start-up: Neuron Technology. I worked outside my comfort zone, left academia without a salary. We created a community aided building management system to improve building efficiency for reducing carbon footprints. That is when I knew that I wanted to work as Data Scientist, so I participated in Science to Data Science (S2Ds) Bootcamp, to gain some industry experience. That is how I left academia without leaving behind my identity as a scientist.
I am passionate about creating tools for automation that take advantage of the reproducibility of results from models and optimize the process to ensure prompt decision-making to deliver the best customer experience.
I decided to be a Physicist at the age of four because my parents gave me an astronomy book for kids, helped me observe the Moon and Saturn with a telescope and also let me experience the longest total solar eclipse of 1991. All this made me curious to understand how things worked.
My inspiration in life is the kind of people who rebel to defeat the stereotypes and propel others to drive. But I can't deny that with time, my inspiration is all the hidden women in STEM, art, and history that people do not talk about, but my inner kid would have liked to know. It is unlikely you become to be what you cannot see, but luckily, I could.
As time goes on, I realised my family's impact on my personality, determination, and resilience. My parents were an atypical couple of their time, with just the one child despite the social pressure and they operated as a team. My mom is an independent woman with a strong sense of duty for her work in education. My dad never hesitated on doing work usually performed by women. They always split the bills to support our household. I was told from a young age that education needed to be my only inheritance, that I should strive in life for things I want. Therefore, from an early age, I was determined to explore the world in the quest of my academic aspirations, so I did earn a few scholarships to accomplish my goals. I became an independent woman at 22 to pursue my PhD. My parents never stopped me from being a curious scientist.
I volunteer as a STEM virtual mentor for a non-profit organization helping the professional development of Latin-American students and young professionals, particularly for empowering women. I have a passion for practicing yoga, cooking, and playing my electric guitar.