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Sarah Kendrew

Postdoctoral Fellow/Engineer, Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Germany
Country of birth: Belgium

Educational background: PhD Physics, MSci, Astronomy, University College London, UK

Sarah KendrewWhat are the primary responsibilities of your current job?
I spend about half my time on instrumentation projects, often very large international collaborations, where I specialize in connecting the science we want to do with a new instrument to its technical design requirements. I help make sure that the instrument will produce the data we need. The rest of my time I spend researching the lives of massive stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, particularly how they form and affect their surroundings in their youth.

What do you wish you had known when first starting out?
Think about what you want to achieve, in life as well as your work, and don't allow yourself to drift. Find senior and influential supporters who will back your ideas and write you good references-this is very important early on in your career. Being successful in science is not just a matter of being intellectually brilliant and hardworking: you need to pick the right topic,
make a name for yourself and get connected. Most importantly: remember to have fun!

Do you have advice for young women considering a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)?
If this is what you want to do - just do it. When you start becoming aware of any gender disparity, resist the temptation to think of yourself as a minority, or different in any way from your peers. Every person has strengths and weaknesses; learn what yours are and don't let yourself be reduced to a stereotype.