Claudia Valdés - 2018 SPIE Women in Optics Planner
Advanced Imaging Specialist
Country of Birth: Colombia
Since I was a child I loved to read books about science. I found them amazing and I wanted to be part of that world. Now I support other scientists to decide which systems are appropriate to fulfill their research needs or specialized applications. I love the fact that I can share my knowledge on optics with people from many different fields in which light is used and in return I learn new things every day.
The biggest challenge I have faced has been to balance my career with my personal life. When I decided to pursue and finish my PhD abroad, my family (husband and kids) and I were apart. There were times in which I wanted to give up, but I stayed focused on my objective because I wanted to achieve it, and my family gave me all their support.
Starting out in this field, I wish someone had told me to be more self-confident and to trust in my work. And that is what I would advise. If you like science, go for it. Trust yourself, and follow your dreams. Be determined. Be aware that women are not less intelligent or less skilled; we are capable of important contributions: our way of thinking gives a different feel and flavor to science.