We have dedicated a COVID-19 Campaign of Hope section for our #WomenInAgScience community to share their personal experiences due to COVID-19. The purpose of these profiles are to connect and support each other during these uncertain times. The WAGS team is inviting all women (including trans women and non-binary individuals) in Ag Science to make their stories be heard. Submit your experience here.

Dr. Marina Fortes, DVM/PhD

Senior Lecturer and Advance Research Fellow

Dr. Marina Fortes is a senior lecturer and research group leader of Livestock Genomics in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Dr. Fortes describes the impact of being quarantined on her daily activities and position as one that was difficult at first because she had to learn how to transition from teaching face-to-face into video-calls while also teaching her 6 year-old at home. She says “I only survived because I have a proactive husband – who was also working from home and taking turns to look after our daughter and the house.” 

According to Dr. Fortes, life in Queensland has been moving back to normal but delivering lectures online is still considered the “new normal”. She indicates that something she had learned during these uncertain times is saying no to tasks that are less important and prioritize her time. Furthermore, when she returns to her workplace, she wants to allow herself and others to work more from home when it is possible. She has found that many of her group members are more productive but she will still keep an eye out if anyone is not motivated and try to ignite their passion for science again when needed. For Dr. Fortes, one of the most valuable lessons that she has learned from being quarantined is mastering how to make sourdough bread and appreciate her backyard like never before. She also mentions that she stays in touch with her family through phone-calls, WhatsApp and Facebook and is looking forward to travel to Brazil to see her parents and family once the pandemic has cleared. 

As a woman in science, she has found that her experiences have been affected during quarantine by having many people ask what her opinion is about COVID-19. Her father even told her that as a scientist, she should be working on COVID-19 research and that she had to explain by saying “..cattle geneticists do not become a virologist overnight”. In summary, Dr. Fortes has now found a new mantra that she wished to share with women in ag science and future generations as a result of being in this pandemic “..Less than perfect is good enough because sometimes getting things done is more important than perfectionism”.

 Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Twitter: @marinarsfortes