Latin American scientists and journals are strengthening research, evaluation, publication, and communication systems to help redefine ideas of professional success that largely have been determined by the Global North.By Humberto Basilio20 March 2023PRINT
Credit: J. Henry Pereira/AGU
Graduating from a recognized university is a privilege in a world in which most don’t have the financial means to achieve this. And building a “successful” scientific career is a challenge with added economic, structural, and language barriers.
Lina Pérez-Ángel knows the journey well. Her mother was the first woman in her family to migrate from Caparrapí, a small municipality in Colombia, to the capital city of Bogotá. And although Pérez-Ángel and her siblings were born and raised in the city, she remembers traveling to her mother’s hometown—a place she identifies as her home, too—throughout her childhood. That rootedness in Caparrapí would lead to her interest in researching the paleoclimate of Colombia’s Eastern Cordillera.
“I didn’t grow up in that world of science and curiosity,” said Pérez-Ángel, who originally wanted to become a chef but started her academic career studying engineering because her mother told her to. (She later found her real passion in the geosciences.)
As an undergraduate at Bogotá’s Universidad de Los Andes, Pérez-Ángel began to notice a pattern among the readings required for classes: No matter what subject she was studying, European and North American surnames dominated the literature. Much of the university’s faculty also came from outside Colombia. Even among the Colombian professors, the most recognized had pursued their graduate degrees outside the country.