Getting to Know Our NWiS Leadership: Gabriela Rodríguez

Get to know the scientists that keep MPFI’s NWiS organization up and running! In this four-part series we will be learning more about the team that makes our networking opportunities possible.

May 19, 2020

Gabriela Rodríguez is a co-chair for MPFI’s Network for Women in Science. She is part of a team that works to guide the goals of NWiS and ensures we have sufficient means to make a positive impact on the community.

What is your background (e.g., education, hometown, etc.)?

I graduated with a BS in Industrial Biotechnology from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (Colegio) and did a PhD at Johns Hopkins University under the mentorship of Dr. Hey-Kyoung Lee.

What is your position and lab at MPFI and in NWiS?

Post-doctoral fellow and NWiS co-chair.

What is your project or work about?

Currently, my work focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which representations and computations in the adult cortex change with learning.

Why did you want to participate in NWiS?

I started noticing discrepancies and inequalities in science while I was in grad school. Although this could have been very discouraging, I was fortunate to find a similar group at Hopkins and eventually served as a mentor to other students many of which were from disadvantaged backgrounds. I learned from those students the importance of having mentors, role models and a network to seek advice, and fall back onto when things got tough. So, I thought NWiS could fulfill this role within our institute.

Did you have a female mentor during your career? If so, how do you think this shaped your career trajectory?

Yes. I think having a female mentor was a continuous reminder that women can make it in science. My mentor’s case was particular in that she is also married to a scientist. I think this dynamic also helped me see some of the biases that exist in science and how to handle some of them.

What is your favorite thing about living in Florida?

The beach.

How do you manage your stress from work and/or maintain a work-life balance?

I do 2 things: (1) I sweat the stress by working out and (2) I reserve at least 1 hour from the weekend to do something for me (non- negotiable).