COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Yasmine Quintana's scientific journey started back when she was just a little girl growing up in Guatemala.
"I was very curious, and I loved to ask many questions and try to understand why things were the way they were," Quintana said. "Colors, patterns, things like that."
Her curiosity would end up taking her to her country's capital, where she would earn her bachelor's degree, but after Quintana graduated, she noticed something troubling the professional world.
"I saw that at least the main positions, leadership positions were always occupied by men," Quintana said. "It was like we were there; we were working hard; we were interested, but we didn't have the chance to occupy important positions."
After earning her master's at the University of Florida, Quintana was awarded the Russell E. Train Education for Nature fellowship from the World Wildlife Foundation. The award allowed her to attend virtually any school in the world to earn her doctoral degree. Quintana is now a doctoral student at Texas A&M University; She has teamed up with international organizations to empower young women to pursue their scientific aspirations.
"If you only have a small group of people that are the same, you won't have enough background to solve problems and to advance science," Quintana said. "If you have all kinds of people involved, science will grow and advance really fast in a good direction."
Quintana has been featured in U.S. Agency for International Development inspiring Guatemalan woman series, attended workshops, and even teaches at A&M.
Her story is part of the book "Scientists who Jump into the Water," the fourth installment in the Guatemalan Women Series. It walks through Quintana's childhood and how her academic achievements allowed her to study fish and travel faraway places.