August 24, 2018

Women’s Equality Week Q&A with Vanessa Escobar 

Posted by Timia Crisp

For the entire week, we are celebrating prominent female figures in science and science policy to recognize Women’s Equality Day on 26 August.

Today, we are delighted to talk with Vanessa M. EscobarEscobar is NASA Flight Applied Science Program Executive at Booz Allen Hamilton/NASA HeadquartersEscobar received her M.S. in Geology and Water Policy from Arizona State University and is a Ph.D. student in Geography at the University of Maryland.

Who or what has inspired you to pursue your research? Wanting to see impact in our world and make a difference in how we address science.

What is an obstacle you have had to overcome to get to your current position? Being a woman in science is no joke!  Communication and speaking across different disciplines/cultures is something we as women do well and we should embrace this as a valuable skill.  Our nature to nurture topics and conversations builds bridges.

Did you have any important mentors in your career, and how did they impact you? Yes.  The road has been enabled by amazing people who saw things in me that I didn’t realize in the beginning.  They challenged me, they put me in tough positions that help me realize my dream, and they let me fail so I could succeed.

What should be the future priorities for scientific research in the U.S.?  Collaboration and awareness of what is useful and effective.  We need to go back to talking to each other.  Human interaction is critical.  Technology is great, but we need to humanize our engagements, technology and our decisions.

How can the U.S. ensure that it continues to play a leading role in scientific discovery?  Be aware and sensitive to the human impacts of our decisions.

What discovery do you hope is made in your lifetime?  Science is a process of user and developer and iteration.  Society is important to science as science is to society.  I am working towards a more unified approach where conversations fuel discovery, and we stop working in vacuums.