Angélica Jaramillo knew she had an interest in and knack for chemistry—which she studied at the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia, but wasn’t quite sure how she wanted to apply it in her career. “I thought it better to first learn the basics of the science and then find the application I wanted,” she says.
She landed in the pharmaceutical industry, and learned analytical techniques with which to do quality control for four years. Then she joined the International Center for Tropical Agriculture to support HarvestPlus as a research assistant quantifying vitamins and minerals. “This helps researchers determine which varieties contain high levels of micronutrients,” she explains. “I’ve also participated in the evaluation of different analytical techniques that allow the quantification of nutrients and antinutrients.”
Inspired by this work, she’s now pursuing a Master’s in Biological Sciences, specializing in plant biotechnology. “For me, working on biofortification is supremely motivating, it feels good when you know that with your work you can help thousands of people. You don’t work to make anyone rich — you work to create happiness.”
“Science is not just a career, it's a lifestyle, it's the way your head is structured to take on the different challenges in life,” she says. “Science is exciting, it gives you the opportunity to see problems as challenges and also has a number of applications that cater to all tastes and needs.”
Her advice? “Do what you’re passionate about, what moves your heart — that way you will spend a lot of your life on something that makes you happy.”