“I believe I have contributed to having more women studying and graduating in atmospheric sciences. The effort was worth it as I used to be the only woman on the faculty when I started.”
Dr Madeleine Renom is Director of the Institute of Meteorology of Uruguay, Permanent Representative of Uruguay with WMO and Vice-President of WMO Regional Association III (South America). She is also Associate Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and President of the Uruguay Chapter of the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World. One of her greatest achievements is contributing to having more women as students and graduates with a degree in atmospheric sciences, outnumbering their male counterparts today.
At the end of her secondary studies in engineering, Dr Renom was keen on pursuing a career that would not only involve applied physics but also would be dynamic and challenging. She was fascinated by the possibility of a Bachelor in Meteorological Sciences, a brand new study programme that no one had completed yet. Her vocation was stronger than the barriers along the way, as was the pleasure of her accomplishments. She later obtained a PhD in Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
According to Dr Renom, one of her main challenges was to explain to her friends and family that being a meteorologist is not just knowing whether it will rain or not; it is a much more complex profession. Her conviction and passion for what she does helped her overcome the challenges as well as her continued desire to learn, transmit knowledge, and demonstrate the importance of the meteorological profession .
Key to success
The key to success for Dr Renom was hard work and always fighting for her dreams. Her professional and academic experience has taught her valuable lessons, especially at the time when “hard” sciences, such as mathematics and physics, were predominantly male domains. Today these life lessons keep resonating with her.
Advice to young female scientists
“Keep going, regardless of the pitfalls that may arise along the way. It is a fascinating career which gives you the opportunity to understand a small part of the amazing nature and convey this knowledge to society. On the other hand, beware of the incessant challenges!”