Jaqueline Goes wants to create projects to encourage women in science
Bahian biomedical woman faced difficulties to conquer her space as a black woman who does science
In this year’s April carnival, the Bahian biomedical Jaqueline Goes was honored in the Beija-Flor samba school parade, from Rio de Janeiro. The plot “Fastening the Thought is Listening to the Voice” celebrated the intellectual contribution of black artists, writers and scientists.
Biomedical gained the spotlight when she coordinated the team of scientists from the IMT (Institute of Tropical Medicine) at USP (University of São Paulo) that sequenced the genome of SARS-CoV-2 in record time: 24 hours after confirmation of the first case of the disease in Brazil. After that, Jacqueline got her own version of the Barbie dollamassed thousands of followers on social media and was elected one of the 20 successful women in Brazil by Forbes in 2022.
Trajectory and representativeness
Even without many financial resources, Jaqueline’s parents invested in her education and encouraged her to study. “They invested in private schools, understanding that this path would help us change our lives. I was always a good student, and my mother was very demanding.”
It was because of her mother that she discovered the health area. “She was a nursing technician and I used to go to the hospital with her, I saw people in white coats and I thought that was the best profession in the world”.
But she didn’t see herself there. Until he went to college, he didn’t know he could be a scientist. This position was reserved for the stereotype of the white, middle-aged man, which she avoided.
Jaqueline faced the lack of representation and discredit and found himself in biomedicine. He did scientific initiation, master’s, doctorate and today develops research at postdoctoral level.
Biomedical attributes part of this success to its mentor, immunologist and teacher Ester Sabino, head of the mostly female team that sequenced the virus. “She not only encourages me, she makes room for me to shine.” It was Ester who encouraged Jaqueline to give interviews and talk about the feat. “If it had been anyone else, particularly a male, the sequencing would have been accounted for for her, as head of the research group.”
Mapping viruses was already part of Jaqueline’s daily life. Before the pandemic, she had already studied Zika and dengue and published world-renowned articles. But despite all these achievements, and even the sequencing that made her name famous, she still marvels at tributes and often questions this success. “Do I deserve it? Does this really make sense? This question always arises, I am the ultimate proof of imposter syndrome.”
For more women in science
Jaqueline entered the world of science with one goal: to be a researcher with relevant publications. The objective was completed, but, today, she already projects other goals. “Today I think of much bigger things that have never crossed my mind and that are related to communication and contact with the public.”
In an interview for a television channel, the American actress Viola Davis was asked about the importance of representativeness. she replied that you must see a physical manifestation of your dreams. “You need to know that your dream is possible. All dreams are possible. What separates the dream from reality is the path of opportunity”.
Jaqueline’s new big goal is to use the place of reference in science that fell into her lap to create this opportunity and encourage the careers of girls and women in science. “Having a voice that is heard puts you in a position of power,” she says. She wants to use this voice to create projects and paths for women, especially in social vulnerability, to develop their talents. “I like to play to the universe that one day I will meet Lewis Hamilton, and I will only need two minutes to explain everything and ask for funding for this project.”