Joining the iGEM competition
Hola! My name is Natalia (although I’ve been always called Nat, until I faced the amazing Dutch language). I’m a 23-year-old Spanish girl who is in love with sports and the sun.
I did my biotechnology Bachelor in Valencia (Spain). Even though I liked it very much, I was still curious about how much I could still learn about myself. Hence I decided to go for The Netherlands. The truth is that this is my third year in the Netherlands already. I did my Erasmus exchange 3 years ago and after that, I had to return to Spain to finish my Bachelor studies. I learned so much in the Netherlands both academically and personally. The number of opportunities I took and left was so high that I did not have any option other than returning to Wageningen.
Yes, it rains a lot and it is cold a lot as well. Still, there isn’t any other place in which I have ever found better conversations, better opportunities, or more cultures than in Wageningen. There is no way of describing Wageningen, since it is not about Wageningen itself. It is about what makes the village yours. Each year, this place has been different to me. Wageningen changed, but I also changed thanks to it.
I learned so much in the Netherlands both academically and personally.
The main reason I returned to Wageningen to do my (not only one but two) masters was the amount of knowledge I want to gather within my scientific carrier. Hence, I started both the Biotechnology and Molecular Life Science masters. Moreover, together with my fellow master students I decided to start a special project as part of the Wageningen iGEM team.
The opportunity of joining iGEM has come to me as one of those amazing sunny days in Wageningen when you can’t say no to a beer outside. Diagnostics and synthetic biology are my favourite fields in biotech. Exploring these fields as much as possible is my goal here. iGEM has given me the chance to practice all the knowledge I’ve gathered in science so far. I never felt comfortable just being behind a microscope. The multidisciplinary side of iGEM has given me what I was missing in my scientific carrier.
Of course, iGEM requires each minute of your working hours, but this also means each minute you will be learning something new. During this amazing experience, I have learned about synthetic biology. However, I also learned about graphic design, organization, sponsoring, presentation and communication.
It allowed me to compete in the project at the same time as doing my 36 ECTS thesis.
The best thing is that iGEM gave me the chance to do the most original, unique and exciting thesis I could have ever imagine. It allowed me to compete in the project at the same time as doing my 36 ECTS thesis. Up to this point, I dare to say, iGEM has offered me the most valuable knowledge I have in synthetic biology. Not only in scientific skills. I’ve acquired a different point of view on the applicability of Biotechnology. I’ve learned how important proper communication between stakeholders is to translate fundamental science into applied biotechnology.
I have learned to work in a project with a group of 9 amazing friends. We were a real company starting from scratch and fighting for the future of our device. I’m happy I met the amazing people in my group. Even though I haven’t seen my most beloved Spanish sun this summer, I’ve enjoyed spending the hours with my group mates in the lab.
I’m so excited of having the chance to go to Boston this November. There we will present our project at the MIT. I am happy to represent the university that has given me the chance to take part in biotechnology.