Rossella Bortolaso: “Scientific and technical careers are mainly associated with men…This has changed and is changing”
We spoke to Rossella Bortolaso, Area Manager for Plant Protection and Biocontrol at Landlab
To mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which takes place on February 11 , we asked her about the role of women and girls in science and how the situation has changed over the years. These were her answers.
1.- Can you briefly describe the line of work you are involved in at your company?
I am the Area Manager for Plant Protection and Biocontrol at Landlab. Landlab is an agricultural research centre which works on plants’ physiological and morphological responses to environmental challenges and products (biostimulants, fertilisers, plant protection products) using cutting-edge technologies for phenotyping. We are also involved in breeding new varieties and in projects aimed at making farming “greener”.
2.- How would you encourage women and girls to pursue a career in science and why do you think girls don’t choose scientific and technical degrees?
Historically, and also in today’s society, scientific and technical careers are mainly associated with men. In some particular areas, this influences women’s mentality, through society and also through family. This has changed and is changing, though, especially in the case of life sciences.
3.- How has the nature of your profession changed since you were a student?
I have a Master’s degree in Biotechnology, so I can say that I have managed to pursue my interests in biological sciences by working here at Landlab. I have been able to exploit all my knowledge, acquire much more, and grow both professionally and personally.
4.- Do you take part in any educational or social activities that encourage girls to choose STEM careers?
No! However, I try to be an example to my daughter. I want her to know that she can be whoever she wants to be in life, and she mustn’t give up because people or society tell her she can’t be that person! I don’t know what she wants to do when she grows up. She is still very young at the moment!
5.- Have you come across any hurdles in your professional career because you are a woman?
Luckily, I haven’t. I have always been able to grow in my professional environment.
6.- Do you think that the female vision adds value to science?
I believe that a more ‘balanced’ environment can benefit all fields of knowledge, not just science!
- I am the Area Manager for Plant Protection and Biocontrol at Landlab. I am involved in the planning and organisation of trials from discussing projects with clients and partners through to data analysis and the submission of reports. I am also involved in key company decisions, such as Landlab’s organisation and future growth.
- I am an agricultural specialist, with a Master’s degree in Biotechnology which means I can use my knowledge to thoroughly analyse plant physiology. My main tasks are talking to clients about their needs and putting together work proposals; planning and organizing trials (field trials, and trials in controlled environments); planning and organising staff; setting up trials and assessment management; statistical analysis of collected data, writing reports, using my knowledge and skills in the pathogen proliferation field, performing image-based phenotyping using specific software, and secondary metabolism molecular analysis in plants. I am proficient in the use of specific laboratory tools such as spectrophotometers, refractometers, pH meters, conductivity meters, microscopes, phytotrons and lux meters.