More women should apply: Dr Jaclyn Pearson reflects on Premier's Award

19 February

University of Melbourne researcher Dr Jaclyn Pearson was awarded the prestigious Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research (PAHMR) in 2014 for her groundbreaking work into how diarrhoea-causing bacteria hides from the immune system. She was selected from a field of highly talented, young, up-and-coming Victorian health and medical researchers. The Premier’s Award recognises achievement, celebrates creativity and acknowledges excellence across all fields of health or medical research.

We asked Dr Pearson to reflect on her PAHMR and explore how it is has contributed to her research journey.

Her main message: "I strongly encourage more women to apply for such fantastic and prestigious awards like the PAHMR!"

The Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research is a generous prize and a brilliant opportunity for early career researchers in Victoria.

As the 2014 recipient of this award I feel so excited each year I see the announcement of the award because I think about the amazing opportunities it is going to give to the next determined and upcoming scientist/clinician. As a young researcher and also a woman, trying to produce the highest quality science possible, improve my track record, gain esteem among my colleagues, have opportunities to network and collaborate overseas and importantly, trying to gain independence are so important for me in developing a solid, stable and successful career.

Winning the PAHMR gave me the opportunity to realise these ambitions, effective immediately. The prestige that comes with such an award can be flattering and it is something that you should take a hold of and run with. I took myself to labs and conferences overseas and presented my research to some of the world’s leading researchers in my field. I am now collaborating with a number of these people and I was offered jobs in world class research institutes!

I felt so proud to be among a small group of female recipients of the PAHMR, it was refreshing and made me feel excited and positive about recognition of the achievements of women in science. There are so many talented and ambitious women in research, I see them everyday; students, lab heads, clinicians, mentors, and advocates. I also feel very fortunate to be a part of the veski network that promotes the careers and wellbeing of women in science so very well.

I now try to tell myself that nothing is too big, or too hard for me to achieve, I persist and believe in myself and my science and I strongly encourage more women to apply for such fantastic and prestigious awards like the PAHMR!

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