Parenting in Myrmecology

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Manuela Ramalho is Brazilian, and she did her PhD at the Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp) in Rio Claro-SP with Odair Correa Bueno. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher with Corrie Moreau at Cornell University. Her research focuses on the processes and mechanisms that drive the diversity of symbiosis in ants. Besides being a postdoctoral fellow, she is also a caring mother. In this view, she shares her story of becoming a mom and invites all myrmecologists to participate in a survey on parenting as a myrmecologist.

A View by Manuela Ramalho

Corrie Moreau, Manu Ramalho, and Odair Correa Bueno (© Manu Ramalho)

I’m Manuela Ramalho, and I am from Brazil. Currently, I am a PostDoc fellow with Corrie Moreau. My story is not so different from many other scientists who have children. I found out I was pregnant with my daughter two days after I finished my PhD (coinciding with the end of my fellowship!), but also with the offer to do postdoctoral studies outside Brazil! And that’s where my story becomes different from most other stories… I was lucky to receive support from my two supervisors, Odair Correa Bueno and Corrie S. Moreau: My partner and I decided to have our daughter in Brazil, close to our families, Corrie thankfully held the postdoctoral offer for over a year, and Odair got me a fellowship that helped me during the period of my pregnancy. I was lucky! But unfortunately, this is not the reality for many parents in science.

Manu and her baby (© Manu Ramalho)

But there are other parents in science, for example, Pamela Decio at Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp), Flavia Esteves at California Academy of Sciences, and Emilia Z. de Albuquerque at Smithsonian Institution. We are all from Brazil and they are fantastic mothers in science, too. Together, we came up with the idea for this survey. We want to generate data that can provide subsidies to make our research area (myrmecology) more inclusive. So that we maybe don’t have to rely on luck anymore.

This survey titled “Parenting in Myrmecology” aims to evaluate the impacts of the arrival of children, specifically on our careers, where field trips are often needed. From this data, we can think of measures that can be more inclusive to parents and soon-to-be parents.

We are thus asking all myrmecologists (people of all genders, with and without children) to participate in the research survey. The myrmecologists without children will serve as a control group in our study.

Of course, the survey is completely anonymous, and the data generated will be published in the form of a scientific paper.

Here is the link for the survey:

We would greatly appreciate your help with our survey.

All the best,


(© Manu Ramalho)
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