Network of Women in Marine Science

Inspiring Women in Ocean Science: Rima Beesoo

Dr. Rima Beesoo is a young marine scientist from Mauritius island who has an immense passion and love for the ocean. As a global scientist, her work spans across several oceans in the world, offering valuable insights on the chemical ecology of various marine organisms. She obtained her doctorate in marine biochemistry at the University of Mauritius, after which she won several accolades notably the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowship to carry her postdoctoral research at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), University of Oldenburg and the University of Cambridge. She has worked on diverse projects related to the biochemistry of toxic microalgae, marine sponges and jellyfish. She has recently been shortlisted for a prestigious IsBLUE fellowship to continue her research at LEMAR in Brittany, France.

  1.     Tell us, what led you to pursue a career in marine/ocean science?

Growing up on the beautiful island of Mauritius, I developed an intimate connection with the ocean at a very young age. At school, I was also very passionate about anything related to medical research and therefore I thought getting to know the best of both worlds would be awesome. This in particular has grounded me deeply as I have moved through life, and yes, this has certainly shaped how I pursue science and what I work on. This passion drove me to contribute to a fascinating project centered on marine sponge derived bioactive agents for my Bachelor thesis at the University of Mauritius. Immersing myself in the marine environment and uncovering its mysteries was truly extraordinary. From that point forward, I was determined to pursue a career as a marine biochemist.

 

 

 

  1.     As a marine/ocean professional, what three critical lessons have you learned? Share your insights and experience with others who aspire to become experts in this field.

So far, I have learned several critical lessons that I believe are essential to share to the younger generations who aspire to become marine scientist. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is the importance of resilience and adaptability. Whether it is navigating complex research projects, constant look-out for research grants or even moving from one country to another for my research, being able to adapt quickly and bounce back from setbacks have proven to be fruitful for my research career. This helped me to develop a flexible mindset, honing problem-solving skills, and maintaining a positive attitude even in difficult situations. Embracing resilience has not only helped me to overcome obstacles but also allowed me to thrive in a dynamic field. Building a strong network of colleagues, mentors, and collaborators is invaluable. Networking with researchers around the world allowed me to exchange ideas, share experiences, and access opportunities for career advancement and professional growth. Additionally, seeking out mentorship from professionals provided me with invaluable guidance, advice, and support as I navigated my career path. Last but not least, I have learned the importance of breaking barriers despite obstacles. Oftentimes, I had to deal with unhealthy competition from other scientists working in similar research area. Receiving nasty comments on my research work made me doubt my research capabilities. But looking back now, these experiences made me wiser, more confident and a fighting spirit to achieve my goals. It is crucial to believe in yourself, your abilities, and your passion. Don’t let stereotypes or societal expectations hold you back. Instead, embrace your uniqueness and let your passion drive you forward. Remember that diversity and inclusion enrich the field and bring fresh perspectives to solving marine/ocean challenges.

 

  1. In celebration of International Women’s Day theme “Invest in Women, accelerate progress”, what progress do you envision for women in the Western Indian Ocean region?

According to me, significant efforts should be directed towards achieving parity in leadership positions for women across diverse sectors, for example in politics, business, academia, and research. Progress in these areas will definitely foster broader inclusivity, empower women to realize their capabilities fully, and foster equity in societies. Additionally, it is extremely important to recognize and address the intersecting forms of discrimination that women face based on factors such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomic status. Ensuring that inclusion efforts are mindful of the diverse experiences and needs of all women.