My name is Meenaxi Saini and I am from India. Currently, I am a Sparkle recipient thanks to the cofounding from Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme (EU) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

I always enjoyed science when I was in school but at that time I didn’t think about becoming a scientist. I can’t remember any specific inspiration that made me want to be a scientist, it kind of happened quite naturally and I ended up following the subjects that I enjoyed at school (mainly Biology and Chemistry).

Now that I am a researcher, the thing that inspires me to continue being one is that fact, through my work, I can add to our knowledge of the world we live in and hopefully make some sort of difference, no matter how small it is.

In India, other than prominent academic institutes, the research journey for a student starts after obtaining a master degree. Being a student from a small city, it was difficult for me to get the opportunity to enter premier institute until I had completed my master degree. However, in my academic journey I did quite well. I qualified the National Eligibility Test (NET) and utilized this fellowship for pursuing my Ph.D.

My advice would be to understand yourself before you choose a career – what do you enjoy doing the most and what are the things you are good at doing. See if you can identify a pattern that covers both these. Then see which career fits these criteria.

Sparkle has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 847652 and from Science Foundation Ireland.