Dr. Sheresta Saini is Senior Editor of Environmental Sciences at Springer. Dr. Saini's background and formal academic training have exposed her to a wide range of environmental problems including coastal pollution, shoreline erosion, and impacts of coastal habitat loss and alteration on species. Her PhD dissertation research examined swash zone processes on an estuarine foreshore and how these processes entrained and transported biogenic (horseshoe crab eggs) and terrigenous sediment. I started working at Springer Nature as soon as she graduated. She now manages a portfolio of journals in the areas of climate change, sustainability, paleontology, geography, and environmental science.
Did you have a role model that influenced your decision to work in STEM - either inside or outside your field?
My brilliant master’s thesis advisor, Dr. Lakshmi Raghupathy who was the Director of the Ministry of Environment & Forests in Delhi, India showed me the way to become a scientist during the first major research project I ever worked on. My outstanding PhD advisor, Dr. Nancy Jackson, at New Jersey Institute of Technology continues to be a role model to me. She spent invaluable moments with me in the lab, field, and classroom and the skills I’ve learned under her mentorship I know I will put to use for the rest of my career. She advised me to stay persistent and always pushed me to reach my full potential as a researcher, writer, and editor.
What have you seen as changes that have happened among women in STEM?
I’ve met and worked with many women that have found new and unique ways to apply the knowledge gained over their career outside academia. For those who don’t end up in academia, there are many exciting opportunities to pursue. Ph.D. programs are mostly structured with the academic career path in mind but women in STEM are now charting their own paths to success as scientific writers, consultants, publishers and policy makers.
What is one change that, in your opinion, would hugely benefit aspiring women scientists?
Acknowledge that imposter syndrome is a normal part of the job. You’re going to meet some brilliant scientists at different stages in their career that have made remarkable achievements in their field, and it’s probably going to lead to feelings of self-doubt. Remind yourself that succeeding will involve several failures along the way (just like it did for them) and this is what makes the process so rewarding. Keep learning, lean on your support system and own your successes!