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March 8 is International Women’s Day, a global day to celebrate the achievements of women everywhere, raise awareness about continued discrimination based on gender, and take action to promote gender parity. The Galapagos Initiative is home to incredible female leaders and scientists; since the Galapagos Science Center (GSC) was founded in 2011, over 50 women have led research across more than 74 research projectsToday, we celebrate International Women’s Day with Stella De La Torre, a professor of biology at USFQ and chair of the GSC Advisory Board.

Headshot of Stella De La Torre, speaking into a microphone

Through her position at USFQ, Stella researches the feeding ecology of both native and introduced land snails in the highlands of San Cristobal Island. Galapagos land snails, one of the species she studies, are both a highly diverse and an endangered group of animals in the archipelago, so her research aims to inform conservation methods for these endemic creatures. 

Stella is also the chair of the GSC Advisory Board, a group of researchers from both USFQ and UNC, that advises the jointly operated GSC. 

“It is a privilege for me to be part of the board,” Stella said. “Having the opportunity to share ideas with such a committed group of outstanding scientists, as my colleagues on the board, is invaluable.”

Stella sees International Women’s Day as “a call to continue working for a world of respect, inclusion, and equal opportunities for all.” 

She also offers this advice to young women in the sciences: “Be perseverant and confident, but humble. Take time to listen to the experience and advice of others, but be skeptical. Always use your critical and ethical thinking to test both new ideas and established knowledge.”

By Andy Little ‘24

Read our full International Women’s Day story here.

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