Iris Baten was recently featured in the magazine Heroínas en la Ciencia promoted by SENACYT (Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología) in Guatemala.
I am an indigenous woman from a Maya Mam community. I was born in Cabricán, Quetzaltenango, a town full of natural beauty but poor. My family migrated to Guatemala City to find opportunities when I was seven years old. I have always considered myself a curious child who wanted to know the origin of things I observed around me.
Life in the city was very different from that in my town, so I had to overcome various challenges. One of them was to learn the Spanish language to be able to speak with my classmates at my new school.
I received a scholarship from the Maya Educational Foundation MEF/FEPMaya, with which I was able to study and become a chemical engineer, being the only indigenous woman in this career. Of the 35 students in the first promotion of this degree, I was the first to graduate from the Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Science of the Mariano Gálvez University.
In my professional development I had the opportunity to work on projects focused on combining modern sciences and ancestral sciences. I am currently a member of several organizations, including the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) Guatemala chapter.