Spotlight on STEM - An interview with Laura

Laura is a senior regulatory toxicologist who we placed with one of our Key clients in the specialty chemical sector. She is a passionate individual and we're glad we had the pleasure of working with her. As a woman working in a largely male-oriented sector we wanted to gain insight from her to share with our network

Short Bio:

Laura Puente Valle – I enjoy reading fiction and current affairs novels, trying new vegetable recipes, working out almost every day, and planning annual visits to other places to learn about diverse cultures.

Despite having more scientific interests, after finishing my degree in environmental science, I went on to get a Master's degree in health and safety management. There was a major crisis in Spain, and it was challenging to find a suitable job in this industry. But after four years, I decided to pursue my ambition and leave my work to study for a master's degree in environmental toxicology. I am presently employed at Sun Chemical as a Regulatory Toxicology Specialist, where I do toxicity assessments of pigments and their impurities, among other duties.


  • What did you study to get to your chosen career? How did it help you get to where you are today?

I studied environmental sciences, and years later I decided to specialise in Toxicology. Both are incredibly versatile vocations, and environmental science, in my opinion, allows you to grow in a multi-skilled manner. My initial toxicology position was in environmental toxicology, but I've been able to adapt to numerous sectors of Regulatory Toxicology that aren't connected to the environment, such as the pharmaceutical or chemistry industry.

  • Why did you choose your STEM field? Do you have a mentor or inspired by a particular person?

Since I was a little girl, I was fascinated by science, I had books and watched cartoon about medicine or biology, even one of my favourite toys was a microscope! I guess my parents were a big influence on me, they are also science lovers. Additionally, my first supervisor, a woman and a great professional, has motivated me throughout my professional career. Having a manager that believes in you is the strongest source of motivation to help you improve.

  • What is your favourite thing about your current job and what do you find the most challenging?

Toxicology, as any other scientific discipline, is always developing. One of the biggest challenges is to be continuously adjusting to new breakthroughs and at the same time, one of the things I enjoy the most. I like learning and use my creativity to get to the answer. My greatest satisfaction is to feel that my work has an impact on improving the protection of human health and the environment.

  • What message would you give to younger females considering a career in STEM?

My advise to women interested in STEM fields is to not be afraid of social rejection because it is deemed male or because it is too difficult. The reality is that you, like every other young man, can do it. Talent has no gender.

  • In your opinion, which changes, if any, are needed in the scientific system to be more attractive to women in science and possible future scientists?

Role models are critical in helping us become whatever we desire to be. Because you can't imagine what you can't see. Women's achievements in these sectors are largely overlooked. That is why it is critical that we take the time to emphasize the names of women whose

names are not included in the books, as well as their historical contributions to the young girls around us. It will serve as incentive for them to do great things in the future.

  • What’s next for you?

I recently joined a new firm where I hope to advance professionally, and I am learning a lot from my leaders and coworkers! I am thrilled to be working in a profession that I am enthusiastic about; it is the most essential thing to me and has always defined my career.