News | Meet Dr Cericia Martinez

January 1st, 2021

Image: Dr Cericia Martinez

A passionate researcher and enthusiastic science communicator, Cericia shares her career journey to date, her hopes for the future and a small fun fact!


Why did you choose a career in science?

I grew up in a rural town in Colorado similar to the size and remoteness of Margaret River in WA. When it was too cold to go outside, I would spend evenings watching sci-fi shows that inspired my dreams and aspirations. Watching them alongside my high-school classes of physics, calculus, and java instilled in me the view that there was so much to know and learn about the world, and I also wanted to make a difference somehow. This led me to pursue higher education at a science and engineering school.

What path did you take to become a Postdoctoral Researcher?

Generally, I’ve followed my intuition and gone with what’s felt right. Every decision I’ve made that has led me to where I am now has carried with it both a sense of fear and excitement, starting with attending university at the Colorado School of Mines. At the time, I had not planned to do a PhD and did not appreciate what a research career entailed. I simply wanted to learn about the laws and theories that govern the natural environment and our interactions with it. Looking back, the sense of fear and excitement that marks all the milestones on my path has been fuelled by my innate curiosity and desire to pursue and further my knowledge. When something seems a bit scary or challenging, I know I’m on the right path and that I’ll soon be learning something new!

Tell us about a highlight of your research experience.

The great thing about being a postdoc in CSIRO is the freedom to use my expertise to explore topics that are traditionally outside of my immediate area of specialisation; topics that are of interest to me and related to social and global issues. Throughout my postdoctoral experience, I’ve worked on two projects that examine the complex relationship between fossil fuel extraction and the environment. These have been particularly enlightening as they have shown me the importance of truly transdisciplinary scientific investigation. Research projects that involve underlying consequential thinking, seem more necessary now than ever if we are to find ways to adapt to or mitigate future national and global challenges.

What is your dream career goal to achieve?

My career goal is to have the greatest positive impact I can through my science. I think a career in research, much like I have now, has always been my dream because it allows me to learn and contribute to new ways of thinking. I’m very interested in how science informs policy and the cascading implications of this interplay. Perhaps that’s where I hope to be in the distant future, in a position where I am able to facilitate and foster more science engagement with policymakers and society in general.

Can you share a fun fact about yourself with us?

Since we’ve recently come out of the holiday season a fun fact would be that I leave my Christmas tree up all-year-round. The tradition started with a roommate at university, and I’ve done it ever since. I like the everyday reminder of the season’s sentiment and how I want to live my life every day – with kindness, merriment, and hope for the future.