Let’s welcome César A. Urbina-Blanco (He/him) to our family! César is a chemist originally from Venezuela working at Ghent University in Belgium!
What kind of scientist are you?
I’m a chemist at Ghent University and I study ways to convert carbon dioxide into useful chemicals such as fuels or precursors for polymers. I’m also a mentor for the Venezuelan Association of Chemistry Olympiads.
What made you want to become a scientist?
I have always been fascinated by the fact that everything is made or chemicals so l wanted to learn and understand them.
“I believe science is for everyone and that you can explain it with everyday examples!”César A. Urbina-Blanco
What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
I’m the first member of my family to finish a PhD, I’m latino, I’m an immigrant, and I had a gastric bypass. I believe science is for everyone and that you can explain it with everyday examples!
What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I love to cook and bake. I’m always inventing new bread and cake recipes. I love music, I used to play viola in a semi-professional orchestra and now I’m learning to play the ukulele (mostly just to play covers of Taylor Swift songs). I love drawing and painting, as well as visiting museums.
If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
The prejudice against minorities in science. Science is for everyone, not just for an elite group. We can all help change this, check your own biases and actively work to overcome them. Also, whenever you see someone being discriminated for any reason, SAY SOMETHING! Especially if you are in a position of power. Understand that otherwise your silence makes you an accomplice and saying that “it isn’t your job or place to say something” is not a valid excuse.
“Science is for everyone, not just for an elite group.”César A. Urbina-Blanco
Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
My mom, Valentina, she is the smartest person I know. She was a brilliant scientist who had to change careers to take care of her family. She know uses her love for science to inspire new generations of scientists as a chemistry teacher.
Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
I’m really excited that I was chosen as the chair of the 1st @CAPTURE conference, an interactive conference that celebrates all the initiatives on sustainability happening in Ghent.