Katherine Andrews
October 4, 2023 --

Academic Journey: Fatema Matin


With the start of a new school year underway, we got to reminiscing about our own experiences as students, researchers, and faculty. This sparked the idea for a new series where we spoke with a variety of people in ReadCube and Digital Science who have backgrounds in academia to explore their experiences, their career path so far, and their hopes for the future of research and science. We hope you enjoy, and perhaps experience a spark of inspiration.

What is your name, where are you from, and what did you study?

My name is Fatema Matin. I was born in Mumbai, India and I grew up in Toronto, Canada. I did my high school years in the Middle East (Muscat, Oman and Dubai, UAE). After graduating high school, I enrolled in a Bachelor of Science degree at York University and continued on to a Masters in Biotechnology at University of Toronto.

What do you do now? What has your career path looked like?

My career path has been dynamic. I’ve worked in research, regulatory affairs, sales, business development, marketing and project management. I started as an academic researcher in the battle against HIV/AIDS and then switched gears doing an internship with local startups at an entrepreneurial incubator. I then transitioned into big pharma for regulatory affairs followed by the cosmetics industry as an experimenter (R&D) and quality compliance associate. Finally, I ended up in my current role at Readcube Papers selling a SaaS solution to help scientists/researchers manage their references and make their research life a little bit easier and more connected.

Did you expect to end up where you are now when you were a student?

Not really. I suppose I expected I would become a doctor which was in part due to cultural pressures and in part due to my love of science and wanting to help heal people. But today I’m happy where I am – times have changed so much with technological innovation so it is exciting to be a part of the IT industry and the AI revolution.

What do you wish you knew when you were a student?

Transitioning from full time study to full time work, I wish I knew or was taught more about soft skills. For example, how to work well in teams and how to best use the strengths of various team members when in a leadership role. In addition, the importance of organisation in work and life is critical as you juggle multiple priorities and timelines. Lastly, staying up to date with the latest news both in the world and networking with the best minds within your area of expertise is key to achieving success.

What are you most excited about for the future of science or research in general?

I am excited about AI assistants who can save time for a student by providing relevant and specific information/data at their fingertips. I am passionate about home-based education for school deprived areas via internet learning. Finally, I am excited to begin to see the effects of going paper-free (i.e. moving away from paperback to digital textbooks) for environmental protection.

Do you have advice you would like to share with the Papers community? If so, please drop a comment below.

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