Natalie Sanchez holds large microphone in forestUniversity of Windsor postdoctoral researcher Natalie Sanchez was chosen as Costa Rica’s nominee for the Young Scientist Research Award: Women for Science. Photo by Milena Salazar.

Biology postdoctoral researcher selected as Costa Rica’s nominee for international science prize

University of Windsor postdoctoral researcher Natalie Sanchez has been nominated for the Young Scientist Research Award: Women for Science due to her outstanding achievements in science. Dr. Sanchez was chosen by Costa Rica’s top scientific agency, Academia Nacional de Ciencias, as the Costa Rican nominee for this award from the Inter-American Network of Academies of Sciences.

“It is a tremendous achievement for Natalie to be nominated to represent the entire country of Costa Rica in this international competition,” says her postdoctoral supervisor, integrative biology Professor Dan Mennill.

As a child, Sanchez developed a profound love for nature and observing the outdoors. This passion led her to pursue a PhD at the University of Alberta, which she completed in June 2022. Her interests lie in behavioural ecology and conservation, and much of her research is focused on acoustic communication in tropical birds.

Sanchez currently conducts postdoctoral research in the Department of Integrative Biology, supported by a Mitacs grant with research partners Birds Canada and Wildlife Acoustics. Her research focuses on birds that migrate between Canada and Costa Rica, and acoustic strategies for studying their ecology and behaviour.

“Representing Costa Rica is an extraordinary honor for me,” Sanchez said. “I was very surprised when I received the nomination email. Being chosen among other young women scientists from across the Americas in science-related fields is deeply meaningful. I am also proud to represent the University of Windsor, along with the Canadian and American organizations that have been fundamental in supporting my research.”

Sanchez’ research shines a light on the tropical dry forests of Costa Rica, one of earth’s most endangered ecosystems.

“I cherish the privilege of representing the Área de Conservación Guanacaste in Costa Rica, where I study birds and their habitats,” she said. “It is a truly rewarding endeavour to contribute to the preservation and understanding of dry forest species and their unique and important ecosystem.”

The finalist for the Young Scientist Researcher Award: Women in Science, among each of the participating countries’ nominees, will be announced on July 25.