Carla Maldonado was born in 1977, in La Paz-Bolivia. Between 1994 to 2001 she studied at the University Major of San Andrés where she received a bachelor of biology degree. From 2001 she started working as assistant at the Bolivian National Herbarium (LPB) within the project “Floristic Inventory of the National Park Madidi”, but one year later she became a senior scientist at the same project and had the opportunity to visit and work at the Missouri Botanical Garden. At the same time, she has been engaged in teaching activities at the Major University of San Andres as a temporary professor.
She then undertook postgraduate studies, and in 2006, thanks to a grant from DANIDA and the BEISA project, she received a Master of Science degree at the Aarhus University in Demark, where she lived for two years.
In 2007, when she returned to Bolivia, she worked in several institutions as a botany expert gaining experience and contributing to the society with her knowledge. During this time she was still engaged in teaching activities at the University but with temporary contracts.
In 2011, and after too much effort, Carla has got a titular position as a Professor at the Major University of San Andrés and at the date, she is part of the permanent researcher staff at the Bolivian National Herbarium, where in 2012 she got the sub-direction position.
In 2013, she was awarded with a PhD position at the University of Copenhagen. She was hired through an open call with almost 50 international applicants. The decision at that moment to follow her studies in a foreign country, having already a family with a one-year-old daughter was very difficult. But her husband's support, who has always encouraged her to follow her dreams, helped her to take the decision to start a new phase of her life studying and living in Denmark with her family. She believes that to go outside of comfort zone is good sometimes, because the risks may be worth the rewards. And she did it. Today, being mother for a second time of a little boy 7 months old, she is soon to finish her PhD, and throughout her project she has impressed with her drive, commitment, knowledge, leadership, and great sense for interdisciplinary and international collaboration.
Carla Maldonado is a determined botanist who wrote many scientific articles and papers in several prestigious journals. Her first article within her PhD, “Estimating species diversity and distribution in the era of Big Data: to what extent can we trust public databases?” (DOI: 10.1111/geb.12326) has been published in the Journal Global Ecology and Biogeography in May 2015. This work is already being widely read and cited and has been flagged in the top 5% of all articles published in this journal. This publication testifies to her high standards and ability to produce results.
Carla is an highly committed Bolivian scientist and is certain to contribute significantly to the science into the future and she will become a great role model for women in Science, in Bolivia and beyond.