As a young teenager, Ana Catarina Avila held a deep interest in nature and astronomy, despite having limited knowledge of science. A math teacher recognized her potential and dedicated his free time to tutoring her, eventually leading to her achievement as a national math olympiad medalist in Brazil. This initial encouragement spurred her to actively seek new learning opportunities.
Fortunate to discover the Louis Cruls Astronomy Club under the guidance of Dr. Marcelo Souza, Ana Catarina attended her first international scientific conference, the International Meeting of Astronomy and Astronautics in Rio de Janeiro. Marcelo generously facilitated visits to esteemed research institutes such as the VLT in Chile and NASA JPL in California, nurturing her passion for space and the environment.
With Marcelo's steadfast support, Ana Catarina pursued a scientific career, specializing as a quantitative ecologist. Her focus shifted towards utilizing satellite data to study forest dynamics in the Latin American tropics. She remains deeply passionate about applying cutting-edge remote sensing technology to strategize large-scale conservation efforts and address the urgent climate crisis.