Mariya Lyubenova holds a doctorate in astronomy from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet after pursuing 3 years of research at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Munich, Germany. In her work she observes and uses the motions and chemical properties of stars in galaxies as fossil records to unravel the build-up and evolution of galaxies. Well before she started her university studies in her home country Bulgaria, she was already an active astronomy club member and editor of an astronomy magazine and a newspaper. After the completion of her PhD in 2009, Mariya took a leading role in publishing the book “An Expanded View of the Universe — Science with the European Extremely Large Telescope” where the key science cases for the ELT are summarised. Next, she worked for several years at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, in parallel as a researcher and an equal opportunity officer. In addition, she became a parent of a daughter who (at her current stage of research) is equally passionate about the fossil record of past times, but with emphasis on dinosaurs and all the like. Then, Mariya spent 3 years as a researcher at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. In May 2017 Mariya moved back to ESO, this time as a member of the astronomers’ faculty. There she spends half of her time on research and the other half on supporting the Education and Public Outreach Department with her scientific expertise.