Jessica Ramirez

PhD Candidate
Rush University
AWIS member since 2022

“It’s not how you start that’s important, it’s how you finish.”

Jessica Ramirez

What is your favorite word?


How do you define it?

Resilience means being able to cope with challenges and obstacles, all while staying determined to persevere and while learning from those experiences.

How has this word influenced or inspired your career?

This word reminds me that no path is smooth or straight; there will be bumps, and there will be sharp turns, but one must be persistent to reach their goals.

What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?

I’ve come to understand that not all forms of leadership are inherently the most effective or appropriate for the given situation. At times, you may find it necessary to undertake an unexpected leadership role, whether it involves establishing a new mode or actively seeking leadership help from elsewhere.

What do you consider to be your most important career achievement or milestone?

My most important career milestone has been gaining admission to a PhD program. Without this opportunity, advancement in my desired career field after graduation would be limited.

What do you aspire to accomplish in your career, and why? What obstacles will you likely have to overcome?

Over the course of my career, my aspiration is to evolve into a great mentor and leader. I’m driven by the [combined] ambitions of establishing my own company and of helping others advance in STEM fields.

Describe an amazing opportunity in your STEM career.

Applying for and receiving the AWIS Distinguished Doctoral Research Scholarship has been an amazing opportunity in my STEM career thus far. It has provided me with an expanded platform to showcase my research and the importance of it.

How was AWIS helped you professionally and/or personally?

Becoming a member of AWIS has given me a new community to connect with on a professional level and on a personal level, particularly in the summer mentor/mentee program. It’s great to have such an empowering group of individuals [around you], who want to see you succeed and who are there for any challenges along the way.

How does AWIS impact your career journey?

AWIS has allowed me to broaden my network and my research. They have great resources, including scholarships you can apply for, the virtual career fair, many different speakers who touch on a variety of topics, and the career center to help guide you in your career journey.

What are you currently reading or listening to?

I am in a book club with a group of friends, and currently, we are reading Atomic Habits. The book gives insights on how to break bad habits and how to create/build on good habits, and it even brings in a scientific aspect related to habits in general. I also love podcasts like “Giggly Squad,” which gives me a good laugh.

What do you consider the best professional or personal advice you’ve ever received?

“It’s not how you start that’s important, it’s how you finish.”

Jessica Ramirez earned a BS in biology from Loyola University Chicago and afterward worked as a lab technician at Rush University Medical Center for five years. During that period, she obtained an MS in molecular medicine at Drexel University, focusing on lung cancer research at Rush. In 2020, she started her PhD at Rush University, researching aging and ovarian cancer in Dr. Animesh Barua’s lab, with the goal of identifying factors, or biomarkers, to enhance early ovarian cancer detection methods.