Dr. Monica Gonzalez Ramirez
Postdoctoral Scholar, Pharmacology
University of California, San Diego
AWIS member since 2021
“As I advance my career, I aspire to establish a community-based STEM program where students of all ages can learn scientific principles, engage in hands-on activities, receive mentoring, and foster a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment.”
What do you consider to be your most important career achievement or milestone?
My doctoral degree! In 2004 I became the first person in my family to go to college. I envisioned myself as a scientist with a PhD degree and was determined to achieve this regardless of educational, cultural, and personal challenges.
What challenges did you overcome to accomplish this?
I learned to be creative and resourceful in order to overcome fear, financial need, professional and personal setbacks, and rejection.
What do you aspire to accomplish in your career and why?
As I advance my career, I aspire to establish a community-based STEM program where students of all ages can learn scientific principles, engage in hands-on activities, receive mentoring, and foster a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment. This program’s overarching goal will be to increase the number of underrepresented students in STEM, recruit and retain students, and diversify the field of science. The idea is to introduce elementary and high school students to contemporary scientists, and undergraduate and graduate students, and help them discover their curiosity for science along with resources to help them get into college and complete a STEM degree.
Describe an amazing opportunity in your STEM career.
Teaching and mentoring! I am fortunate to interact daily with students and witness their personal and professional growth and success.
What challenge have you encountered throughout your career and how did you address it?
Imposter syndrome! I need to remind myself that I am capable, worthy, and equipped to handle difficult situations. I also have a wonderful support system of family, friends, and colleagues who I turn to when needing moral support.
What are you currently reading or listening to?
A Promised Land by Barack Obama.
What do you consider the best professional or personal advice you’ve ever received?
Advocate for yourself.
Dr. Monica Gonzalez Ramirez is a San Diego Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego in the Pharmacology Department of the School of Medicine. Her mentored research in Dr. JoAnn Trejo’s laboratory is in GPCR signaling in endothelial inflammatory signaling. She is an experienced biomedical researcher with an academic publishing record and is passionate about science outreach projects. Her professional development as a scientist and mentor started in graduate school when she had the opportunity to work with students from diverse backgrounds and ages while driving forward her research in cell death. Her experience as a first-generation Mexican American woman in science fuels her passion for science education and outreach, diversity, inclusivity, and equity.
This interview was originally published in AWIS Magazine.