Jessica Perez

San Antonio, TX, US
Field of Work 
STEM Education
 
Biological Engineering
Company 
College Board
Job Title or "Student" 
Director of Strategy
Education 
Northwestern University
Degree 
Chemical and biological engineering
Education Level 
PhD
Profile Biography 
I was born and raised in San Antonio, TX. Growing up, I was always interested in science. I went to every after school science program I could find. This passion for science and engineering brought me to MIT for undergraduate school. I majored in Biological Engineering because I was fascinated with how life worked and how we could use that knowledge to improve human health.

At MIT I was inspired by a researcher named Eric Lander who leads the Human Genome Project, an initiative to sequence (read) the entire genome (all the DNA) of humans. Dr. Lander explained that knowing the sequence of the human genome, we could start identifying links between mutations in the genome and disease states found in humans. This theme of learning about biology in order to impact human health was a huge driver of my life.

As an undergraduate I did research in a genetics lab to better understand cancer and make a contribution towards the field. This experience showed me that I wanted to continue doing scientific research full time. I loved the idea of uncovering new knowledge and sharing that knowledge with others.

I then moved to Chicago, IL for graduate school at Northwestern University, majoring in chemical and biological engineering. There I joined an amazing lab where I researched how to engineer bacteria to produce novel protein therapeutics. At the same time I began engaging in science outreach more and more. In particular, I partnered with high school teachers to bring engineering concepts and inquiry-based lesson plans into their classroom. Here I found that my true passion laid in teaching and sharing science with others.

Now I work in the engineering/technology education space. Previously working for the University of Illinois as education program manager. Now I work in strategy and consulting at the College Board (makers of the SAT and AP exams). My hobbies include any sort of craft, painting, home organization, pottery, and Netflix!
Interests 
Working outdoors, Computing, Travel, Other
Race & Ethnicity 
Hispanic or Latino
Level of Participation 
After-school visit, Field trip participation, Online role model, Summer camp visit
My Experience 
I am a new Role Model.
Availability 
Evenings, Weekends
Resources 
Career exploration activities, Fun demonstrations or materials, Hands-on activities for students, Online Mentoring (email or Skype)
Program Affiliation 
None
Other Interests 
arts & crafts, home organization, board games

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