What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Jessica Molina and I am from Cuban descent, born in Miami, Florida.

What degree are you pursuing?

I am pursing a 4-year degree in biomedical engineering on a pre-med track.

Why did you decide to study biomedical engineering?

I decided to study biomedical engineering my senior year of high school. I wasn’t really introduced into engineering until my father had encouraged me look into BME as I was applying for college, and I am so happy he did. BME was the perfect mix of my too favorite classes, science and math. I fell in love with my major before I had even started, and I couldn’t wait to graduate and start learning more.

What’s it like being a woman in engineering? Do you feel that your gender gives you a different perspective and/or experience from your male colleagues?

Coming from an all-girl Catholic high school, I never really felt this discrimination towards women in any particular field, especially not in STEM.

What is the most challenging part about being an engineer?

The most challenging part about being an engineer has to be juggling classes, experience (whether its research or internships), and STEM outreach into one person. It can prove to be difficult sometimes, but that’s definitely were most of the fun comes from.

Are you a part of any clubs or organizations at FIU? Carried any leadership roles?

I am a STEM Outreach Coordinator for the student BMES chapter here at FIU. I’ve had the incredible opportunity of being able to organize and lead for a group of FIU BME students to go on a mission trip to Peru. I have also taken on the title of secretary for another student lead chapter, the biomedical engineering honor society (AEMB). I love having the opportunity to represent not only my major, but my school in any way that I can.

Do you have any female mentors or role models that you look up to?

I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing woman in my life, each one helping me become the woman I am today. The first woman in my life who inspired me was mom. She has been my #1 fan since the beginning, and I can always count on her for anything. Coming into college I also met some pretty inspirational women who I look up to. These women include FIU alumni Daniela Medina, as well as a current BME graduate student Sana Nasim. Both of these women truly inspire me not just with their remarkable knowledge, but with their overall personality and outlook on life. I know I can come to these girls for anything and they will be there.

Which part about your BME experience are you most proud of and/or excited for? (Can be as a student or career)

My proudest moment as a BME so far has to be being a researcher in the Cardiovascular Matrix Remodeling Lab at FIU. I have been able to learn so much under Dr. Hutcheson as well as from my amazing lab mentors and peers (the CMRL Crew). Last semester I had the most exciting opportunity in being able to represent my lab and present my research in an oral presentation at the National BMES conference in Atlanta and I can’t wait to do it again.

What inspires you?

Working as a dance teacher in my life-long studio, I am constantly surrounded by little girls who I know look up to me. I always try to inspire them even at their usually small age to be themselves no matter what. I hope to help build this strong character within each of them, so the when they grow up, they are ready for anything life may throw at them. I can’t wait to see them all grow up and live their best life, knowing that I had if even a little part in making that happen.

Do you have any advice for women in BME?

My advice for women in BME would be to always keep a positive attitude. People may discourage you to living up to your potential, but the truth is that only you know who you are and what you can handle, so everyone else’s opinion is irrelevant. JUST KEEP SMILING!