What is your name and where are you from?

Jessica Zatarain, born and raised in Miami, FL

What degree are you pursuing?

BS in Biomedical Engineering

Why did you decide to study biomedical engineering?

When I first started college, I had the dream of becoming a journalist. Ever since high school I had my mind set that my future was to become a news anchor for a local Miami news station. However, after taking a trip to Washington, DC and attending all these different conferences that focused on journalism something just didn’t feel right. As a journalism major, I was required to take an introduction level biology course. Then, it just clicked. The feeling I was missing in majoring in journalism was found in the field of STEM. Now, as a senior majoring in biomedical engineering I finally feel that I am where I am supposed to be.

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?

It is always a proud moment for me every time I walk into the double doors of the Engineering Center. I believe majoring in engineering, or any STEM field, and being a woman, is an honor. As women, we are breaking the mold each day we walk into the Engineering Center or on stage receiving the diploma we are the walking proof that women are made to become engineers.

What is the most challenging part about being an engineer?

I believe the most challenging part of engineering is believing in yourself that you CAN do this. With all the abundance of homework and challenging courses, the thought of “you can’t do this” never fails to come to mind when the stress comes rolling in. However, during these times, you have to remember why you majored in engineering in the first place. When you believe in yourself, anything you put your mind to is achievable.

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

Sana Nasim!!!!!!!! She is such an inspiration to me. No matter the challenges that come her way, she ALWAYS accomplishes them with a smile. Not only does she always strive for the best in everything she does, she is always looking out for the best interest in others. It was such an honor and privilege to have her as a mentor for research and as a TA. Keep being you Sana, you are an amazing person inside and out. Thank you for believing in me and always encouraging me to always strive for the best and nothing less.

Which part about your BME experience are you most proud of and/or excited for? 

One of my most proudest moments will have to be presenting in Undergraduate Research day last semester at FIU. Having the opportunity to share my knowledge about gene expression and ion channels to my colleagues was such an amazing experience. This was the moment that I realized that I am where I am supposed to be.  Being involved in research with a few of my colleagues, Sana Nasim, and Dr. Tsoukias was an experience in itself that I will never forget.

Do you have any advice for women in BME?

Majoring in biomedical engineering is not easy, but you always have to remember one thing: You were born to become an biomedical engineer and NEVER let anyone tell you otherwise.