Ph.D. Researcher Ann Ramirez Named 2024 Rising Graduate Scholar

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Ann Ramirez, a Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) Ph.D. candidate and Clark Doctoral Fellow, was named a 2024 Rising Graduate Scholar by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. Announced in a May 14th press release, only 10 graduate students are selected for this honor based on their continued exceptional scholarship and their trajectory toward a promising future in academia and beyond.

Ramirez's research, conducted in the BIOE Mucosal Associated Immune System Engineering and Lymphatics Lab headed by Assistant Professor Katharina Maisel, focuses on developing a nanoparticle-based tool to study the biophysical properties of lymph nodes (LNs). For this work, Ramirez collaborated with a team at the University of Virginia to understand and apply their approach in LN study, which significantly influenced her thesis work.

"I am honored to be named a Rising Graduate Scholars. For someone who struggles with feeling ‘not good enough’, it feels great to be recognized for the hard work I've put into my degree and community," Ramirez says. "I am so thankful to have had great mentors thus far who push me to become the best scientist that I can be."

Diversity is a significant value for Ramirez, both personally and professionally. "Diversity to me is embracing the differences we have with other people and using it to educate ourselves and apply it to our personal and professional lives," Ramirez explains. "Unfortunately, I still don't see many Filipino women in my field, but I hope that I can be an example for those who may look like me and inspire young Filipinos to pursue a Ph.D. in science."

Looking ahead, Ramirez aims to leverage this recognition to mentor students and foster a supportive community within the scientific field.

"I still don't see many Filipino women in my field, but I hope that I can be an example for those who may look like me and inspire young Filipinos to pursue a Ph.D. in science."

Ann Ramirez, Ph.D. Candidate

“Getting a Ph.D. and working in science can be isolating sometimes, and I hope I can use this platform to serve as someone's support system. I would also love to get to know the other awardees and hear their insights about moving forward in their career while also being a proponent of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Acknowledging her own limitations, Ramirez strives to contribute to underrepresented communities by ensuring she is well-informed before discussing any topic. She aims to provide others with the same opportunities she enjoyed growing up and in her current life, and she intends to continue this effort as she moves forward.

“While I still serve as a minority in my field, I am so aware that I grew up in a place of privilege. I know plenty of people have had to endure so much more than me and are still extremely successful in their fields. I think being cognizant of where I came from and the privilege that came with it has allowed me to be even more aware of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

As a Ph.D. student, Ramirez has been determined to grow as a leader to prepare herself as a guiding figure for other students. She has contributed to outreach initiatives in New Jersey schools, aiming to increase participation in science and research among individuals from underrepresented communities.

Now preparing for her Ph.D. defense, and driven by a passion for scientific inquiry and community impact and preparing for her Ph.D. defense, Ramirez aims to lead her own research team in the future. She seeks to carve out her niche and contribute meaningfully to the scientific community.

Published May 31, 2024