CSU Fresno President: Nicole Phillips

By: Jessica Martin, SDSU Chapter Member


Meet Nicole Phillips, the President and Founder of our Fresno State University Chapter. Nicole just completed her third year at FSU and is majoring in Biology with minors in Women’s Studies and Chemistry. After completing her degree, she aspires to become a physician and then return to the California central valley and serve underserved populations.


When Nicole first started at Fresno State as a woman in STEM, she was discouraged. It was difficult to obtain guidance, find opportunities, and make friends. However, as her sophomore year was coming to an end, she realized that many other female STEM students felt the same way. So, Nicole decided to start a WSS Chapter to ensure that women had a better chance of being exposed to opportunities within the sciences. By starting the WSS- FSU Chapter, she gave her peers a voice. She gave the women in science in her campus a space to recognize that they are not alone, and a community in which they can support one another during their pursuit of academic success.


In her second semester as president, Nicole and her Executive Board were able to put together an amazing panel featuring four female doctors who discussed their path to medicine and the challenges and hardships they had experienced as female scientists. When Nicole realized the level of excitement and passion present in those who attended the panel, she realized how badly Fresno State University had needed WSS. To Nicole, WSS means opportunity. When women in science support each other and build each other up, everyone can accomplish their goals and dreams. 


Although Nicole has accomplished so much within WSS, she has also accomplished incredible things outside of the organization. In addition to her role in WSS, she is also the Vice President of the Pre-Medical Club, Secretary of Operation Smile, and a member of the Health Careers Opportunity Program. Off-campus, she spends her time volunteering in the Surgical Center at Kaiser Permanente and waitressing. 


In addition to all of her involvements, Nicole also manages to find time to spend doing research. She completes clinical research through UCSF Fresno at Community Regional Medical Center in the Emergency Department. The program that she is in has allowed her to develop her own research project which focuses on the different ways that men and women experience symptoms of cardiovascular disease. By identifying these differences, she can work to help healthcare professionals identify female cardiovascular disease and take proper preventative measures. WSS has had a direct impact on Nicole’s research, as it encouraged her to delve into differing responses of men and women to disease and to stand up for the fact that women belong in science. 


When asked what her advice to other women in STEM was, Nicole said to go after what you are interested in and never let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough. Additionally, she noted that failure is a stepping stone in the path to success, so don’t be intimidated or afraid of it!


Nicole is truly a woman in STEM who is not afraid to show the world how much she is capable of. Because of her hard work and dedication, she has created a new community at Fresno State University, a legacy that will extend beyond her time there. We are so excited to watch Nicole continue to succeed and her WSS Chapter grow and flourish!