By: Jessica Martin, SDSU Chapter Member
Meet Jessica Octavio, an SDSU Chapter Member and Member Spotlight nominee for the month of October! Jessica is a second year student majoring in Microbiology with an emphasis in Clinical Laboratory Science and a minor in Chemistry who is hoping to pursue a career in the medical device and pharmaceutical industry.
In her first two years, Jessica has taken SDSU by storm. When she joined WSS her freshman year, she felt as though she was surrounded by amazing leaders and was inspired to take action and get involved on campus. Her inspiration and hard work have paid off, as she has already held multiple positions both in and outside of WSS.
Last year, she served as a WSS Diversity Advocate and worked to build a community among underrepresented groups within the organization as well as to increase awareness of the lack of diversity within the sciences. This semester, Jessica is doing amazing work in the WSS- SDSU Chapter’s Mental Health and Professional Development Advocacy Groups, helping the Chapter Leadership Team develop new events for members. Outside of WSS, Jessica is an active member in the Public Health Initiative (PHI), an organization that is dedicated to preventing, promoting and protecting the working poor communities in Ensenada, Mexico, holding the position of Fundraising Coordinator last semester and Social Media Chair this semester.
Jessica is also involved in research and community service. She cited WSS as a major driving force in her involvement with the Rohwer Lab, where she worked to collect Achromobacter bacteriophage to for applications in cystic fibrosis treatment. In addition to research, she is extremely passionate about being an intern Medical Intelligence and Innovation Institute (MI3) at CHOC Children’s in Orange County, a position that offers amazing opportunities such as watching neurosurgeries, observing as doctors made cancer diagnoses, and developing her own abstract for a medical conference.
It is clear that Jessica has built an amazing resume, and when asked how she managed to balance all of her involvement with her schoolwork, she said that she feels like she “still struggle[s] with prioritizing at times, but find[s] it much easier to avoid burnout when [she] spend[s] [her] time doing things that fill [her] cup rather than empty it.” In other words, the key is finding extracurriculars that you love, even those that aren’t science related, rather than extracurriculars that you are only completing to fill a line on a resume. She also advised other young women in STEM to use negative experiences as resources to learn and grow rather than letting them “empty you out”.
Overall, WSS has been able to make a positive impact on Jessica. She says that “even though WSS has supported [her] in so many other concrete ways, it’s the positive environment and quality people that have made the biggest difference in [her] life.” Through her involvement with WSS, Jessica has learned not only to tackle adversity and be resilient, but has made strong and long lasting friendships along the way. We hope Jessica’s story inspires you to get more involved in activities that you are passionate about, and to introduce yourself to someone new at the next WSS event that you attend!