COO and SDSU Chapter President
By: Jessica Martin, SDSU Chapter Member
Meet Julia DePillo, a third-year student at San Diego State University majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Microbiology. She isn’t entirely sure what the future holds for her but is considering the pre-med route to become a doctor.
Julia joined WSS as a freshman in Fall 2017 because she was drawn to the idea of a community that catered to women in STEM majors. Although she was too nervous to go to the first general body meeting, she mustered the courage to attend the second meeting of the semester and has been a fierce advocate of the organization ever since. As soon as Julia was a member, she knew she wanted to help make an impact on the organization. She applied for every leadership position that was open until she landed her first position on the Leadership Team and has been methodically making her way up the chain and now serves as the President of the San Diego State University Chapter. As she has been making an impact on the SDSU Chapter Members, Julia has also been making a bigger impact nation-wide. In Fall 2018, she started working at the National level as an Executive Assistant, and now holds the position of Chief Operations Officer.
When Julia first entered the WSS Leadership Team at San Diego State University as a Scheduling Coordinator, she was able to become more familiar with WSS as an organization. As she started to become more involved within both her own Chapter and Nationals, Julia fell more and more in love with the organization itself. When the time came to elect a new Executive Board, she ran for Vice President. This position coupled nicely with her project at the National level at the time of doing outreach to high schools to promote careers in STEM. Recently, Julia ran for President of the SDSU Chapter and is now leading them towards success. Through her dedication and involvement, the WSS Leadership Team has been highly impactful on her not only in terms of personal growth but also by providing life-long friends.
While Julia was busy making strides at the Chapter level at San Diego State, she also had her eyes on a bigger prize. As Chief Operations Officer, she gets to communicate with all of the Chapters, attend and speak at Board of Directors meetings, help start new Chapters and work alongside the other interns. However, a lot of her job is simply bouncing ideas back and forth with our CEO, Holly Norman, to come up with new concepts for the company or find creative solutions to any problems that may arise. Julia has really enjoyed her time interning at the National level because there is a lot of freedom - if she comes up with a new idea she knows that she can almost always work towards bringing it to life. It is a great position to do things that you are passionate about!
For Julia, WSS is an organization that has provided friendships, confidence, and opportunities throughout her collegiate career. It was a place that let her truly discover who she was. As an out of state student from New Jersey, Julia was 2,500 miles from home when she moved to San Diego and WSS provided a community that made her feel empowered and safe even in the face of bad roommates and homesickness. It provided a new home in a new city, and her love for the organization is clear through all of the hard work she has put in for its success over the years.
Although Julia spends a lot of time working on WSS, she still has time to dedicate to other extracurriculars such as working in a research lab on campus. She studies a bacteriophage known as crAssphage, and not surprisingly, was also inspired by interests and experience of fellow WSS members. Her biggest piece of advice to other girls pursuing STEM is to not be afraid of asking for what you want. She found that once she got over her fears of being a burden to others, opportunities started popping up right and left, creating an environment to thrive in.
There is no doubt that Julia holds a large amount of passion and love for everything WSS, and we are extremely thankful for everything that she has done for the organization. However, contributing to WSS does not have to look like this! It can be as simple as spending one term in a leadership position at your local Chapter, sending in a blog post to the Nationals blog or filling a role as an intern. Don’t be afraid to get involved and promote an organization or cause that you believe in, it is never too early or too late to start putting yourself out there!