WSU scientist hopes to encourage other like-minded women

Jackie Edmonds got interested in science after senior project; possibly pursuing career in immunology

After+working+for+a+while+and+taking+a+break+from+school%2C+Edmonds+wants+to+pursue+a+doctoral+degree.

COURTESY OF JACKIE EDMONDS

After working for a while and taking a break from school, Edmonds wants to pursue a doctoral degree.

ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Evergreen reporter, columnist, copy editor

Science is something senior microbiology major Jackie Edmonds has always excelled at.

“It blows my mind that all these small things, we can’t see any of them, but we know what’s happening based on all these tests we can do,” she said. 

Edmonds is not alone in her love of science, and said representation in STEM is important, considering the field has been historically dominated by men. Feb. 11 is International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day Edmonds said helps bring awareness to various inequities within the field.

“I think women have a different mindset and a different way to think about things,” she said. “I think it’s an important perspective to have in the workplace and in science.”

Edmonds first considered a career in microbiology in high school. Her interest grew after completing her Running Start senior project on different bacteria that cause mastitis in dairy cattle. 

When Edmonds was deciding between colleges, she was torn between WSU and University of Washington. She said she was even enrolled in both schools for a few weeks before making her decision.

She ended up deciding to go to WSU because she received a scholarship. Additionally, both of her parents are alumni and her sister was attending at the time, she said. 

“I just had a lot of family connections … so I decided to come here,” she said. 

Edmonds said she is graduating this semester and plans to move to Seattle to pursue a job at a biotech company. 

She is hoping to do more with immunology and cell biology rather than microbiology, but she still thinks microbiology is an interesting field, she said. 

After working for a while and taking a break from school, Edmonds wants to pursue a doctoral degree. Edmonds said she is unsure of what career path she wants to take after getting her doctorate, but might pursue a job in immunology. 

“I think researching autoimmune disorders or working at a company that makes treatments for autoimmune disorders would be really cool … but I don’t know entirely,” she said. 

Edmonds said she enjoys being a microbiology major because she has met a lot of like-minded people who are passionate about science. 

She has friends in other STEM majors and she enjoys being able to interact with people who understand the appeal of science, she said. 

“It’s nice to have people who are nerds,” she said. 

Senior biochemistry major Haley Morris met Edmonds because they worked in the same research lab and had a cell biology class together. Morris said Edmonds is a hard worker; in class, she is always excited to learn. 

On a personal level, Morris said Edmonds is always able to lift someone’s spirits up and is a fun person to be around. 

“She’s always down for any kind of adventure,” Morris said. “If you want to go on a hike or do something fun like that, she’s always going to be excited to go.”

Morris said she can see the passion Edmonds has for science. Whenever Edmonds learns something new, she will go to Morris and tell her. 

“She always gets really excited about science,” Morris said. “She talks about it a lot.”

If young girls or women are passionate and looking to go into the STEM field, Edmonds said they should just go for it. 

“There’s been people in my life that have told me not to pursue this because I didn’t have it in me and I’ve been exceeding their expectations,” she said. “You can do anything you put your mind to, so I would say go for it and don’t let anybody get you down.”

Although some people have told Edmonds she should not go into the STEM field, Edmonds said her mom has been her biggest supporter. 

Her mom got a master’s in animal science at WSU, and Edmonds said that was part of her inspiration to pursue science and a graduate degree.

“She’s always been right there by my side, supporting me and helping me with homework,” she said.