March is Women’s History Month, a time when women who have challenged—and continue to challenge—traditional roles are celebrated. In part two of our series, we introduce you to APS member Sabrina Ramelli, a PhD student at the University of South Alabama. (Read part one here.)
What is your title/role?
I’m a PhD candidate at the University of South Alabama and a member of the Center for Lung Biology in the College of Medicine.
What’s your area of research?
My area of research is in lung biology, specifically asthma. I am looking for potential targets for hard-to-treat and steroid-resistant asthma.
How did you become interested in science? Were there women scientists who influenced you/you admired?
I have been interested in science for as long as I can remember. I never really had a woman scientist that I looked up to as a child, but I admired both my anatomy and chemistry teachers who were women. Being a student in their classes really solidified that just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean that I can’t do science. In fact, they were proof that women belong in the science world.
What do you like most about your job?
It’s very difficult to pinpoint one thing I like the most. I love the project that I am working on, and I really love the Center for Lung Biology program I am a part of. Although the program is demanding, I am a better scientist for it.
What is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge right now is determining what I want to do next [in my career]. There are so many options, it is hard to pick.
What do you see as the main barriers to having more women in STEM?
As a former high school teacher, [I think] the biggest barrier to having women in STEM is [the women] themselves. Many girls don’t want to be labeled the “science nerd” and, therefore, stop following their passion. Breaking down that stigma is only the beginning. After high school, women hear sexist statements and phrases like “women don’t belong in science” or “good old boys’ club.” We need to stand up and not allow this behavior to begin at a young age.