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MS Student Receives Funding to Pursue Her Research Goals

Headshots of student

September 14, 2020

In July 2020, Isabel De Ramos, an incoming Master of Science (MS) in Epidemiology student at the Dornsife School of Public Health, was selected by Sallie Mae to receive $25K to help fund her future research goals. De Ramos was among four other students who were selected for this prestigious award.

A Philadelphia native who recently graduated from Villanova University, De Ramos looks forward to continuing her education in her city at Dornsife. “I wanted to stick to my roots and be reminded of where I come from — Philadelphia,” said De Ramos.

Furthermore, she was intrigued by Dornsife’s master’s programs because they align students with a faculty mentor that has similar research interests and connects students to local practice opportunities. “Working alongside faculty is an unparalleled opportunity. Also, Dornsife's deep roots with public health research in Philadelphia communities guided me to choose the School as my new home.”

De Ramos will use this award to conduct epidemiological research on HIV/AIDS in Philadelphia in low income neighborhoods. She recognizes the many challenges Philadelphia faces in the fight to end the HIV epidemic and the stigma surrounding it. In her research, she plans to address the social determinants of health — poverty, barriers to healthcare, lack of education, stigma, and racism — and how they result in HIV/AIDS disparities. “I hope to shed light on how these factors deeply impact health,” she said.

In addition to her research goals, De Ramos hopes to serve as an example for young girls of color interested in STEM. “Having the confidence to pursue a career in STEM can be difficult,” she said. “In the STEM field, women are underrepresented.”

According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, less than 30 percent of researchers worldwide are women.

“I hope when they see me, they'll think to themselves, ‘Wow, if this woman who looks like me can do it, then I can too’,” said De Ramos.

Learn more about Dornsife Scholarships and Fellowships