Lab Manager at Stanford Genome Center
My name is Lucia Ramirez. I grew up in Mexico City. I came to the USA because I fell in love with an American. After few years of dating, we decided to get married in 1989.
I graduated with a BS degree in Biology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Since I decided to study Biology, my dream job was to be able to do research in Genetics and Molecular Biology. I was fascinated with the Human Genome Project.
San Francisco became home for me and I worked hard to build a life here. Nobody knew me, so I had to build my identity and my reputation by finding opportunities to show people that I could do quality work and contribute with my knowledge, ingenuity, and hard work.
My first job was as a laboratory assistant at the University of California San Francisco. The job in general was to support the researchers by preparing solutions, maintaining lab inventories, purchasing lab supplies, and organizing the lab. I’m very organized and I ended up efficiently performing my main lab task making free time to learn some molecular biology techniques.
I was so happy to have the opportunity to be part of a research team. After working for seven months, I was notified that my lab was moving to Stanford University when my Principal Investigator, Dr. Richard Myers, accepted a faculty position at Stanford University.
Luckily, Dr. Myers offered me to be part of his team at Stanford with a promotion. I could not refuse this offer because I needed to further my skills in molecular biology. I worked hard to learn the protocols by studying books from the library. I wanted to understand the protocol in depth so my work would be consistent. I worked for five years on Huntington’s Disease followed by 10 years on the Human Genome Project mapping human Chromosome 4. I feel honored to be part of such a historic event and I am always grateful to those people that gave me the opportunities without judging me because the color or my skin or because I came from a third world country.
In 2011 I joined the Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine under the direction of Dr Michael Snyder. My job for seven years was to support the Stanford research community by providing next generation DNA sequencing service. Currently, I’m a supervisor of Dr. Michael Snyder’s lab at the Stanford University. I provide support to approximately 30 researchers in the lab. My focus is working with the postdocs in the lab to help them with their projects.
I do not think I would have the same opportunities if I came now and it definitely would be harder to pursue my scientific dream. The immigration sentiment is unreasonable and I just feel that all these anti-immigrant feelings are making people of this country forget that their ancestors were once upon a time immigrants, too.
I became naturalized citizen as soon as I had the opportunity because I came to this country to be part, not only of the work force, but also of the society. The way to participate in my country now is by voting for those candidates that can make my country respectful of human dignity and stop feeling anger that the new immigrants are coming to look for the opportunities that their grandparents or great grandparents had.
America is a country that gave me the opportunities that I could not have in Mexico, but I have given back to America my contribution as immigrant. Immigration is part of human being history, so instead of fighting it, embrace it by helping to find a solution.
Global warming is here and people forget that maybe one day in the future they could become a refugee feeing to South America, Who knows?
I think we need to be more compassionate, respectful, and understanding of migrants trying to make a better life for their families as our grandparents or great grandparents did. The only natives of the Americas are the Native Americans, everyone else is an immigrant.