A Commitment to Diversity
Our National Resource Mentoring Network-Resource Center team brings together uniquely qualified biomedical and information technology professionals with unmatched expertise and experience in developing, implementing, and testing interventions aimed at improving mentorship and networking among diverse mentees across a wide range of career stages, disciplines and venues. Collectively, our core team has decades of professional experience and engagement in interdisciplinary scholarship related to mentorship and networking. Further, we will connect and integrate our vast network of NIH-funded training programs, minority serving institutions, and other private and public organizations with experience in mentoring URM and non-URM students and professionals.
The National Research Mentoring Network builds on the foundation of trust, inclusion, and collaboration, we welcome partners from across the nation with diverse perspectives to join the NRMNetwork to establish new and improved national networking initiatives and create the capacity necessary to support diverse mentees across the nation. Ultimately, NRMNet is a sustainable network of mentors and mentees widely distributed across disciplines, geography, institutions, and cultural, racial, ethnic groups, and sexual orientation, yet tightly-knit and unified in mission and principles.
As the Associate Director, Program Management, Damaris leads the strategic efforts relating to NRMN recruitment, partnership and presence at national conferences and meetings as well as manages project goals and deliverable, fiscal/ reporting matters and day-to-day activities.
Damaris holds a master’s in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teachers College Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and Mathematics, minor in Economics from the University of Vermont. Prior to joining the National Research Mentoring Network, Damaris worked in Residence Life for 3 years and thereafter served as the Director for the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at Columbia University, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. In this role, Damaris directed diversity programs for underrepresented populations interested in STEM and health professions and directed recruitment/retention initiatives for underrepresented medical students. Damaris has been blessed with working in communities that support her passion for access, retention, and student success.
Jay Johnson is also the Principal Application Developer for Vanderbilt University’s Biomedical Informatics Mentoring Lab. He has led the development effort for MyNRMN for the past 5 years and has been a leader in education technology since 2006. Jay’s creativity and commitment to quality is evidenced in MyNRMN’s many useful features, including the new Guided Virtual Mentorship platform! When he’s not working on elegant solutions Jay can usually be found in his home studio writing and recording his own musical creations.
Zainab has a Masters of Computer Science specializing in database systems and software engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL. Zainab obtained her bachelor’s degree in computer science from Al-Nahrain University in Baghdad, Iraq.
Zainab is a Senior Application Developer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the Biomedical Informatics Department, bringing with her more than 12 years of experience in the programming field. Zainab joined the NRMN Team in November 2019.
As the Virtual Community Coordinator, this role is responsible for managing all aspects of our free mentoring and networking platform, MyNRMN. This role helps with the engagement of our mentors and mentees, and initiates testing for various MyNRMN features and services.
Before joining NIGMS, Rubio was chief of the Psychopathology Risk and Protective Factors Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health and was assistant director of that Institute’s Individual Research Fellowship Program. Rubio earned a B.A. in sociology from California State University, Bakersfield, and a Ph.D. in medical sociology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she also completed postdoctoral training in nursing in the area of HIV intervention and health disparities.
To contact Rubio, send email to email@example.com.
If you’re a reporter wishing to interview Rubio, contact the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-496-7301.
Sesma earned his B.A. in biology and psychology from the University of California, San Diego, and the Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Riverside. He conducted postdoctoral research at Vanderbilt University. Prior to joining NIH, Sesma served on the faculty at the University of Missouri-St. Louis School of Optometry and the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine.
To contact Sesma, send email to email@example.com.
If you’re a reporter wishing to interview Sesma, contact the NIGMS Communications and Public Liaison Branch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-496-7301.
Molly has an MBA from Golden Gate University and a Bachelor’s of Science from UC Davis. Molly’s areas of professional interest are promoting diversity and inclusion, the UC mission and cloud technology.
The first Mexican-American woman in the country to earn a Ph.D. in botany, her research focuses on the manipulation of genes as a way to improve plant productivity by enhancing root growth. She’s also studying ways to make beans more nutritious and says plant research is critical in the effort to combat hunger around the world.
Zavala has taught at CSUN since 1988 and plays an integral part in building the national reputation of CSUN’s Department of Biology as a place where students, particularly those from underserved communities, thrive and successfully pursue advanced degrees at top-tier research institutions.
She has served as the director of CSUN’s Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-STAR) program since 1990 and Research Initiatives for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) since 1993. Her work as a mentor and advocate for the countless students who have gone through these programs earned her recognition from the White House. In 2000, Zavala received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from President Bill Clinton.