I AM STEM: JASON ROSS
“I didn’t let the world steal my imagination.”
Jason Ross is a Ph.D. in regulatory biology and the Manager of Graduate Student Programs in molecular biology at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner College of Medicine.
Did you have a mentor?
I had multiple mentors, from junior high school all the way up through today, and I find myself multiple times during the day thinking about how these people who had been in similar situations would handle whatever it is. I find especially my graduate school mentor, the way I literally can hear her voice in my head, things that she’s told me, ways to approach the world, how to interpret things.
What advice do you have for kids exploring the world and discovering what they’re interested in?
I didn’t let the world steal my imagination. I try not to go out too quickly. I try to maintain my fascination about things that I didn’t understand instead of just putting them in a pile of things I never know and carrying on with my life. Ask questions, challenge the things you’re told. Those qualities are the beginning of a scientific mind.
If a path is not linear, most students will quit. And one of the most important things about science, probably about life in general, is that the number one determinant of your success is how you deal with adversity, when things are not going well. Are you able to be resilient? Are you able to stick through it? Are you able to keep going, even when you fall off completely? Are you able to climb back up? I know that sounds trite, but it’s really true.
What does STEM mean to you?
STEM is where all of the jobs are going. This is where the future of the world is dependent. You can see it in everyday life, especially with what we’ve been dealing with in the pandemic. You can see in everyday life how much the world really depends on people who have expertise in these fields.