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Mentor and researcher promotes STEM for women and Hispanics

Since graduating from the IB Diploma Programme with one of the first co-educational classes at Markham College in Peru, Patty Jumbo has earned a medical degree and a PhD. Now in her second post-graduate fellowship at Vanderbilt University, she mentors undergraduate students and writes to inspire STEM opportunities for women and Hispanics.

IB graduate Patty Jumbo is now a post-graduate researcher at Vanderbilt University.

IB graduate Patty Jumbo is now a post-graduate researcher at Vanderbilt University.

When IB alumna Patty Jumbo began the Diploma Programme, her first year was all about adjusting to a new school with an unfamiliar set of teachers and peers. On top of that, this was Patty’s first time experiencing a school curriculum in English. “I have to add that we were the second class of girls in a traditionally only-boys school, which made the situation a little bit more challenging at the beginning.” But these challenges, Patty says, “represent what I am able to accomplish when I am committed to success.”

Soon enough, Patty was excelling, and she recalls that her “writing skills improved to the point that one of my essays was published in the school year book.” The focus of the winning essay was one of Patty’s most memorable IB experiences: her class trip to the Amazon. “We went into the jungle away from technology for an entire week, and I gained a different appreciation for nature, scientific observation, and the importance of teamwork and friendship.”

After receiving her IB diploma from Markham College with distinction, Patty pursued her interest in science and earned her medical degree from Peru’s prestigious Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in 2004.  But just a few months before graduation, Patty completed a clinical rotation at the University of Alabama (UAB) Medical School, which completely redirected her career. “I met Dr. Carlos Krumdieck during this rotation and he introduced me to the fascinating world of scientific research at UAB. I decided to continue my career in research and applied to a PhD program in Nutrition Sciences at UAB.”

Now, with a PhD and medical degree, Patty is in her second, post-graduate fellowship at Vanderbilt University, where she focuses on models of disease lacking effective treatment options. “I have been able to author 12 peer-reviewed publications, mentored several undergraduate and graduate students and taught courses at the college level at Emory University and Vanderbilt University. The journey has not been easy, but the exposure the IB programme gave me to English, critical thinking, and scientific writing certainly made my voyage easier.” In January, Patty will begin working at Samford University as a tenure-track assistant professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Patty is particularly passionate about supporting Hispanic minorities and women in STEM fields. She’s started a science blog in a Peruvian newspaper called El Comercio, and as a result, has been able to lead some scientific outreach events at local schools in Lima, Peru. “Over the years, I gladly learned that the interest and funding for scientific research in Peru is growing, and I really hope that this growth continues.”

Contributing author Kari Lorentson is writing about the experience of IB graduates at universities around the world. Lorentson studies at American University and previously attended Fishers High School. Contact her at [email protected].

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