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Dr. Jess Hernandez

Dr. Jess Hernandez


Director for Fellowships and Grants

As Director for Fellowships and Grants at Whitman since early 2022, I help students and alumni pursue fellowships, scholarships, and grants by encouraging them to think critically about their lives, develop an awareness about their contributions to their local (or even global) community, cultivate self-reflection, and explore adventurous opportunities with both intentionality and curiosity. As my brilliant predecessor, Keith Raether, says: "Curiosity is the way in and the way through."

I am a biologist by training, having delved into animal behavior, microbial ecology, endocrinology, and evolutionary ecology during my time as an undergraduate at Pomona College, a Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech, and a postdoctoral researcher at Vanderbilt University. I earned funding to fully support my education, training, and research endeavors through programs such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Foundation and the National Science Foundation (REU, GRFP, PRFB).

As a first-generation college student and usually the only Latina in STEM courses throughout my education, I have come to highly value mentorship. To this end, I have prioritized building a community of mentors around me throughout my career as well as building mentoring programs for others, including a peer mentoring program at Virginia Tech and a cross-educational peer mentoring program at Vanderbilt University that connects high school students with undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

When I am not thinking about grant writing through the lens of storytelling and building mentoring opportunities, I enjoy knitting - everywhere from couches to mountain peaks.

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