What is “The Jessica Effect?”

The “Jessica Effect” was named for the late Jessica Soto Pérez, former graduate student at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, member of the first cohort of PROMISE Peer Mentors. We wanted to invite, involve, and engage family members of graduate students in an effort to promote a more inclusive environment that caters to the whole person, and that values the importance of family and friends.

UMBC Peer mentors smaller
First PROMISE Peer Mentors at UMBC, circa 2004

Jessica Effect Text

For several events involving graduate students or postdocs in Maryland, our organizers will state that we are invoking the Jessica Effect, which means that scholars are invited to bring family members and friends with them to events to share in the PROMISE community-wide approach to education and support.

About Jessica:

Jessica Effect


  • Daughter of Antonio Israel Soto and Luz N. Pérez
  • Undergraduate degree: Univ. of Puerto Rico Mayagüez
  • P. B. Certificate in Biochemical Regulatory Engineering
  • Graduate School: Chemical & Biochemical Engineering (Research: Novel methods for chromatofocusing), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)
  • Peer mentor: National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP.
  • Instructor: UMBC Upward Bound Math Science
  • Member, American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
  • Member, American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • Jessica’s research: The effect of pH transients formed by salt gradients on protein ion-exchange chromatography


The article on the Jessica Effect can be found here:  https://www.aacu.org/peerreview/2014/spring/tull

AACU cover Jessica Effect

More background can be found here: https://renettatull.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/the-jessica-effect-and-women-in-stem-mujeres-en-stem-en-memoria-de-jessica/

Published by Renetta Garrison Tull

Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull is the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at the University of California Davis. She previously served as Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at The Graduate School at UMBC, and was Professor of the Practice in the College of Engineering & IT. She was Special Assistant to the Sr. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Director of Graduate and Professional Pipeline Development for the University System of Maryland (12 institutions). She is the Founding Director of PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) – http://www.umbc.edu/promise, and Co-PI for the USM LSAMP. Her research on global diversity in STEM continues, and she is an international speaker, covering nearly all continents, for groups and conferences such as the World Engineering Education Forum, the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, and the Pacific Sciences Congress. Her personal website is: http://renettatull.wordpress.com. Connect with her on Twitter: @Renetta_Tull; https://twitter.com/Renetta_Tull

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