SCV’s Own Superwoman – Jessica Lee
Great thrill can come from figuring out something for the first time, at least, that’s how Jessica Lee approaches the unexpected turns her life has taken for the better.
Pushing the limits of her comfort zone, Jessica has stayed consistent in her vision to help people throughout the Santa Clarita Valley in biomedical engineering and volunteer organizations within the Santa Clarita Valley Sherriff’s Department. If that weren’t enough commitment, she recently began her newest journey as a mom. “I can’t believe the hospital even let us take him home, we’ve never even changed a diaper before!” she said.
While attending Cornell University with hopes of becoming a doctor, Jessica took up the most East Coast activity she could think of—rugby. After injuring her knee and undergoing ACL reconstruction surgery her junior year, she switched majors to biological and environmental engineering. From there, she received a PhD from USC in biomedical engineering with a concentration in orthopedic biomechanics. Although school is what brought her to sunny California, her internship turned full-time job is what invited her to settle down in Santa Clarita. Over the past 10 years, Jessica has worked to develop implantable spinal chord stimulator systems for patients with chronic pain and Parkinson’s tremors. Her recent promotion to Director of Quality overseeing the safety testing of neurosurgical products to ensure effectiveness and compliance. “It’s not the title that entices me, but more of where I can make a difference in the company and life in general,” Jessica said.
On her way to work one day Jessica witnessed a tragic motorcycle accident. “I remember driving by and feeling helpless,” she said, “Here I am with a PhD and I can’t even help this guy in the road.” To better prepare herself for similar situations, she decided to take an EMT class at College of the Canyons. There, she met someone who volunteered for the Santa Clarita Search and Rescue team and convinced her to go to a meeting to learn more about it. She immediately fell in love with the group of people who all dedicate their free time to be on call 24 hours a day. Jessica underwent six months of training with the Sherriff’s Academy and earned the necessary certifications to become a first responder to missing people cases and automobile accidents. For her, it has been most rewarding knowing that this team of emergency medical technicians are a readily available resource for the public.
Jessica has also served on the Board of Directors for the SCV Sherriff’s Foundation for the past two years, raising funds for local law enforcement and other affiliated youth and volunteer programs. Amongst these, she enjoys partnering with the Sheriff’s Youth Activities League which offers an after school center for kids in low-income neighborhoods while promoting community policing. Jessica has organized tutoring for elementary to high school students and encourages them to join robotics and Lego competitions. “The kids are great. They just need somebody to believe in them and give them a chance to succeed,” she said.
As a new mom every day is a puzzle: deciphering what exactly her son wants, while also learning to balance such a busy lifestyle. Thankfully, Jessica has had tremendous support from her husband Ren, whose own ambitions inspire her to keep an open mind with every opportunity. His start up business in the garment manufacturing industry has provided insight in areas she would have never thought to explore such as marketing, sales, and design. “I try to focus on things I know so I can make a greater impact,” she said, “but sometimes the unknown can be even more exciting.”
photos by Joie de Vivre photographie
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