Dr. Romie Morales Rosado started her career as a political science and economics major looking to pursue a Juris Doctor degree. As an undergraduate, she had the opportunity to attend the Junior Summer Institute in Princeton University. There she learned that being able to change and evaluate policies required significant capabilities in mathematics and statistics. As soon as she came back, Dr. Morales Rosado decided she would pursue more math and statistics courses to be able to put forward great policy recommendations.
As she started with her math and stats courses, she decided to add them as majors for her undergraduate career. As time passed, she secured several more internships in applied mathematics and statistics in national laboratories, at the Capital of Puerto Rico, and in Math Biology research institutions. When Dr. Morales Rosado finished her undergraduate degree, she pursued a Ph.D. in applied mathematics. During her Ph.D. research and studies, she became involved with several mentorship engagements and academic organizations that allowed her to continue to develop her leadership and management skills.
While getting closer to finishing her Ph.D., Dr. Morales Rosado decided to pursue a career where she could continue to do research, mentorship, and management. She was interviewed and received multiple offers in national labs and financial, academic, and pharmaceutical institutions. She decided to go the research route at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) since it provided the right mix of interdisciplinary research, growth opportunities, and the high-level impact she envisioned taking part in her career. Currently, Dr. Morales Rosado is a line manager for a machine learning team and principal investigator in a multi-lab research effort.
Dr. Morales Rosado was PNNL’s 2020 Pathway to Excellence awardee for Teaching and Mentoring work. This is a laboratory-wide distinction presented to scientists who not only make excellent contributions in their technical fields but also excel in mentoring and connecting the next generation of scientists with research and growth opportunities. Dr. Morales Rosado also leads the Hispanic Outreach for Leadership and Advancement (HOLA) Employee Resource Group. HOLA impacts PNNL’s diversity and inclusion mission by educating, leveraging relationships, and being agents of change that lead to equity and an egalitarian workplace at PNNL. Dr. Morales Rosado is the visionary and lead for the Bridging Opportunities for Leadership and Training in STEM (BOLTS) program. BOLTS is a mentorship program between PNNL researchers and students from local underserved high schools. This program is tailored to increase students’ confidence and expose them to multiple careers and opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-related fields. This program has been recognized for its focus on helping students transition from high school to college and connect them to opportunities as professionals. Dr. Morales Rosado was invited to take part as one of the leads of the PNNL’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. The Council’s efforts ensure PNNL continues to foster a work environment that fully embraces and values diversity, equity, and inclusion. She contributes to PNNL’s breadth of vision, insights, and perspectives to develop solutions to real-world problems.
Finally, Dr. Morales Rosado has contributed to dozens of research articles and reports within the national security field. Her contributions and vision help successfully secure multi-year multimillion funding for PNNL.
In her work, linear algebra, calculus, statistics, and logistic regression are some of the subjects Dr. Morales Rosado tends to apply daily. She does a significant amount of work applying and collaborating with scientists who develop machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms, as well as scientists whose work depends on the outcomes of these algorithms.
Dr. Morales Rosado recommends applying to all available opportunities: “Make sure you go through the process and apply to all the internships available in your field.” She recommends that the best way to learn from a field you are interested in is to give it a try, and internships are the best path forward for such things. She says: “If you don’t get accepted to an opportunity you really wanted, make sure to follow up to find out what you could do better.” She recalls she had students follow up with her and, given their drive, she ended up hiring them to work on her projects.
Dr. Morales Rosado highlights the value of watching TED talks and connecting to professional networks like LinkedIn: “You will be surprised by the number of connections you can make. I have recruited students to work on my projects as interns and some of them have transitioned to staff.”
“Hispanic Heritage Month is a reminder of our history, a celebration of who we are, and a recognition of what we have accomplished. It provides an opportunity to educate the community of our values, contributions, and accolades in all fields.”