Words Matter: Dr. Jessica Esquivel - Particle Physicist
Updated: Aug 27
Dr. Jessica Esquivel is scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, or Fermilab, a location with a focus on particle physics. Her interest in STEM, specifically gravity in space and how she wanted to study what people haven’t seen before, blossomed when she visited NASA at age 12. She nurtured her interests by attending the Science Academy of Texas, and taking part in science summer camps. She studied at St. Mary’s College in San Antonio and received undergraduate degrees in Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering. She has also studied at Syracuse University, being the second black woman to graduate in physics with a PhD at the university.
In Fermilab, she has been working with subatomic particles on the Muon g-2 experiment, which highlights particles in a vacuum space. In a vacuum, particles do exist, but only for a short period of time, so this project was made to gather information about said particles. By using a magnetic force, scientists will be able to observe the actions of the particles and test them against the Standard Model. In addition to the Muon g-2 project, Esquivel is working with the MicroBooNe project, where she began in October of 2015, an experiment dealing with neutrino interactions and their energy levels; neutrinos are subatomic particles with a neutral energy that are close to electrons.
Esquivel has been a part of the Wakandacon, gaining support from her wife, Emily, and a group of Black scientists at Fermilab. The organization aims to promote the interest of STEM within the black community, and Fermilab scientists used this opportunity to hold demonstrations of scientific concepts to educate the younger attendees of the convention. As an afro-latinx, Esquivel enjoys participating in the Wakandacon to promote her interest in STEM and to encourage others to do so, as well.
Esquivel has been chosen as an ambassador for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who is working with IF/THEN. IF/THEN was founded by Lyda Hill and is an organization that serves to bring awareness to women in STEM to inspire young girls. Through this opportunity, she will be 1 of 125 women in STEM who will be high-profile role models for young girls.
Bedford, Bailey. Channeling Shuri as a Physicist at Wakandacon, Symmetry Magazine, 27 Aug. 2019, www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/channeling-shuri-as-a-physicist-at-wakandacon.
Edited by Leah Hesla, Fermilab Scientist Jessica Esquivel Selected to Be AAAS Ambassador for Girls in STEM, Fermilab, 12 Sept. 2019, news.fnal.gov/2019/09/fermilab-scientist-jessica-esquivel-selected-to-be-aaas-ambassador-for-girls-in-stem/.
Hannibal, Mary Ellen. “What a Real Superhero Looks Like.” Women in Science & Engineering on Nautilus, 28 Mar. 2020, wise.nautil.us/feature/533/what-a-real-superhero-looks-like.
Muon g-2 Experiment, muon-g-2.fnal.gov/.
Written by: Sejal Mohan
Edited by: Shaili Singh and Brianna Clark
Graphic by: Teju Calambakkam