Kristin Miller, a UK College of Medicine graduate student in toxicology and cancer biology, is leading the effort to expand mentorship opportunities for women through Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS).
Founded in 2019, the WIMS Mentoring Program facilitates opportunities for women’s career advancement in the fields of medicine and science. All College of Medicine female faculty, medical students, PhD students, postdoctoral trainees, residents, and fellows are members of WIMS, and all are encouraged to come to bimonthly meetings and participate on committees. WIMS honors its mentors and mentees each year, and the group also sponsors an event every fall featuring lectures and workshops led by a nationally renowned visiting professor.
Miller has been involved in WIMS for three years, and now she is directing the WIMS Mentoring Program, an essential part of the group’s mission.
“It’s a process,” Miller explained. “At the beginning of the year, we send out a survey where you can note what your research interests are, whether you’re interested in personal or professional mentoring. Both sides—mentors and mentees—fill that out. It takes a few weeks to work out the matches. And that’s the starting point.”
Miller’s own experience has taught her that mentorship can open doors for students. “I’m from Appalachian Kentucky—Metcalfe County. And when I was in high school, I knew I loved science, but I didn’t know that research was a career option.”
When Miller arrived at the University of Kentucky as an undergraduate, she connected with Appalachian Career Training in Oncology (ACTION), a program of the Markey Cancer Center, and was matched with mentor Jessica Blackburn, PhD, in the molecular and cellular biochemistry department.
Now Miller is a PhD student looking forward to a future in research.
“I’m an example of why mentorship is important,” she said. “I wouldn’t be where I am now without a mentor, and so I value the importance of helping others to find a mentor to guide them.” Kristin Miller is Paying it Forward Leading the WIMS Mentoring Program
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