On May 4, the UK College of Medicine celebrated the graduation of several students in our biomedical sciences programs. Six graduates earned graduate certificates, 33 earned a Master's, and 12 earned their doctorates. Join us in congratulating these scholars on this momentous occasion! Watch the ceremony here

Cortney Laye is one of those graduates, earning his Master of Science in Medical Sciences (MSMS). Laye credits the MSMS program, noting he "gained valuable insight into a career path that aligns perfectly with my interests and aspirations." While pursuing his degree, Laye served as a teaching assistant in neuroscience.

"This exposure to a diverse interdisciplinary degree pathway has broadened my perspective and deepened my understanding of my career opportunities," he noted.  

In the fall, Laye will be joining the UK College of Medicine Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBS) program. IBS is an undifferentiated first-year core curriculum that serves as the entry point for six doctoral programs housed in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine: neuroscience; toxicology and cancer biology; microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics; pharmacology and nutritional sciences; molecular and cellular biochemistry; and physiology. 

Q&A with Cortney Laye

Q: Tell us about your experience with the Master of Science in Medical Sciences program. 
A: The MSMS program has provided me with an exceptional, fulfilling, and highly educational experience. Interacting with a diverse group of professors who have excelled in their careers has been an enriching experience for me. During this program, I had the privilege of serving as a medical assistant and as a teaching assistant in various settings along with a comprehensive curriculum. Professors, patients, students, and peers have made my time at UK very enjoyable.  

Q: How has the UK College of Medicine supported your academic journey?
A: The UK College of Medicine has played a pivotal role in supporting my academic journey. Through its dedicated faculty, I have been provided with a solid foundation of medical knowledge and skills.  It introduced me to many opportunities such as workshops, assistantships, summer internships, employment, and continuous opportunities to network. A notable example was the African American Research Training Scholars Program (AARTS) program, which provided me with an opportunity to be a summer research training scholar and the ability to present my research at a symposium. As a former athlete, whose interest in science relates to traumatic brain injury, the UK College of Medicine research opportunities have enabled me to explore my interest and contribute to the advancement of my medical knowledge as a research scientist. Overall, the college has been instrumental in shaping my academic growth and providing me with the necessary tools to succeed in the field of medicine. 

Q: You’ve been described by colleagues as a “rockstar teaching assistant” within the department of neuroscience. Tell us more about your experiences as a TA. 
A: I love being a teaching assistant and having the ability to pour into others’ lives and their education. Having experienced moments of overwhelming stress during my undergraduate years, I deeply appreciate the value of having someone by my side to help guide me through those challenging times. Consequently, I aspire to be that supportive figure for others, reassuring them that it is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed and offering them the encouragement needed to succeed. Undoubtedly, my goal is to pursue a career in teaching as I have discovered a genuine passion for enlightening and empowering the public through education.  

Q: You’ve been accepted into the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program—what expectations do you have for the program?  
A: During my time here at UK gaining my master's, I have grown tremendously in my knowledge, and I truly believe the IBS program will help to continue that. With the end goal of successfully finishing my PhD, I expect to become an expert in my field and feel confident in my ability to educate. While my plans afterward are not set in stone, I desire to use my current educational knowledge to educate future students in the field of medicine.  

IBS provides exposure to cellular and molecular concepts in the biomedical sciences, development of interdisciplinary approaches necessary for innovative research, and flexibility in choosing a research emphasis among 186 faculty in six departments.