Kaitlynn Slattery; Alumni Assists on Breakthrough Medical Research

Kaitlynn Slattery's headshot
November 16, 2021

Kaitlynn Slattery is a senior at The George Washington University, majoring in Biology as a premed student, with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Slattery was in the Science, Health, and Medicine (SHM) cohort when she was in WLP as a freshman, where she was first inspired by her passion for health and medicine. Slattery says that “WLP opened my eyes to this journey”. She further tells of the impact of the WLP and the encouraging symposia, specifically the SHM field trip to the National Institute of Health (NIH). It was there where she was first introduced to the NIH research internship that she would later experience as the
highlight of her professional undergraduate career.

Inspired by the SHM field trip, Kaitlynn pursued a competitive NIH internship. Reaching out to approximately 25-30 investigators at the NIH asking if they needed research assistance over the summer, sending a large number of emails, and with a great amount of rejections, Slattery received one successful response. Ultimately, one bioinformatic investigator agreed to allow Slattery to work with him over the summer. This internship was in the neuro-oncology branch, where Slattery was assisting in research of specific mutation cells. While this internship was remote, she utilized “cutting edge” technology and platforms and sat in on weekly tumor board meetings. Additionally, this was a paid internship in which Slattery worked with the lead researcher and five post-doctoral student, all of whom were men.
Slattery spoke about her experience as a woman in STEM, and how WLP influenced her experience. She recalls giving a poster talk during her internship at the NIH where she had to present to a predominantly male audience as an undergraduate woman. However, she recounts the skills she acquired in WLP symposia where she was inspired by other women in STEM to help with her confidence and defy imposter syndrome.

Learning from others, Slattery has several pieces of advice for young women in STEM. She urges young people to seek out and stay connected with mentors throughout their academic and professional career. She also preaches the importance of doing what makes you excited. Slattery makes it clear that the reason that you do something should not be because you think it will look good on record, but rather because you have a strong passion for the topic. Furthermore, do things because you can’t stop talking about it, as Slattery recalls during her NIH internship, she was genuinely so interested in her work that she could not stop talking about it to her friends and family.

Kaitlynn Slattery is currently working on her undergraduate degree while also being a tutor for academic commons for Biology, Physics, and Calculus. She plans on taking a gap year or two before medical school for clinical volunteering and applying for medical school. Nonetheless, she dreams of continuing her education at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences. After finishing her education, Slattery plans on pursuing a career in brain cancer research, with a concentration in women’s brain cancer research.