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Robert Wood Johnson
I
MEDICINE 31
Teaching awards for her contributions to graduate education:
from the UMDNJ Foundation in 2010, and from the New
Jersey Health Foundation in 2014.
For eight years, Dr. Walworth chaired the second-year
course directors committee. In addition, she was closely
involved with the medical school's Curriculum 2010 study,
which helped reframe the first- and second-year curriculum as
a multidisciplinary, systems-based approach. Led by Siobhan
Corbett, MD '87, associate professor of surgery and chair,
Curriculum Committee, the task force included Carol A.
Terregino, MD '86, associate professor of medicine and now
senior associate dean for education; and Laura Willett, MD,
now professor of medicine and an education leader in the
Department of Medicine.
Dr. Walworth serves as co-director of Rutgers Graduate
Programs in Molecular Biosciences and is widely respected and
appreciated for her work at that level. "Nancy is super compe-
tent. She cares about community on many levels and sees to it
that our graduate students are mentored well," says James
Millonig, PhD, associate professor of neuroscience and cell
biology, senior associate dean at Rutgers School of Graduate
Studies, assistant dean for medical scientist training at Robert
Wood Johnson Medical School,
and director of the joint MD/
PhD program at the medical
school and Princeton University.
"Nancy has served on an un-
believable number of PhD advi-
sory committees," says Cheryl
F. Dreyfus, PhD, professor and
chair, Department of Neurosci-
ence and Cell Biology. "She has
a great ability to take in lots of
data, evaluate a situation, and
make thoughtful suggestions
that help our graduate students
decide their next move."
Dr. Dreyfus, who joined the
faculty in 1990, was appointed
interim chair in 2006, succeed-
ing the late Ira Black, MD, professor and chair, Department
of Neuroscience and Cell Biology. Three years ago, she was
appointed chair, making her the second woman to chair a
basic science department at the medical school.
Dr. Dreyfus serves on the Appointments and Promotions
Committee with Dr. Walworth and says, "People listen to
Nancy--she's calm, considerate, and insightful. She under-
stands better than anyone not only the criteria for individual
appointments and promotions but also how the committee's
decisions fit into the evolution of the school."
Career Alternatives
for Women in STEM
W
omen have always been good at science and math,
but traditionally, they were not encouraged to enter
scientific careers," says Dr. Walworth. Instead, her
mother and other girls of that generation who excelled in
these areas were often steered toward nursing or teaching.
Just one generation later, however, the number of women
entering medical school and biological PhD programs is
approximately equal to the number of men.
"Perceptions of science have changed. It's no longer pictured
as an isolating career, with one scientist alone at the bench,"
says Dr. Walworth. "Labs are social and collaborative, an envi-
ronment that appeals to many women. Successful research
depends on a team with good, interactive communication skills
and people who can multitask, think in broad terms, and peri-
odically change direction."
"Women and minorities tend to be more community-
based," says Dr. Millonig. "In my experience, women are bet-
ter than men at listening to other points of view. It's not only
healthy but also critically important to have that approach in a
school that values science."
He adds, "Still, in academia, at each successive level, women
are dropping out as they face the challenge of balancing career
and family."
"Academic careers can be flexible, but faculty who hold full-
time, tenure-track positions must give their career constant
attention," says Dr. Walworth. "If you step back, you won't be
able to keep up in your field. For women with children, profes-
sional success and the ability to have a full family life depend
on having a good support network, at work and at home."
Fortunately, career choices have grown enormously, offering
PhD candidates and medical students new options in fields
such as technology transfer, writing for the communication
divisions of drug companies, or working with the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration.
"In the MD/PhD program, we discuss these questions
freely," says Dr. Millonig. "`What's the best time to start a fam-
ily? How can you attain flexibility for your career and family?'
And we include the men in the discussions; it's important for
them to understand the issues too."
Dr. Millonig and Martin Yarmush, MD, PhD, Paul and Mary
Monroe Chair and Distinguished Professor of Biomedical
"
"P
erceptions of science
have changed. It's no longer
pictured as an isolating
career, with one scientist
alone at the bench," says
Nancy Walworth, PhD (left).
"Labs are social and collabora-
tive, an environment that
appeals to many women.
Successful research depends
on a team with good, inter-
active communication skills
and people who can multi-
task, think in broad terms,
and periodically change
direction."