Faculty Snapshot: Hilda Hutcherson
Tell us about your work.
I wear many hats, including recruiting, mentoring, and supporting a diverse student body at Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. As a part of this work, I partner with students, faculty, and administrators to create and foster an inclusive environment for students. I also administer five pipeline programs for young people in their formative years, which is the most impactful part of my role. These programs serve hundreds of students—from middle-school to recent college graduates—all from underrepresented or economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Providing opportunities for young people to reach their full potential provides me with purpose and fuels other aspects of my work.
What are you looking forward to right now? What are you most excited about?
I'm looking forward to returning to my office at the medical school and being surrounded by the sights, sounds and energy of the students at VP&S, as well as the students in our pipeline programs. I miss them, as well as my colleagues! I'm looking forward to returning to the vibrant community of Washington Heights: the people, the sounds, the restaurants, and my favorite coffee stop. Apart from this returning to campus, I'm also excited about completing the manuscript for a book that addresses the effect of aging on the physical, emotional, and sexual health of women. This book has been a work in progress for the last couple of years and I hope to complete it by the end of the summer.
What advice might you have for a potential mentee about how to succeed in academia?
My advice would be to silence those voices that tell you that you are not good enough, that you don't belong, and that you are undeserving of every opportunity to succeed. Next, build a network of advisors, mentors and sponsors and nurture those relationships. One of the ways to nurture those relationships is to be a good mentee: Prepare for meetings in advance, be clear about your needs and expectations, and be enthusiastic about learning from your mentor. In return for your mentor's generosity, always remember to show gratitude for their support. Beyond engaging with mentors, be proactive and look for opportunities to contribute and volunteer to help. Extend your own generosity to your peers and be a good team member. Lastly, advocate for yourself and don't shy away from "tooting your own horn."