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Research Mentor of the Year

Medical students honor Sarah Parker with 2023 Research Mentor of the Year Award. “Dr. Parker has taught me how to turn curiosity into an evidence-based question and then transform that question into a hypothesis that is tested by a well-designed project.”

Research Mentor of the Year: Sarah Parker

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[Sarah Parker]: The research mission of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is actually one of the things that attracted me to being part of both the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and the School of Medicine. I love that there is dedicated time and effort put forth for our students to engage in substantial research projects, skills around critical thinking, around curiosity, around how to look into the literature, how to critically evaluate method. All of those skills will serve our students going forward.

[Rebekah Sayre]: Sarah is amazing because she balances being very academic and very inquisitive while also having just like a calming, fun presence to be around. I have never not looked forward to meeting her with research, even when I had bad news.

[Allison Strauss]: Having somebody who's always available, always open for feedback gives you great suggestions herself, is able to help guide you and some of those questions that are unknown. Or as a medical student, we may not know how to navigate them. I always felt like I could go to her with any issue that kind of arose, and she was just always so willing to work through them.

[Merly Konathapally]: She's really been a great mentor and leader in that sense of showing me how to collaborate with others and then also how to be a woman in academic medicine or in academic research.

[Sarah Parker]: What I want the students to take away more than anything is the sense that research, no matter what you do, comes from a place of curiosity, and that that curiosity can serve you really well in a lot of different realms of your life.

[Allison Strauss]: So much of research in our curriculum here at VTC, a lot of the success of it is based off how involved your mentor is and how much they're invested in helping progress your project. And I feel really thankful that I ended up with Dr. Parker as my mentor and affiliated with her lab for the past four years.

[Merly Konathapally]: She cares a lot about me as a student and a person first, and so I've been really appreciative that she encourages independence, but is always there kind of supporting us as well.

[Rebekah Sayre]: Pushing her students to really be the best researchers they can be, and also kind of the best versions of themselves. I think that's what everybody wants in a mentor. So I just got very lucky that she happened to be mine.

[Sarah Parker]: To be even just a small part of this really intense period of time in their lives where they're learning so much. It's just it's absolutely humbling. It makes me so pleased to think about them building on this foundation from the VTC School of Medicine and the difference that they're going to make in many, many lives going forward. It's actually the highlight of what I get to do on a day to day basis. I could not be more proud of these students.

[Rebekah Sayre]: Who gradually said to Dr. Parker, You totally deserve this.

[Merly Konathapally]: I'm super grateful to be in your lab.

[Allison Strauss]: I really appreciate all that you've provided me, both in professional and personal development over my time in medical school.

[Rebekah Sayre]: It has definitely made me a better medical student and a better researcher, and I think a better person overall.

[Allison Strauss]: You're so deserving of this Research Mentor of the Year award.

[Rebekah Sayre]: So thank you so much.

Event Spotlight: Ruining Dinner - Religion as the Silent Diversity

How does religious identity fit into diversity and inclusion work? Why is it important to talk about? And how can our community create belonging for religious and nonreligious identities? Join us on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 for a discussion with JillAnn Knonenborg, Virginia Tech's Assistant Dean for Interfaith Leadership. Part of the Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Series.

Abstract painting of four people having dinner

Welcome to Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Through a unique public-private partnership between a cutting edge-research university and a major health care institution, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine educates physician thought leaders through inquiry, research, and discovery.

The college has four value domains that drive our educational goals and objectives and are interwoven throughout the four-year curriculum: basic science, clinical science, research, and health systems science & interprofessional practice.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Our commitment to Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) is reflected in our pledge as individuals and as an institution to create a community that welcomes all, includes all, and ensures equity for all, building an environment where all can thrive and realize their full potential.

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