Rainer Turim, ‘18
Dr. Kennedy first arrived at BHSEC almost two years ago, after earning her PhD in biomedical science from the University of Maine and teaching in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University, where she continued to teach while at BHSEC. The former All-New England and Division I soccer player gave birth to her daughter Lucy in early February 2016. In addition to excelling in soccer and science, Dr. Kennedy is a published writer; she has published poems and essays, in addition to scientific journals.
Yet, Dr. Kennedy is now leaving BHSEC to conduct research on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at EMD Serono, a pharmaceutical company owned by Merck. “Right now there is no cure for MS, only treatment that can stop the disease from further progression,” Dr. Kennedy explains. She adds, “My new job offers me the ability to communicate science at the highest levels with physicians and researchers who are invested in discovering the best treatment options for patients. In this job no two days are alike, because I will be meeting with a list of important leaders in the field to talk about MS – sometimes at their offices, sometimes over a meal, or at a conference.” The new job will allow her to spend more time at home with her 20-month-old daughter Lucy,“The main motivator was to have a job that could help me better support my family through a flexible schedule and increased pay.”
Though nervous about the transition, Dr. Kennedy will continue to teach at Columbia part-time at least for this semester, but she believes that her new job will not be that different from teaching, “I also like to think of my new position as still being in an education field – I am expected to be an expert in neuroscience and immunology and to be a resource for physicians. And who knows, I might return to being a teacher some day!”
According to Dr. Kennedy, an important feature of BHSEC is its inclusive and welcoming environment. “I have worked at very competitive places where it’s not in the culture to help one another, and it’s a miserable place to be,” she recalls, “I have appreciated all of the hello’s in the hallways and feeling like my students and I were creating something special to us.” In addition to her liking of the community, she has enjoyed working with students and helping them construct a future for themselves, “I also really enjoy being a part of your success – so when you get into a good college and I’ve written you a letter, it makes the process even sweeter to me.”
In regard to what she hopes to leave students with, Dr. Kennedy says, “the courage to be who they are, to embrace that fully, and to take out all the stops on your success. Your teachers are here to support you. If you knew everything, you wouldn’t need to be here.”
We wish Dr. Kennedy good luck on her journey into research, and we won’t forget her time spent at BHSEC as our cafeteria friend, our kind Biology teacher, our joyful Seminar professor, our renowned soccer player and poet, and our understanding friend.