Leadership, the Value of Mentors and the Challenges Facing International Students with Sudha Krishnamurthy, PhD

When Science Speaks
When Science Speaks
Leadership, the Value of Mentors and the Challenges Facing International Students with Sudha Krishnamurthy, PhD

Navigating the world of graduate school or postdoctoral studies can be an immense challenge. Those inherent difficulties are even greater when the student is working and studying in a culture different from the one he or she grew up in. For those who are studying in the United States and originally from abroad, who do they turn to for guidance and mentorship? Where can they go to learn the skills to be leaders in their respective fields and in the world?

Dr. Sudha Krishnamurthy has overcome both challenges and enjoys helping and mentoring those who are traversing the roads she has already traveled. She is a clinician-scientist with over seven years of experience doing research in cancer biology. She has expertise and experience in 3D cell culture, fluorescence microscopy, cancer stem cell biology, in-vivo pharmacology, anti-angiogenic agents and animal models. She enjoys working with teams and has strong analytical and problem-solving skills. 

Sudha has so far had an incredibly diverse professional career helping graduate students and postdocs by sharing her rich experience doing the same. She is the Director of the Office of Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Affairs at Gladstone Institutes and is an International Officer for the National Postdoctoral Association. 

Dr. Krishnamurthy earned a Bachelor’s degree in Dental Surgery, Dentistry at Ragas Dental College in India. She went on to earn a PhD in Cancer Biology and Oral Health Sciences at the University of Michigan, where she was a graduate student researcher before going on to be a full Research Scientist. She went on to be a postdoctoral fellow at the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. 

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of When Science Speaks

  • [1:05] Mark introduces his guest, Dr. Sudha Krishnamurthy
  • [2:09] How Sudha moved to San Francisco
  • [3:24] Mentorship and how Sudha approaches helping students
  • [5:28] Why graduate students should see themselves as leaders
  • [7:45] The move towards a more holistic training program for postdocs
  • [11:22] Support and focus for international students
  • [15:02] Emerging trends in academia
  • [17:02] Communication between disciplines and the growth of interdisciplinary studies

Connect with Dr. Sudha Krishnamurthy

The importance of mentorship

Great leaders inspire us to do better, go further, push harder. They can bring out the best in us, and are integral to the success of business, academia, and even the world at large. While the traits of great leadership can be natural and innate, it is usually the mentorship from another great leader which helps people to develop and grow into great leaders themselves. The students of today are the leaders and mentors of tomorrow, and they should be given the tools they need to fulfill those roles as best as they can.

This is something Dr. Krishnamurthy references by discussing the programs and even courses she has been involved with which give an individualized process which helps students and postdocs discover what they enjoy doing, as well as what the possible courses their professional lives can take with their degree. The goal is to help students see what it means to be a mentor and a leader.

The challenges for international students

Our world is becoming smaller every day. Technology has given us connections across the world as there has never been seen in human history. Getting an education abroad is easier than ever. While immediate access to other countries has increased, there is another side which comes with it. The challenges for international students are great because cultures can be very different when someone travels to another part of the world. 

Dr. Krishnamurthy has great experience as an international student, as she has gotten degrees in India as well as the United States. She is very passionate about the global reality of science and academia. As she points out, half of all the postdoc students in the United States are international students. There is an inherent need for mentorship and community for those students coming from abroad. 

To know more about the important work of Dr. Sudha Krishnamurthy, and her great perspective on trust and language, make sure to listen to her full conversation with Mark on this episode of When Science Speaks.

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