Smith wins Switzer Leadership Award

Gaby Smith, a biochemistry track major in the School of Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and a member of the Class of 2022, received the 2022 Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award from the Women’s Society of Washington University. The award recognizes outstanding graduating senior women who have made a significant contribution to WashU during their undergraduate years and have demonstrated exceptional potential for future leadership.

Gaby Smith receives the Switzer Leadership Award from the Women’s Society of Washington University (PC: Joe Jez)

“I am honored to receive this award. When I arrived at WashU nearly four years ago, I knew I wanted to make an impact on our campus, so it is extremely gratifying to be recognized for my contributions during my time here. I hope to continue to serve as a leader and an advocate for change throughout my career in medicine.”

“I cannot thank my mentors, Dr. Fahd Ahmad, Dr. Douglas Chalker, Dr. Kirk Dougher, Dr. Joseph Jez, Dr. Andrew Koenig, and Dr. Kory Lavine, enough for their continued support during my time at WashU; they have all been instrumental in guiding me these past four years,” said Smith.

During her time at WashU, Smith worked in the Lavine lab at the medical school on a research project exploring interferon signaling in cardiac disease, served as a peer-led team learning group leader for our introductory Biology course sequence, volunteered for the Einstein Explorers program at the Campus YMCA (which brings fun science experiments to young patients at Children's Hospital), served on the Student Union Senate (as a past speaker of the senate and senator), performed clinical research through our Pediatric Emergency Medicine Research Assistant Program (PEMRAP), and served as one of two undergraduate student representatives to the Board of Trustees of Washington University.

“Gaby knows the value of hard work and effort, yet her performance always appears effortless.  She is a tireless advocate for those around her, while consistently striving to improve personally and professionally. Excellent leaders do for others - this is Gaby.  And, she does all this while being grounded. As a professor who has taught, mentored, and learned from Gaby during these past few years, I am delighted that she is being recognized for her significant contributions to WashU,” said Joe Jez, Spencer T. Olin Professor in Biology in the School of Arts & Sciences.

Next year, Smith will be working as a Clinical Research Coordinator II in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Lurie Children’s Hospital under the mentorship of Dr. Leena Mithal. She will also be applying to medical school; she hopes to matriculate in 2023 and continue to work towards her goal of becoming a physician-scientist in pediatric medicine.