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BLAZE Faculty Mentors

Faculty members participating in the BLAZE yearlong mentoring program.

  • Jessica Sautter, PhD, Associate Professor of Medical Sociology, Interim Associate Dean of Misher College and Pre-Pharmacy and Pre-Professional Program Director
  • Bela Peethambaran, PhD, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
  • Tyan Thomas, PharmD, Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy
  • Nick Owens, PharmD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy
  • Anuja Gupta, PhD, Chair and Director of MBA program
  • Kristin Motley, PharmD, Field Supervisor & Compliance Coordinator, Pharmacy
  • Theresa Rhett-Davis, MS, OTR/L, Assistant Professor and Vice Chair in Occupational Therapy
  • Roberto Ramos, PhD, Associate Professor of Physics and Founding Director for the Center for Undergraduate Research
  • Linda Lemisch, OTD, OTR/L, CLCP, CAPS, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy
  • Allison Williams, MS, PA-C, Vice Chair and Associate Program Director and Assistant Professor in Graduate Physician Assistant Program

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Jessica SautterJessica Sautter, PhD is an Associate Professor of Medical Sociology, Interim Associate Dean of Misher College and Pre-Pharmacy and Pre-Professional Program Director. She is interested in being a mentor because she wants to be an agent of social mobility, and to help historically excluded students succeed. Her mentoring relationships are friendships, in which students and faculty learn from each other. She gives methodological tools to students and help them apply those tools to their own studies. She tells lots of stories about success, failure, and everything in between to her mentees. She is open and genuinely interested in students’ lives and their futures. She is hoping to find new ways to connect with USciences students as she begins her new role as mentor in the BLAZE program. 

Bela PeethambaranBela Peethambaran, PhD is an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences. Her primary area of interest is in molecular and cell biology and her other areas of interest include genetics, natural products application in cancer and neuroinflammation. As a mentor and as a teacher she loves the satisfaction that we get giving back. She wants to be a mentor because she believes STEM fields are poorly represented by URM students. She has been mentoring URM students for the past 10 years at USciences and she deeply acknowledge sthe divide and the need to bridge this gap. Her mentoring philosophy aspires to guide mentees in discovery of what’s possible based on their own talents and drive them to their full potential. She hopes to open doors to professional networks, facilitating connections to other professionals who can help shape career success. She also hopes to share with female mentees her own experience and challenges in academia and help in defining solutions that will help them sail through their own professional lives. She hopes to use known resources to tailor strategies that can help students reach their own goals. She particularly recognizes that URM students are faced with different obstacles and she hopes to understand, facilitate and support alleviation of any problems as my primary interest is to ensure that students have a wonderful experience in USciences. 

Tyan ThomasTyan Thomas, PharmD is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy. Her primary area of interest is clinical pharmacy practice in an ambulatory care clinic setting. She is interested in supporting students who may want additional support to navigate college, pharmacy school, and the health professions culture. She takes the approach of gentle guidance. She asks questions to help a mentee identify his/her/their goals and steps. Next, she helps them to identify action items to ensure the mentee is on the path to meeting their goal. She is a good listener and offers guidance and motivation without judgment. She hopes through her participation in the mentorship program to learn more about how to provide support to students on campus and about their perspectives on challenges they face. 

Nick OwensNick Owens, PharmD is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy. His areas of expertise include Evidence-Based Medicine, Gaming (educational games, video games, board games). Dr. Owens is interested in being a mentor because he believes every student deserves the opportunity to be successful and have the support they need as they work through the challenges that arise along the way. He is passionate about providing mentoring and support to students that is sensitive to the unique challenges that URM students encounter, especially in graduate studies. He aims to create a safe and supportive environment to help facilitate these vital activities with my mentees. He is an experienced mentor who prioritizes the importance of clear expectations, regular communication, honest feedback and support for the whole person. He’s been lucky enough to find a profession that he is passionate about and hopes to help his mentees find their passions as well. 

Anuja GuptaAnuja Gupta, PhD is the Chair and Director of MBA program. Her primary areas of expertise are strategy, leadership and entrepreneurship. The core belief she brings to mentoring is - we are all seeds full of potential - we all have our strengths, and what we focus our attention on expands. So, mentorship for her is about helping her mentees focus on their strengths, to expand their use of, and awareness of these strengths in all aspects of their lives. She "there" for them for any issue - personal or professional which means she is creating a connection with them in which they can count on her to be there for them. Her coaching approach means she will not always give then answers but will enable them to find their own best answers. A critical skill she thinks mentees should gain is more self-awareness, and self-commitment to be their best selves. She uses several methods - guidance, accountability partner, information giver, sounding board etc. She wants to be a friend, and also a guide. She is a leadership coach, and uses the coaching approach in her teaching & mentoring of women leaders as well. She is deeply passionate about empowering people to realize their full potential, and she knows the important role mentors can play in this. She is an immigrant, and of course understands the potential this program can have. 

Kristin MotleyKristin Motley, PharmD is a Field Supervisor & Compliance Coordinator in the Pharmacy department. Her areas of expertise are pharmaceutical and healthcare business. She wants to a mentor because as a former URM grad student and post-grad trainee, she understands first-hand the challenges these students face. She wants to give students guidance that will help them overcome those challenges. Furthermore, she realizes that she is not perfect and may not know all the answers, but she uses her colleagues and her professional network to help meet her mentee's needs. Her mentee can expect a safe space and a confidential, mutually respectful relationship. Her mentee will experience a meaningful relationship which will grow over the years, even beyond graduation. The three qualities that make her a good mentor are that she’s a good listener, she’s non-judgmental and resourceful. She listens for understanding without making assumptions. She seeks to help my mentees understand how their choices impacted them (and others) and help them identify ways to improve. She has a lot of professional contacts and it's in her nature to make meaningful introductions between her mentees and those contacts. 

Theresa Rhett-DavisTheresa Rhett-Davis, MS, OTR/L is an Assistant Professor and Vice Chair in Occupational Therapy. Her areas of expertise are healthcare/occupational therapy and rehabilitation-pediatrics and adults. As she reflects on why she wants to be a mentor, she can conclude that she wants to be a beacon of support and lifeline to students’ as her mentors were to her. She wants to help students reach their fullest potential professionally and personally. By listening and talking with her mentee, she will come to understand what her mentee needs, desires, and aspires to achieve—for example, supporting her mentee in learning a new skill or helping them gain insight into their strengths and limitations. She values coaching as a mentoring style. She will empower and champion her mentee to define themselves, think for themselves, speak for themselves, and most of all, advocate for themselves, helping them to reach their maximum potential. She values a mentor and mentee relationship built on mutual respect, trust, shared values, collaboration, and good communication. She is a good listener, is able to provide constructive feedback, flexible, value diverse perspectives, trustworthy, and she can inspire individuals to be the best they can be. 

Roberto RamosRoberto Ramos, PhD is an Associate Professor of Physics and Founding Director for the Center for Undergraduate Research. As the only Filipino-American professor at USciences, he is an Asian minority and carries the experience and perspective of an under-represented minority in physics and STEM. He is an immigrant and knows what it is to be under-represented in physics, in science and in American society. As a mentor, he finds opportunities for mentees and encourage and support them to pursue these opportunities and excel. He believes the best tool for survival in any environment where inequity may exist is to excel in what you do so that it is difficult for anyone to question one's abilities on the basis of the skin color, ethnicity, or gender. Moreover, a good mentor allows and encourages mentees to improve themselves and realize their full potential, beyond what they could dream of. He has previously mentored National Science Foundation and Goldwater scholars prior to coming to USciences by cultivating scientific leadership skills and communication skills through scientific conferences and educational and community outreach. At USciences, he has been an advisor to the Society of Physics Students (SPS) where his mentorship activities and outreach activities, including advising minorities and women, led to the Outstanding SPS Advisor national award in 2018 and the 2021 Greater Philadelphia Social Innovator Award (2nd place) for Community Impact.

Lynda LemischLynda Lemisch, OTD, OTR/L, CLCP, CAPS is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy. As a practicing clinician for over 34 years, she has been attuned to the individual needs and goals of the occupational therapy clients whom she has been honored to serve. This training and experience is the perfect segue being an academic mentor, a blaze for students on their academic/professional pathways. In her few years at USciences, she is proud to acknowledge her Asian heritage and her open door policy for students. She believes both have contributed to the reputation of her office as a physically and emotionally safe place for other underrepresented students, who seek guidance even as they are not officially assigned as an advisee. She works hard at immersing her pedagogy with diversity and anti-racism. As an occupational therapy faculty advisor, she believes she has been mentoring students all along as her profession trains us to think wholistically. She would be honored to be a mentor in the BLAZE program, carving out a particular niche of service. She is thinks out-of-the-box, is a creative problem solver, and is a champion of individualism and client-centered (mentee-centered) care. The exposure to a vast number of cultures, races, socioeconomics, etc. has only supported my personal mission for DEI principles in her life in general. More specifically, through mentoring, the graduate student will develop the following skills: self-advocacy, self-reflection, and life balance. In addition, the graduate student will learn how to set long-term and short-term goals with appropriate plans to achieve them, professional communication/behavior, and the utilization of resources/help. 

Allison WilliamsAllison Williams, MS, PA-C is Vice Chair and Associate Program Director and Assistant Professor in Graduate Physician Assistant Program. She is committed to assisting students in reaching their full potential. She believes that A good mentor-mentee relationship is built around understanding what the mentee needs out of the relationship. Different students require different tools to be successful. I think it is important to have conversations with the student to learn where they are at in order to help guide the student. She believes that each student is a product of their experiences and it is important to consider those experiences both in determining how you can assist as a mentor and recognizing what the student already has to offer. She sees mentoring as assisting already awesome students with the technicalities of moving forward in higher ed. In other words, assisting in acquiring the knowledge to be successful and the skills to do so. She contends that science and medicine can be enhanced and enriched by the experiences and capabilities of many people who do not necessarily have the opportunity to be successful (due to technicalities such as lack of knowledge of higher ed, not due to lack of potential or ability). She thinks that mentoring students to assist in navigating higher ed and developing the skills required to do so, can help in addressing that. She, in turn, would gain involvement in improving patient outcomes in the future by helping to make sure that diverse backgrounds are serving our community- which has been shown to improve patient outcomes. 

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