29 Jan 2015

Mentor: M. Catherine Lee
Recognized by: Chantal Renya

As the previous breast fellow at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, I have had the privilege of working with Dr. M. Catherine Lee from the very beginning of the year. Dr. Lee has provided guidance on clinical and research aspects throughout the year me. I had never written a manuscript before and under her guidance I had three manuscripts accepted for publication. She had the time, patience and dedication to teach me and guide me throughout the process.

She met with me on a weekly basis and more as needed. She even met with me outside of the hospital, including at coffee shops at 8pm and in her home on the weekends. She never once made me feel like an inconvenience. Under her guidance, I had two abstracts and poster presentations accepted, and three manuscripts accepted for publication. A vast improvement from where I started. She also provided me guidance in career decisions. She sparked my interest in an academic career with research, and as a result I have become a breast surgeon at University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center.

In addition, she has taught me new surgical techniques and critical thinking. If this were all, she would still be an outstanding mentor; however she has done more. When I first moved to Tampa, I had recently undergone a divorce. It was a hard time for me: moving to a new place, without any family, without any friends and newly divorced after a 12 year relationship. She gave me emotional support and made me feel welcome. She provided me a new home: a place to feel secure and to grow freely. My year would not have been the same without her. She is a strong, intelligent, brilliant surgeon who I would be proud to be half as good as she is. May I someday provide the same intellectual and emotional mentorship to someone else as she has provided for me.

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