A healing touch

Nicole Sitkin

Nicole Sitkin

Position: Research writer

Unit: Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory

Nicole Sitkin has a healing touch — already.

UC Davis named her its 2013 University Medalist as the top graduating senior. She is calling attention to the special role diversity has in issues like health care.

Sitkin, who earned a bachelor's degree in neurobiology, physiology and behavior from UC Davis, is bound for medical school to become a clinician-researcher and study the interaction of basic biology and human experience.

First as an undergraduate and now working at the university's School of Medicine as a staff member, Sitkin is already making contributions to medical research and helping address disparities in health care, especially for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations.

“I want to explore scientific puzzles, but also to challenge health disparities, revealing more about their causes and potential solutions,” said Sitkin, who is a junior specialist in the UC Davis surgery department's Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory.

“The thing that really stands out for me about UC Davis is the mentorship and collaboration that goes on. People are willing to take the time to teach you if you want to take the time to learn,” Sitkin says.

“I have people say, ‘You can do it.’ I used to not know how to write grants. Now I write grants all the time. ‘You better believe it,’ is what I say when faced with a challenge. I had people help me out; now, I help people out.”