Kacia Stevenson, Student Leadership and Programs Advisor, MD Student Services

Kacia Stevenson is the Student Leadership and Programs Advisor in MD Student Services. She is from Madison, WI.

Photo of Kacia StevensonTell us about your current position.
I am an advisor to medical students surrounding student services topics, including student leaves, residency planning, student interest groups, curriculum planning, diversity, equity, and inclusion events, and away rotations.

I help lead our student leadership groups: the Medical Student Association (MSA), our student government; the Inter House Council (IHC), which helps to build community amongst students through a series of events and friendly competitions; and the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS), which recognizes students who exemplify compassionate patient care and are role models, mentors and leaders in medicine.

I am also in charge of our Visiting Student and Away Rotation program. This includes assisting our students as they attend visiting rotations at other institutions, as well as assisting students that come from other institutions to rotate with UW SMPH. Away rotations play a large role in student plans for residency. Not only does this give them more experience in their desired specialty, but it also gives them a chance to visit another institution while they make plans for applying to residency.

I am a part of the planning team for medical school events, including the white coat ceremony, match day, graduation and various career advising events. This year I am coordinating our orientation for incoming medical students. My goal is to provide a warm and welcoming environment for our students.

I am a part of a career advising team that helps students plan from M1 year to M4 year. We coordinate events to help guide students through career exploration. We also plan engaging events for students to grow and build community.

When did you start working in SMPH?
I began working at UW SMPH in 2013. My work at UW SMPH started at Family Medicine residency, followed by my current role in the medical school.

How has your work changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?
In many ways my work has stayed the same during the pandemic, except that I have been working remotely. Through virtual meeting options, I have been able to continue to meet with and advise students. The biggest changes would be to our medical school events. We had to quickly change the first-year medical student orientation to virtual. This continued throughout the year to include other major events (white coat ceremony, match day and graduation). While these changes were difficult, student services worked with the events planning team and media team to create meaningful events for students.

Can you give us an example of your typical workday?
My typical work day includes a lot of multi-tasking while performing my job duties in Student Services. I respond to emails, phone calls, and most recently virtual meetings with students to discuss various questions including school activities, leaves, and curriculum plans.

A lot of my work is relationship building, which is one of my favorite parts. I enjoy connecting with students and faculty and staff in different departments. I have several interdepartmental meetings that involve planning and coordinating student topics. Often I work with Medical education and the Wisconsin Medical Alumni Association (WMAA) to coordinate student events and interaction. I work with our events department and Media Solutions. I work with the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) to discuss student interest groups, student events and student recruitment activities. I work with our Academic and Career Advising Program (ACAP) faculty to plan career advising events and community building activities. And within student services, we regularly review student issues to come up with the best plans to help students make and meet their goals in terms of leaves, academic plans and graduation.

What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is working with students. Medical school is extremely challenging, and I am happy whenever I can make it less difficult, answer questions, and help students make future plans for residency.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
My job challenges me to continue providing input on creating a diverse and inclusive environment for students and administration.

Tell us more about your involvement with DEI initiatives in SMPH.
For students, I work on creating co-curricular activities that promote inclusivity in our school. These events are worked into orientations and house events. For our staff, I am working on creating space for employees to meet and foster a diverse inclusive workplace.

I am also a part of the Family Medicine Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee. In this committee we explore how to create a more diverse residency and medical school for learners, administration, and faculty.

Last year I joined the Committee on Academic Staff Issues (CASI). This committee explores a range of topics that are unique to UW SMPH staff including reviewing policies and procedures.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?
When I am not at work I enjoy spending time with my two kids and my dog. We are avid hikers and enjoy kayaking.

What is your favorite place to spend time in Madison? In the world?
My favorite place to spend time in Madison is at one of our many lakes. Whether I am just sitting by the lake or boating, this is where I enjoy being the most. I am a fan of warm weather and I enjoy traveling, so anywhere warm is my favorite place to be in the world.

What books, articles, or podcasts can you recommend to your SMPH colleagues?
Clever A Podcast About Design
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Our Time is Now by Stacey Abrams

Share one fact about yourself that your co-workers might not be aware of.
After taking salsa dancing lessons several years ago, it has become one of my favorite past times.

Ask yourself one more question, and then answer it.
What are your hopes for the future?
As a mother of two black children, my hopes are for an appreciation of diversity and an equitable country.

– Q&A Condensed and Edited by Laurie Silverberg, PhD