Taking the Road Less Traveled
By: Tiffany Walker
Alumna Kathryn Wekselman, PhD, took a few turns on her way to becoming a nurse, but she hasn’t looked back. She first earned a degree in art history, then moved on to a master’s in librarianship. After only a few years, she found herself looking for a more satisfying career and chose to return to school for a bachelor’s in nursing at the University of Cincinnati.
“I wanted something more challenging and more satisfying, and it was wonderful,” says Dr. Wekselman. “The courses were really difficult, there was so much to learn and the program was rigorous, but it taught me a ton.”
After receiving her bachelor’s, Dr. Wekselman worked as a staff nurse in labor and delivery at The Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati. Later, she moved on to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Kentucky, where she served as a perinatal nurse educator, leading education programs on labor and delivery, postpartum depression, breastfeeding and other pediatric topics.
Her interests led her to go back to UC to pursue a master’s degree in women’s health, but she soon switched to the PhD in Nursing Research program, a relatively new program at the time.
Leveraging her research skills in a different environment, Dr. Wekselman spent the next nine years after graduation at Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, working her way up from a medical writer to an assistant project leader in women’s health. Since then, she has worked for other pharmaceutical companies, including Camargo Pharmaceutical Services as Senior Director of Research Services, and Kendle International Inc. as Director of Regulatory Consulting and Submissions.
Now the Senior Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs at CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services, a global company based in Covington, Ky., she works closely with pharmaceutical companies, consulting on the development of new medications.
“I like researching a wide variety of things to keep learning, and to keep work interesting,” she explains. “Right now, I am doing an increasing amount of work on cell and gene therapies, which involve a lot of cutting-edge science and are tackling some important, unmet therapeutic needs.”
"I like researching a wide variety of things to keep learning, and to keep work interesting." — Kathryn Wekselman, PhD, '99
Dr. Wekselman is in charge of writing documents for pharmaceutical companies to submit to the FDA and other regulatory agencies around the world. Working from the earliest phases of drug development, she often helps design the program of clinical studies and write the protocol.
“I am lucky that I can listen to the news and hear about things that I contributed a little piece to with my work for new cures for people with cancer, or genetic diseases,” Dr. Wekselman says.
One of the best things about nursing is that the scope knowledge is broad and can be applied in various ways. Having a nursing degree helped me learn about different diseases and treatments, but it also taught me about research and how to think and act critically and systematically,” she continues.
With so much experience, she hopes to transition her role to become more of a mentor or advisor.
“I hope to contribute in more ways to the profession of nursing and the cohorts of nurses that are coming along behind me,” she says.