Ann Kimble-Hill, PhD, won the won the American Chemical Society National Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences for her work with the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) K12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program. Kimble-Hill has mentored more than 60 high school and undergraduate students, more than half of which came from diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds.
“My purpose for having a career in academia was to reverse the trend that was reflected in my training experience – a visible lack of STEM educators and investigators that looked and identified like me. I’m grateful that this award gives voice to that need and recognized my strides to reverse that trend,” said Kimble-Hill, assistant research professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at IU School of Medicine. “So many of my students have just needed someone to take a chance on them, help reduce their imposter syndrome, give them opportunities to shine and build their confidence. Those are the true barriers to learning and skill building. As we cross those hurdles, I try to provide a safe place for them to build a scientific identity and hunger to solve the problems that face our communities.”
Kimble-Hill is also the assistant director of diversity, equity and inclusion at the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the IUPUI Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (IPREP) coordinator, IPREP helps prepare recent college graduates from underrepresented minority or disadvantaged populations for admission to graduate programs in the biomedical sciences. She was nominated by Kathy Marrs, PhD, interim executive associate dean of the Honors College at IUPUI.
“Six of her most recent peer reviewed publications have undergraduate first authors, with ten total undergraduate student authors, and one Project SEED high school author,” said Marrs. “Most of her mentees have gone on to post-graduate work, including medical school, PhD programs, and careers in the chemical sciences and engineering. Ann’s generosity with her time and attention, her success in developing students’ scientific thinking skills, and her tireless efforts to create a more inclusive academic culture, provide important benefits to not only the scientific community but also society as a whole.”
One of Kimble-Hill’s mentees, L’eCelia Hall, first met her as part of a summer research program and scholarship program for non-traditional students at Ivy Tech. At the time, she was a single mother nearing 30, but wanted to finish her degree. With Kimble-Hill’s support and encouragement, Hall was able to transfer to IUPUI and secured a job at BASF, a leading company in the chemical industry, after graduation.
“Dr. Ann Kimble-Hill is a mentor, a teacher, a motivator, and one of my biggest inspirations,” said Hall. “She helped me realize what I was capable of and reach my true potential and taught me the true value of a strong work ethic. I currently work as a chemist at Milliken and Company’s research campus in South Carolina. I was chosen for this position because my research with Dr. Kimble-Hill made me stand out. This is all because she took a chance on me and provided me with an opportunity that I might not have had otherwise.”
Kimble-Hill has been a mentor for the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) K12 STEM program for nine years. Elmer Sanders, who is the director of the program, said her dedication and long-standing commitment set her apart from other mentors.
“Although Ann has impacted all 15 students she mentored over the summers, she made a special impact on the 12 girls from an African-American background who really identified with her as a role model,” said Sanders, who is also the program coordinator for the ACS Indiana Section Project SEED Program in Indianapolis. “Furthermore, I believe that receiving this award will motivate her even further, elevate her visibility in the scientific community, and encourage others to also engage in Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences.”
The award was sponsored by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.