Featured Women Leaders: Aliyah Gillespie

In October we celebrated National Business Women’s Week and the Career Center reached out to several female campus leaders to ask about their experiences and seek out their advice. Today we feature junior Aliyah Gillespie, a Health Sciences major from Belleville, Illinois. Aliyah is Vice President of the Epsilon Psi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Treasurer of M.A.P.S. (Minority Association of Pre-Health Students), Student Researcher for the MU Hospital Emergency Department, and mentor at Centro Latino de Salud.

Why do you think it’s important for women to hold leadership roles?
“I think it’s important for women to have leadership roles because we typically bring a different perspective to the table. Also, we haven’t always had the opportunity to hold leadership roles so it’s important that we take advantage of leadership opportunities.”

What experience have you had in your field so far and do you think that being a woman has affected or influenced them?
“I spent a month in Peru where I was able to work on public health initiatives, spent time in Honduras translating for a doctor, and giving medical care. This upcoming winter break, I’ll be spending time in the Dominican Republic teaching English and promoting public health.”

Who have your mentors and champions been and do you have any advice for other women looking at careers in health sciences?
“My number one mentor is my mom. She’s my biggest cheerleader, and she’s shown me what hard work and dedication looks like. A mentor in my field has been Dr. Braudis. She’s been super helpful on my journey to applying for medical schools. Advice: Network and be open minded to new opportunities. The more leadership experience you can get now while in college, the better. You never know who you might encounter or what past experience will help you in your future.”

What do you love about your major and how do you feel like you are playing to your strengths?
“I love the versatility of my major. There are so many career paths I can pursue with a health sciences degree. I chose to minor in Spanish because I love languages, I love learning about new cultures, and I love to travel. My biggest strength is having the ability to connect with people and build relationships. In my career field, I’m constantly interacting with people and working in team environments, so having people skills is crucial.”