Congratulations to Kate Ryan, who received the Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Support on May 15, 2023.
Ryan has served as the graduate program manager for the Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB) since 2012. In that time, she has helped guide and support hundreds of graduate students.
Ryan loves being part of the community of people who support students across campus. “The grad coordinator community on campus is just extraordinary,” Ryan says. “We’re very supportive of each other and we’re supportive of our amazing graduate students. To be selected from that grand group of people is just such an honor.”
Ryan’s faculty nominator noted that, “as soon as a student accepts a position in the program, Kate is responsible for helping them to find their way to Madison and get prepared for the first semester of graduate school…Kate is by far the best graduate student administrator and coordinator I have encountered during my thirty-four years on campus.”
“I want to support [the graduate students] in any way that I can,” says Ryan, “whether it’s encouraging them to allow space for the opportunities around them or just listening to their personal and professional stories.”
Ryan especially enjoys attending each student’s thesis defense. Her role means getting to know the students’ goals, trials, and successes, and she sees the effort that goes into each degree.
In 2022, Ryan got to experience a thesis defense as a different kind of supporter — a parent. Her son, who is now a postdoctoral fellow at the NIH, earned his PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from the University at Albany.
“I always wondered what it was like for the parents, and now I know!” says Ryan. “I felt so proud of my son. And I feel proud of all of the students. They’re the ones doing all the driving. I just help to keep them in the right lane.”
IPiB students know how much she cares. Ryan’s faculty nominator included testimonials from students such as, “Her calm, relaxed approach has been an anchor against tumultuous times” and “Her door is always open for all of us, and we are all thankful for that, because without Kate, I don’t know how the program would go on.”
Congratulations — and thank you — to Kate!