DEI Faculty Spotlight - Kristine DeLeon-Pennell, Ph.D.

Natalie Wilson
December 29, 2021
Dr. Kristine DeLeon Pennell

As part of the Department of Medicine’s goal to promote a departmental culture that values and honors diversity, equity, and inclusion, we’re “spotlighting” DOM faculty, trainees and staff who are engaged in academic and community work that supports diversity, equity and inclusion.

Read an interview below featuring Kristine DeLeon-Pennell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Division of Cardiology. DeLeon-Pennell shares why she decided to take an active role in DEI initiatives and what she hopes to achieve through her work. 

Kristine DeLeon-Pennell, Ph.D.

"I have always felt that it is my responsibility as a Hispanic woman to act as a role model and encourage minorities to become involved in science. I have served as a judge for multiple science fairs including at MUSC's Research Day every year since I joined as a faculty member in 2018. In addition, I have been invited to speak to high school students in both Texas and Mississippi including at the Sykes Boys and Girls Club of Jackson and at Van Vleck, Comal, and Clinton High Schools.

When I first joined MUSC, I became the Community Outreach Chair for the MUSC Women Scholars Initiative. As Outreach Chair, I organized five different events during a two-year period. Due to COVID, however, many of my outreach plans were put on hold. More recently, I was featured on Scintica’s “Under the Microscope” podcast blog. I believe discussions about my experiences and what I’ve learned from my failures and successes is crucial to encourage students and trainees who are interested in science careers. It is my goal to continuously serve my community and serve as a role model for the new generation of minority researchers.

In addition to my K-12 outreach, I have been active in national committees, including serving as the Communications Chair for the Translational Physiology Interest Group. As such, I have made a concerted effort to highlight the achievements of many of my peers by adding a “kudos” section to our biannual newsletters. I believe it’s important to continuously remind ourselves that is okay to stand on the sidelines and cheer on others and their achievements. I also served as a representative for the American Physiological Society (APS) at the 2015 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). At ABRCMS, I moderated the session “Networking in Your Field: Physiology” and served as a judge for submitted abstracts and posters.

While research may be my career, being an example for future scientists is my passion."

“It is my goal to continuously serve my community and serve as a role model for the new generation of minority researchers. ”