Kathylin Mei Li Hester is a 2019 graduate of the M.S. in Cell Systems and Anatomy program (Anatomical Sciences Track). She is now attending dental school at UT Health San Antonio.
1) When did you first become interested in science?
4th grade when we started learning basic anatomy of the heart. The entire unit on human anatomy was fascinating to me as a child.
2) Why did you pick The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and your program?
I have always loved San Antonio from a young age. My brother-in-law went to physician assistant school here about 13 years ago and that had a huge influence on my decision to come to UT Health San Antonio. I chose my graduation program because this was one of the few programs that incorporated cadaveric dissections with teaching opportunities! After completing graduate school, I decided to stay here for dental school because I loved the faculty and environment of UT Health San Antonio.
3) Tell me more about your career path.
My career path was discovered in a roundabout full-circle kind of way. I started off college wanted be a dentist, then switched to a physician assistant and then wanting to be a professor of anatomical education. My passion for anatomical education is what inspired my choice to go to graduate school at UT Health San Antonio. In all honesty, I realized after I finished graduate school and worked as an anatomy lab assistant at The University of Incarnate Word School of Medicine that I a) didn’t want to dissect for the rest of my life and b) did not want to move out of state. I decided to take a leap of faith and apply to dental school and two years later, here I am.
4) Tell me about your current career, what do you do?
Currently I am a dental school at UT Health San Antonio. I plan to practice general dentistry and eventually establish a career in academia.
5) What is a day like in your job?
I’m a student so I usually am in lab or lecture. I work out for breaks or hangout with loved ones!
6) How did the education you get at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio prepare you?
My graduate program prepared me the most for dental school. I learned not only didactic material but also how to survive/thrive in an academic environment.
7) What is the most challenging part of your work?
The lab work. It’s hard to transfer a picture you have in your mind to a physical object.
8) What is the most rewarding part of your work?
The lab work! It’s hard work, but when you do it well, it really is so rewarding.
9) What has been your proudest achievement?
Academically, my proudest achievement is helping hundreds of students achieve their professional goals through surviving or ace-ing anatomy! I’m also pretty proud of being a published twice based on my thesis work!
10) What would you tell a current student interested in your career? Any advice?
Don’t be afraid to be a non-traditional student. Every person has their own timeline and yours doesn’t have to mirror theirs. You gain your own experiences and in doing so become unique!
11) What do you like to do outside of work?
I love to workout and hang out with loved ones!
12) Growing up, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a pediatrician for a good part of my life!
13) Who has influenced you the most in life?
My parents. Their selflessness is a guiding tenet of my life.
14) What is your favorite quote and why?
“The power is in the balance: we are our injuries, as much as we are our successes.” Barbara Kingsolver
15) If you were stranded on a deserted island, what one band or musician would help keep your sanity?
16) What do you consider your favorite hobby?
Reading. Fun fact: one summer break during college, I read 100 books!
17) If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be?
My nana! She is still living, but I love visiting with her and wish I could do it more.
18) If you won the lottery, what would you do?
Pay off my student debt. LOL
19) If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Travel to all of the National Parks!
20) If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Breakfast food – eggs and bacon!
21) Which authors or books have influenced you the most?
The Little House on the Prairie Series and Harry Potter. Is my millennial-ness showing?
22) Tell us something about yourself that otherwise we wouldn’t know or guess.
I’m the 4th of 5 siblings but there is a 18+ year age gap between me and my 3 older siblings!