Doeun Kim

Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate 2027
University of Texas at Austin
AWIS member since 2021

Doeun Kim

What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?

The importance of communication and care that integrates diverse team members into one.

What do you consider to be your most important career achievement or milestone?

I had a great research opportunity at Laboratory of Membrane Protein Regulation, Sungkyunkwan University. I worked on G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) in Alzheimer’s Disease: Beta-site APP Cleaving Enzyme (BACE1) Related GPCRs. Focusing on the drug discovery aspect on targeting BACE1 enzyme, our team utilized different types of GPCR receptors to develop new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease. Through this internship opportunity, I learned a lot about the drug discovery process in the laboratory and deeper understanding of their biochemical mechanisms.

What do you aspire to accomplish in your career and why? What obstacles will you overcome?

I aim to provide comfort and care for my future patients through customized medical formulations and treatments that are best for patients. Through studying the use of G protein-coupled receptors to target BACE1 enzymes, I hope to develop new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease with my fellow researchers.

As an international student, you don’t only struggle with language and educational barriers. Work restrictions prevent international students from working off campus. I had a very difficult time finding work. Continuously searching for campus job opportunities, I ultimately worked in six different positions over the last three years. 

In the fall of 2021, I worked as a peer-led undergraduate study coordinator for a genetic honors course. I also worked as a tutor for organic chemistry, biochemistry, and biology at the Sanger Learning Center, University of Texas at Austin. In the beginning of 2022, I started working as an undergraduate course assistant (UGCA) for the biochemistry and laboratory practice. This organic chemistry and biochemistry background led to a great internship offer from the laboratory of membrane protein regulation at Sungkyunkwan University. Here, I studied the use of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to target BACE1 enzymes in order to develop new drugs for Alzheimer’s Disease. Recently I started working at Sanger Learning Center as a Supplemental Instruction academic assistant (AA).

I also volunteered in different laboratories and organizations for experience in pharmacy. I worked as a hospital volunteer at CHA Bundang Medical Center at the division of artificial nephrology where I shadowed nurses and other health care providers. I have been volunteering at the Alzheimer’s Association since spring 2021, where I provide social, emotional, and educational support to Alzheimer’s patients. I also worked as research mentor for DIY diagnostic stream, as well as COVID-19 contact tracer at the Dell Medical School during the COVID pandemic.

Though these experiences are not directly related to pharmacy, they have made me even more prepared for my future as a hospital pharmacist. Through working as a research intern in two different laboratories, I was able to gain an in-depth understanding of pharmacology and the biochemical mechanism behind each drug discovery procedure. Work experience as a support group facilitator for the Alzheimer’s Association as well as a nurse shadow at a hospital helped me gain a better understanding of different medical and hospital services. My experience as a tutor, peer coordinator, cultural commentator, and teacher’s assistant further developed my communication skills.

I consider my special life circumstances to be a gift. They gave me opportunities for work and learning experiences that built a great foundation for becoming a hospital pharmacist.

How was AWIS helped you professionally and/or personally?

I have been involved in the AWIS student organization at University of Texas at Austin since my freshman year of undergraduate (currently referred as SAGES). Through this opportunity, I found great connections to many women in the natural science field who had similar goals in health care and research. Through these connections, I began to grow more confident and professional. By meeting different speakers in the organization meeting, I was able to broaden my insight into women in STEM. I am so thankful for my connection to AWIS during my undergraduate education because it helped me become a confident person.

What is your favorite word? (only one word)

Explorer

How has this word influenced or inspired your career?

I am an explorer. I constantly seek new opportunities that will challenge me and help me grow to be a better professional. I love to join competitions, conferences, and forums, all of which are places to challenge myself. I love being involved in a lot of different extracurricular activities outside of school. For example, I am currently volunteering at Alzheimer’s Association to provide emotional and social support to patients, as well as speak in front of large audiences to increase public awareness about dementia. I hope to continuously explore the large number of opportunities in this STEM society to broaden my perspective.

Doeun Kim is a recent graduate from University of Texas at Austin with Bachelor of Science Biochemistry degree. Starting in the fall of 2023, she will pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy from the College of Pharmacy at University of Texas at Austin. Doeun is passionate about working in healthcare as a future pharmacist, as well as drug development research in Alzheimer’s disease. She has been involved in multiple drug discovery research at Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea, and DIY Diagnostic stream at University of Texas at Austin. She dreams of developing a drug that can significantly relieve symptoms of Alzheimer’s as well as the struggles that patients face.