Kean’s American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) is a campus chapter of the national organization that aims to accelerate women in medical fields and increase the overall health of women. The organization was founded in 1915 and has been active at Kean for approximately three years.
Kyra Hughes, a senior biology major with a concentration in health professions, is serving her first term as president this semester after serving as secretary in spring 2018. She originally joined the club as a general body member in 2017 after being recruited by her genetics professor at the time.
In the few weeks that school has been in session, Hughes and the rest of her team have worked hard to lead the organization to considerable progress.
“We have recruited over 20 members within the first week of the semester. We have arranged for various events including breast cancer talks, suicide health awareness and a coined 'Women in Science' event,” Hughes said. “We have also gotten the attention of the national leads in the American Medical Women’s Association, and they are looking to help us expand regionally.”
The organization is already planning more events for the upcoming future in order to further the success they’ve achieved thus far.
“We hope to make this year a standing ovation for our organization. We aim to get our names out there further on the campus,” Hughes said.
Hughes feels that the actions of her organization are more important than ever as women attempt to navigate a field that has been historically dominated by men.
“Today, women feel discouraged to show advancement within their field due to lack of support and encouragement. AMWA has helped women in science with things as simple as graduate applications, MCAT payments and prep, etc. The world is changing and for women, we must change with it,” Hughes said.
She also believes that the worlds of medicine and health in general can only benefit from more female brains joining the ranks.
“Women study science but there are not enough women in the field of research and development. Cures and treatments need to be discovered for the advancement of the human race and who better to help that than women themselves,” Hughes said. “Knowledge about health in general is important, and AMWA provides information about both males and females.”
While the organization is dedicated to the advancement of women, Hughes wanted to stress that membership in the AMWA is open to both men and women alike.
"Believe it or not, last year we had one male join AMWA and served on the e-board as the vice president,” Hughes said.
After graduating, Hughes plans on taking the GRE and possibly the MCAT. She believes that being part of AMWA has benefited her in invaluable ways, both in the academic and social realms.
“I’ve gained a family, I’ve gained confidence and I’ve gained knowledge,” Hughes said. “I have a place that I can help other women progress at my school and in their futures. I can do more as a president than I have ever done as a regular college student.”
To join the AMWA or learn more about the organization, please visit their page on Cougar Link.