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Rising Leaders: Kiana Williams

By Kylie Gray

Kiana Williams - Drexel Chemistry Student
Photo by Charles Shan Cerrone


January 25, 2019

BA Chemistry ’19
Minor in Biological Sciences

Kiana Williams has conducted research on cancer-causing enzyme misregulation, engaged patients in programming at a children’s hospital, and cared for infants with severe medical conditions. A mentor to underprivileged middle school students, Williams is a strong believer in inspiring people to work together — a motivation that underlies her goal of becoming a medical doctor.

Leadership Highlights

  • President, Drexel African Fusion Dance Team
  • Conducted research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an HHMI Exceptional Research Opportunity Program Fellow
  • Developed education and dance programs aimed at improving neurocognition in Alzheimer’s patients

On Expanding Diversity in STEM:

“There are not many people of color in my major. I try to get others interested in STEM by volunteering for departmental open houses and by serving as a mentor to young students of color. If we introduce these students to STEM now, we will have more underrepresented minorities at the forefront of scientific research and medical innovation in the future.”

On Stepping Up As A Leader:

“I took on my first leadership role toward the end of my freshman year when I was approached to help reestablish Drexel’s West Indian Student Establishment (WISE) as secretary for the organization. Three years later, WISE is stronger than ever, revitalized as a home away from home for Drexel students who identify as West Indian, Caribbean, Caribbean-American, and lovers of the Caribbean.”

On A Lesson Learned at Drexel:

“Drexel has taught me to remain self-motivated in the face of stress and obstacles. I’ve learned to take charge of my education and manage my time to optimize what I am able to accomplish.”

How She Plans to Change the World:

By providing high-quality medical care to children in underserved communities as a pediatrician or pediatric surgeon

* This article originally appeared in the College of Arts and Sciences' Ask magazine feature story, “Rising Leaders.” For more Ask stories, visit