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Kiran Mathew recognized for exemplary academic achievements at UNLV graduation ceremony

Undergraduate Honors College student Kiran Mathew has a resume that threatens to rival established professionals in her field.

Kiran Mathew, B.S. in Biology with Honors,  was among the nearly 2,000 to walk across the Thomas & Mack Center stage at UNLV’s Winter Commencement.

During the ceremony, UNLV President Len Jessup continued a tradition of highlighting outstanding graduates, Kiran being one of the three students, who have excelled in the classroom, are engaged in the community, and/or who have overcome personal adversity to succeed.

In a short time, the aspiring pediatric cardiologist has amassed co-authorship credit on three research articles in a top peer-reviewed science journal, volunteered at three hospitals, and worked with UNLV’s Nevada Institute for Personalized Medicine (NIPM) team on patent-pending research related to a new HIV genetic screening technology and a potential cure — all while maintaining a 3.6 GPA and working part-time sales jobs.

“I’ve always been interested in becoming a doctor,” said Mathew, who grew up listening to stories about her late grandfather, who was one of the first reconstructive surgeons in the Indian Army.

“That kind of inspired me toward the medical field,” Mathew said, “and, as I got older, my mother encouraged me to pursue that interest. Once I started volunteering with doctors here and seeing the patients they’re actually helping, that really solidified the desire in me to become a physician.”

Mathew has received outside funding from two highly competitive organizations: A summer research fellowship from the National Institutes of Health and a grant from Sigma Xi.

The biology major’s knack for public speaking has shone around campus and the community during the keynote address for the 2015 undergraduate research fair, various UNLV symposium and poster presentations, and media interviews regarding her work at NIPM. Mathew is completing a paid internship with the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, where she is working on a comparative analysis of the state’s economic incentives to regional economic competitors.

After graduation, she plans to add to her strong resume by gaining clinical experience as as an emergency room technician and working at NIPM while she applies to medical school. And she’s considering pursuing a master’s degree in public health during the 18 months before her next round of schooling begins.

Mathew also credits Natasa Mihic, a local pediatrician she shadowed; NIPM executive director and life sciences professor Martin Schiller; and various other doctors, professors and colleagues she has met along the way with helping to map out her path.

“The biggest thing that I’m taking away is that mentorship is extremely important to education. I think my ability to reach out to successful people who have been through what I’m going through and have the same dreams I have is extremely important in motivating you to get the most out of your education,” she said. “I wouldn’t have gotten a better research education elsewhere because the mentors I had were just so great.”

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