For this week’s Wednesday Woman, AY About You chats with Little Rock native Summer Khairi.
She went to high school at Mount St. Mary Academy and completed her degree at UAMS in nuclear medicine.
“Right now, I’m an assistant professor and clinical coordinator in the College of Health Professions at UAMS,” Khairi says. “But my future goal is to be the program director in the Nuclear Medicine Department.”
She is heavily involved in volunteering with the 20th Century Club and Harmony Health Clinic. When not working or volunteering, Khairi plays multiple sports, taking up tennis during the pandemic and is currently the “only woman in a men’s basketball league.”
For Khairi, being a woman is about strength through relationships.
“Women with strength can overcome societal norms and adversity. As a woman, you have to try a little bit harder to make it,” she says. “I really, really believe in building relationships. I do that by listening to people, and being there when they need me.”
Khairi has faced challenges as a woman in business. She discusses her first job out of college in a male-dominated environment.
“When you get out of college you think that everyone’s going to be there for you and want you to do well,” Khairi says. “One of the male supervisors came up to me and said ‘Why are you trying to better yourself? You’re just going to be here for the rest of your life.’ I worked harder, and after I got my Masters, I started looking for a different job.”
Khairi adds, “I knew that through hard work and by not getting down from those comments, that I could become more than he thought that I would be.”
She offers some advice to other women who might be facing hardships.
“First, I would tell someone to find something that you’re very passionate about and work very hard, and then everything else will fall into place. Second, find one or two mentors who can help you. Whether personally or professionally, mentors who are eager to help you can better you. You’d be surprised just how many people actually want to help you.”