By the University of Utah MUSE Project

Knatokie Ford, a dynamic advocate for women in STEM, will visit the U on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. Ford will speak on “Conquering the Imposter Syndrome” at the Crocker Science Center, Room 208, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. A reception will follow. The event is free, and students are encouraged to arrive early.

Ford’s visit is sponsored by the University of Utah MUSE Project as part of its theme year on empowerment. MUSE, which stands for My U Signature Experience, is a presidential initiative dedicated to enriching the culture of undergraduate education at the U by connecting students with inspiring opportunities and people. The theme of empowerment is explored in this year’s centerpiece text, “Hidden Figures,” which will be the focus of a keynote presentation in March.

“Dr. Ford personifies empowerment,” said Libby Henriksen, MUSE program manager. “She has designed a remarkable life for herself so far, fueled by her individuality, her passion for science and her determination to turn obstacles into opportunities. She does what many of us at the university aim to do: She recognizes and honors her own inner strengths, and she uses them to build a more expansive world for herself and others.”

Ford is known for her work confronting the “imposter syndrome,” which produces debilitating self-doubt in many successful people, especially women. Those who suffer from it feel they lack the ability and talent clearly indicated by their achievements. They regard themselves as undeserving when promoted or recognized, and in their professional work they often feel like frauds who will inevitably be “found out” by others.

This experience was Ford’s own, and it led her to leave Harvard University, where she was studying as a doctoral candidate. She later returned to complete her degree in experimental pathology, and she has gone on to serve as a science advisor in the Obama administration and to found an organization called “Fly Sci Enterprise,” which brings “the ‘cool’ and relatable aspects of STEM” to the next generation of innovators, according to its website.

“This is going to be a luminous moment for our campus,” said Mark Matheson, MUSE director. “We can’t wait to meet Dr. Ford, and we believe students will find her personal example and vision truly inspiring.”

For more information about Ford’s visit, please contact MUSE at 801-587-3172.