Four from UC Davis Health selected for UC Women’s Initiative for Professional Development program

Rice, Ripplinger, Singhal and Wong to network with women from across UC


Four women from UC Davis Health – along with eight women from the Davis campus – have been selected to participate in the 2020 UC Women’s Initiative for Professional Development (UC WI) program.

Kathryn Wong (left) and Ranjana Singhal
Kathryn Wong (left) and Ranjana Singhal

Elizabeth Rice, Crystal Ripplinger, Ranjana Singhal and Kathryn Wong will join other mid-career women from across the UC system for four days of in-person networking, opportunities to connect with leadership and the development of professional skills and tools. For 2020, there were four cohorts selected, each comprising 30 participants – faculty, academic personnel and staff – with potential to contribute to the success of UC and their peers.

“I was honored to not only be nominated but to be chosen from such an esteemed group of professionals,” said Singhal, a development engineer in Clinical Engineering.

Similarly, Wong, a business systems analyst in Information Technology, said she was “humbled and incredibly excited” for the opportunity to expand her knowledge of career development opportunities while sharpening and expanding her skillset.

“This is a wonderful opportunity and program that I am very happy to be a part of,” Wong said.

For busy academics like Ripplinger, an associate professor of pharmacology, UC WI offers a rare chance to dedicate focused time for the development of leadership skills that might otherwise go neglected.

“Participation in structured and formal leadership training will allow me to hone and practice a new set of skills that would otherwise be difficult to acquire in my normal day-to-day activities as a scientist and faculty member,” said Ripplinger, who also serves as vice chair for research and administration in the Department of Pharmacology.

In addition to bolstering their skills and confidence, UC WI offers ample opportunities for participants to cultivate their professional network across every UC location.

Crystal Ripplinger (left) and Elizabeth Rice
Crystal Ripplinger (left) and Elizabeth Rice

“As an educator, I’m always excited about meeting new people and learning with others,” said Rice, associate dean of student and faculty success at the Betty Irene More School of Nursing. “This program will allow me to meet a like-minded group of women who may add to the cadre of women and men who have challenged me to consider leadership roles.”

Those positive interpersonal relationships are particularly important because a prominent component of UC WI is the ongoing support of other women in leadership positions. Ripplinger said that while there is “relative gender parity” in many STEM disciplines throughout the training stages, the number of women “drops off dramatically” at the full-professor level and in academic leadership roles.

“It is my hope that networking and educational opportunities such as UC WI will help me overcome this nationwide trend, pursue my career goals in academic medicine and work to promote diversity in my field,” she said.

Rice emphasized how her UC WI experience will help her guide nurse-leaders through the “imposter syndrome issue” and open up leadership pathways in a more intentional manner – especially for underrepresented groups.

“Although women leading in nursing is not uncommon, we continue to struggle to diversify to have more women of color and differently abled women in leadership positions,” Rice explained. “This needs to start early in women’s academic careers, to help them see the potential within themselves to be leaders in nursing and other health professional roles.”

Encouraging others in their leadership development is just one way the participants hope to express their thanks and gratitude for UC WI, which is sponsored by the UC Office of the President and the Systemwide Advisory Committee on the Status of Women (SACSW) and offered by Systemwide Human Resources in partnership with Coro Northern California and SACSW.

“It’s a privilege to work collaboratively with multidisciplinary individuals at UC Davis Health,” Singhal said. “My professional goals are well-supported here, and I am inspired to reciprocate the same for others at UC and in the communities I’m a part of.”