FSU MED Magazine Fall 2020, Vol. 16 Fall 2020 - Page 20


RESEARCHER , TEACHER , LEADER , INNOVATOR The James D . Westcott Distinguished Service Medal is named after Florida State ’ s first benefactor . The recipient must be a person whose distinguished service merits exceptional recognition and whose life and work exemplify Vires , Artes , Mores – the strength , skill and character that the university seeks to nurture in its students . These excerpts from Senior Associate Dean Alma Littles ’ nomination letter cite Hurt ’ s achievements in four areas .
∑ “ The research program directed by Dr . Hurt has produced several key discoveries and many outstanding scientists . She established her research program at FSU in the 1990s with funding from the NSF , the NIH and the American Cancer Society . She was a member of a collaborative team that in 2002 published the Molecular Biology of the Cell Paper of the Year – which has now been cited nearly 1,000 times . In addition , her basic research has led to patent applications and the licensing of one of her discoveries to Millipore Corp .”
∑ “ At the College of Medicine , Dr . Hurt also led the effort in 2010 to establish the Translational Science Laboratory , a state-of-the-art facility designed to take advantage of our distributed clinical education model and contribute to advances in genetic and epigenetic determinants of disease and response to disease therapy .”
∑ “ Dr . Hurt often jokes that her early days of teaching middle school biology more than prepared her for the
challenges of teaching undergraduate , graduate and medical students . She initially taught biochemistry in Florida State ’ s Program in Medical Sciences . Those students were in their first year of medical school before transferring to the University of Florida to complete their M . D . training . After the founding of our medical school , she taught microbiology to secondyear students . Dr . Hurt has received a number of teaching awards , including the Recognition for Excellence in Honors Program Teaching in 2000 .”
∑ “ You can learn a lot about a teacher by looking at her students . In her lab , Dr . Hurt has mentored 27 undergraduate DIS students , many of whom have served as authors on papers , won research awards and gone on to graduate or professional school . In addition to graduate classroom education , she has served on 58 graduate student committees and mentored 13 of her own Ph . D . graduate students , many of whom now hold tenure-track faculty positions . In addition , most of the graduates from the PIMS program and the early classes in the College of Medicine credit Dr . Hurt with their success .”
∑ “ As director of the formerly struggling PIMS program , Dr . Hurt led it back to excellence . She put sound scholastic principles , a holistic admissions process and true concern for each student ’ s success into action . As a result , the pass rate on the USMLE Step 1 licensing exam rose from 50 % to 95 %.”


Childhood taught me to be tough . We weren ’ t fancy people . My dad was shot in a hunting accident and couldn ’ t work for two years . We got help from neighbors and family , but the kids at school made fun of me because of the things I had to do without . That ’ s where I got this smart mouth of mine . At the same time , though , my mom was a faithful churchgoer . So was I until about 18 . I was in church eight days a week . I was best in my class at memorizing Scripture . The Baptist church left me when it embraced far-right politics , but the Christian ethic remained alive inside me : to help the poor , the elderly , the overlooked , those who didn ’ t believe they had a chance in this world . That ’ s why , when I encountered [ FSU ’ s Program in Medical Sciences ], it seemed like such a perfect fit . Then PIMS became a medical school that also reached out to those who didn ’ t believe they had a chance . Look at what they ’ ve done with that chance we gave them . To view a digital copy of the book , go to med . fsu . edu / BreakingTheMold