Mentoring Moments: Dr. So Hyun "Sophy" Kim

Dr. So Hyun “Sophy” Kim runs the ASD & Developmental Science Lab at Weill Cornell Medicine. Working with the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain (CADB), her government funded clinical research focuses on examining developmental and behavioral patterns such as academic achievement and executive function in children with ASD, while combining cutting edge behavioral and electrophysiological measures.

While Dr. Kim is on the forefront of novel assessment tools and outcome measures for ASD, she is also dedicated to her role as a mentor for young researchers.

As trainees in academia, Claire Klein and Hannah Thomas, both senior researchers in Dr. Kim’s lab, know that good mentorship is invaluable. Dr. Kim has proven to be no exception to this understanding.

“From the beginning, Dr. Kim has gone above and beyond to nurture our scientific and clinical interests and skills. Additionally, Dr. Kim has the rare ability to make our trainee-mentor relationship feel symbiotic, a quality that instills us all with an assurance that we are doing meaningful work,” say Claire and Hannah.

Hannah, Claire, Dr. Sophy Kim

From left to right: Hannah Thomas, Claire Klein, Dr. Sophy Kim

Jackie, a new research assistant in Dr. Kim’s lab, says, “From the time of my interview, Dr. Sophy Kim took the time to learn about me as a researcher, clinician, and human being. She caters my experiences toward my future goals which allows for so much learning and growth each day.”

One of the most important qualities in a scientific mentor is guiding young researchers to become independent scientists with intellectual curiosity. Dr. Kim allows her research assistants the academic freedom to maximize their productivity as team players while simultaneously honing their independent skills.

“She allows us to embark on the research process from the most nitty-gritty hands-on duties to the big-picture theoretical framework. Moreover, she continually challenges us to take on new duties and get out of our comfort zone for the purpose of our professional growth,” say Claire and Hannah.

Sophy Kim Lab Team

Dr. Sophy Kim (bottom middle) and her lab team

Claire and Hannah feel that working with Dr. Kim, a passionate, kind, authentic, and diligent scientist-practitioner, has been one of the greatest pleasures in budding their academic careers so far, and they want to strive to be a reflection of the fantastic training they’ve received while working with Dr. Kim.

Even in Jackie’s short time with the lab so far, she is “so very grateful to have such a caring, humble, and truly thoughtful mentor.”

Thank you to Dr. Kim and all of our generous mentors in the Weill Cornell Medicine Department of Psychiatry.


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