Medical education specialist Cindy Nicholson retires after nearly 20 years with the Department of Pediatrics

woman in black sweater and colorful scarf standing outside and smiling at the camera

Cindy Nicholson is one of many Department of Pediatrics medical education professionals. As a senior medical education specialist, she works to ensure that new medical students gain the knowledge and experience they need to serve young patients and those children’s parents. After nearly 20 years dedicated to this quest, Nicholson will retire this month.

After a hiatus in her early college years, Nicholson earned her BS in 2001 from Edgewood College in elementary education with an emphasis on social studies teaching. She spent five years as a substitute teacher and summer teacher in the Monona Grove School District. In 2006, Nicholson joined the Department of Pediatrics, where she first worked providing administrative support to the pediatrics clerkship and residency programs. As opportunities presented themselves, Nicholson was able to use her education background to move into education administration for the department. She has been involved in medical student education for 10 years.

Although her first love was elementary and middle school education, Nicholson found deep satisfaction in this work. She said that she enjoyed “the opportunity to have a small part in training future physicians.” Her advice for those just entering the field is to “embrace change, because it is inevitable.”

Kirstin Nackers, MD, associate professor in the Division of Hospital Medicine and Complex Care, and the director of pediatric medical student education, expressed her admiration for Nicholson’s work. “It has been a privilege to work with Cindy these past 10 years. Her genuine care for and commitment to the students is remarkable,” Nackers recounted. “Her longstanding relationships with faculty and staff, as well as her depth of knowledge of the school and department helped build and improve the educational programming we offer. She has been a wonderful partner and friend, and I wish her all the best in her retirement.”

In retirement, Nicholson hopes to travel with her husband. “There are more national parks on our bucket list,” she said, while she’s also planning to “spend more time with my parents and my grandkids.”

Photo by Robert Gordon/Department of Pediatrics