Curious, Supportive, Collaborative, Driven, Educator

These are the words that Stacy Jo Schmauss, EdD, Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine, uses to describe herself. Schmauss is part of a team working to implement a new Center for Personal and Professional Development at Wake Forest University School of Medicine which will provide an additional layer of individualized and holistic support to students that will start on day one of their medical education with longitudinal coaching and guidance.

A woman with long gray hair and glasses, wearing a white shirt and smiling at the camera.

Schmauss works to create a learner-centered environment while encouraging deeper student engagement within the School of Medicine. As a lifelong educator, Schmauss knows the importance of supporting both students and teaching faculty and works to further their educational skillsets and professional development as educators. Get to know her in her own words.

What inspires or motivates you?

I’m motivated by finding solutions and helping people discover their own sense of success.

Tell us about your background. What’s your experience and how did you get into the field?

I love to teach people things. I taught in higher education for two decades, primarily anthropology, and once I completed my doctorate, I was ready to take on additional roles in an administrative and strategic capacity and found an exciting opportunity to do just that at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

What do you do at work on a daily basis?

I have the pleasure of creating my own educational research opportunities as well as partnering with students. One of the more interesting projects I’ve been involved with is a student-led inquiry into student perceptions of the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 becoming Pass/Fail.

What made you want to get into research and/or education?

My simple love of teaching makes education the only place for me.

What makes opportunities at Wake Forest University School of Medicine unique?

A unique facet of WFUSOM is the degree to which they believe in their people. New ideas are not only welcomed, but embraced. And perhaps not entirely unique but definitely noteworthy are the people. I work with an extraordinary group of people who are supportive, engaging and always willing to lend a hand. This dedication begins with students and extends to their colleagues.

What skills should someone pursuing a career in healthcare have?

Creative, collaborative, problem-solving is a must. Though technological advances propel us in exciting directions, being capable of thinking through potential solutions in novel, collaborative ways is necessary for the human aspects of healthcare to thrive.

What advice do you have for future students and researchers?

Support each other’s work and think big! Finding linkages, connection and commonalities across skillsets and groups will make us all stronger. And don’t be afraid to have big ideas! Just be sure to engage all of your resources with a sense of mutual support.

How can students and researchers find mentors?

Another quite lovely element of our institution and enterprise is the willingness of faculty to engage with students. That being said, do your research and reach out to those whose interests intersect in meaningful ways.

What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of work?

I am a HIIT workout junkie, love the outdoors and especially being on the water. Students recently convinced me to run a half marathon this fall so that is also on my to-do list.