In the News

Women’s History Month Q&A with Human Resources Professional Kendel Murrant

By Veronica Craker

As we near the end of Women’s History Month, we spoke with Kendel Murrant, a human resources generalist with Alpine Immune Services. Murrant, who is keenly focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, has six years of experience working in biotech and a year and a half in HR. She is also a strong supporter of the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship. She currently serves as one of WSOS’ industry partners. In this interview, Murrant will share her insights on the challenges women encounter in the workforce, discuss the strategies she’s employed to overcome them, and offer advice to women looking to advance their careers in male-dominated industries. Join us as we explore her thoughts on what it means to be a woman in the workforce today, and what we can do to create a more equitable and inclusive work environment for women everywhere.

1. What tips do you have for women in the early stages of their career?

Tip 1: Be kind to yourself when you’re starting out. It can be hard to feel confident when you’re new at something, especially if you work on a team of people who are a lot more experienced than you. Trust the process and know that your skills will develop with practice and time.

Tip 2: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. No one expects you to know everything, and people are happy to share what they know, be that people in your company or in your field, and the internet has a wealth of valuable resources to help you help yourself.

Tip 3: Find a mentor. This has been key in every job and career I’ve had. If you’re lucky, this could be your manager, but also look for other people in your department or company, a former colleague or academic advisor, or consider joining a networking group. It’s invaluable to know you have someone in your corner who is invested in helping you grow.

2. Women’s earnings plateau mid-career; what advice would you give to someone looking to increase their salary, but continue in their industry?

Start by assessing whether the plateau is due to lagging compensation for the position you already have, or a lack of advancement opportunities. Many states, including Washington, now legally mandate publishing pay ranges for job postings. Legislation like this can be helpful in greater transparency about equitable compensation. For career development opportunities, one approach would be to examine your company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy and see how professional growth and development are represented in that strategy. Then talk with your manager about it. Being able to speak a common language rooted in a place of shared values can be very effective. I also recommend joining and participating in professional organizations like Women In Bio, which has educational resources and leadership development courses for women in STEM industries.

3. Are there any women working in STEM that you admire? Why? I admire Dr. Jan Hillson. She is an exceedingly accomplished and well-respected rheumatologist, and she is one of the most perceptive and kind people I know. Dr. Hillson is uniquely present and respectful to every person and patient she interacts with, and she tells the truth graciously and fearlessly. She’s an amazing person!

4. At WSOS, we aim to remove systematic barriers for underserved students so that they may pursue a career in STEM and health care. From your perspective, what is the importance of having women in the STEM industry? Women are vital to any industry that impacts humanity – in other words, all of them! When I think about patient populations especially, the more diversity we have among researchers, data scientists, and healthcare workers, the better care patients will have.

Murrant has been partnering with WSOS since 2021. If you are a professional working in STEM or health care and are interested in supporting our Scholars visit for more information.