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Abstract provided by interviewer Kaleigh Martin.

Abilene native Dr. Leslie Hutchins attended Abilene Christian University from 2000-2004. She was a biology major, and added on biochemistry as her second major her junior year. She went on to attend medical school at UT Southwestern. Then, she completed her residency and fellowship in neurosurgery at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She now works at Hendrick Medical Center and is Board Certified. In this interview, Dr. Hutchins speaks about her experiences being a woman of color in a primarily white and male dominated field. Dr. Hutchins’ plan when she entered the science field was not to become a neurosurgeon, but rather a pediatrician. She did not think being a surgeon was a possibility for her. There were not many female doctors, nevermind female neurosurgeons. When first looking into the field of neurosurgery, she discovered that there had only been four board certified African American women neurosurgeons in the country. At the time she was attending ACU, she remembers there being only one woman PhD in the biology department, with others on the rise. Dr. Hutchins speaks fondly of her experiences at Abilene Christian, and her time at UT Southwestern, looked for a residency program that felt like ACU. Dr. Hutchins is able to compare her experiences from ACU, UT Southwestern, and VCU when it came to the expectations put on her because of her gender and race. Her story is one of the complexities of being a woman who decides to break the traditional roles expected of her.


The ACC/ACU Gender and Sexuality Project preserves firsthand accounts of alumni of Abilene Christian College (later Abilene Christian University), with particular attention to how students, faculty, and staff have experienced issues of gender and sexuality during their time at the institution. The collection began in Fall 2019 as a class project in HIST 340, Historical Perspectives on Gender and Sexualities.