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STEAM Cafe: Dr. Sylvia Lee

  • LWGMS 810 18th Avenue Seattle, WA, 98122 United States (map)

The STEAM Department hosts STEAM Cafés once a month – a time for students to meet with female leaders in STEM fields and learn about their research or work. STEAM Cafés are a wonderful opportunity to open our students' minds to new careers and introduce students to STEM role models. Also, STEAM Cafés are a great way to invite community members into our building without impacting class schedules or curriculum.

This Friday, we will host Dr. Sylvia Lee!


Dr. Sylvia Lee is a medical oncologist who treats head and neck cancers, lung cancers, and melanoma.

I try to treat all of my patients the way I'd want my family members to be treated. My goal is to help patients and their families understand their treatment options, and to provide them with the information and support they need to make informed decisions about their care.


  • Assistant Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine

Education & Training

  • MD: University of North Carolina School of Medicine
  • Internship: University of Washington School of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine
  • Residency: University of Washington School of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine
  • Fellowship: University of Washington School of Medicine, Division of Oncology and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Sylvia Lee, MD wanted an intellectually challenging career that would also allow her to help others. “My father was a psychiatrist and my mother was a nurse, and I was fortunate to be raised in a loving family that valued caring for others,” she said.

Dr. Lee studied comparative literature and molecular biology in college, then became a high school science teacher in the Teach For America program. She enrolled in medical school at the University of North Carolina and continued her training at the University of Washington, where she pursued an internal medicine residency. She never expected to go into oncology, but during her intern year oncology rotation, she found the oncology patients to be among the most inspiring and rewarding patients she had ever worked with. “They felt more deeply and saw with more clarity the value of our life and the people around us, and it was a privilege to work with them during both their triumphs and difficult times.“

During her hematology-oncology fellowship, Dr. Lee began training under the renowned cancer immunologist Cassian Yee, MD at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

“Enhancing your own immune system’s natural ability to recognize and attack cancer cells is perhaps the most promising new form of treatment in a field long limited to surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation,” Dr. Lee said. “These are still early days, but exciting, hopeful days, too.”

When she isn't working, Dr. Lee also enjoys spending time with her family, running, and the outdoors.

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Earlier Event: January 26
STEAM Cafe: Dr. Karin Strauss
Later Event: March 25
NWAIS Accreditation Visit