WashU Nephrology gives a warm welcome to Selas Kidane, our new Senior Department Accounting Assistant, who will be handling the purchasing and accounting functions for our Division.
Originally from Eritrea, East Africa, Selas came to St. Louis in 1991. She graduated from St. Louis Community College (STLCC) and went on to earn an Associate Degree in Accounting in 2005. She put the degree to use as an Accounts Receivable (A/R) Clerk at Charter Communications (now Spectrum) for one year and then as an A/R Analyst for a nonprofit publishing company for 15 years. Her last position before joining WashU was at a local, family-owned construction company as Accounting Assistant.
Selas is proud of her cultural heritage. “I come from a large, loving and caring family, with a diverse cultural heritage rooted in well-balanced traditional values that inspired me to see the bright side of everyone and everything.” She was taught to be genuine and respectful, and to appreciate what nature has to offer. “All of which helps me stay calm and healthy,” she says.
While Selas always tries to look on the bright side of life, her life was not always easy. She was born in the middle of a war for Eritrean struggle for independence that started in 1961 and lasted 30 years. During that time her family moved place to place, country to country. However, deciding to see the positive side of this difficult time, Selas said the experience gave her a great appreciation and understanding of cultural diversity. “I have families all over the world, which now gives me an opportunity to travel frequently and learn about other cultures, a great interest of mine.”
Selas admits that moving so far away from her family was incredibly hard. “Living within a new culture, learning a new language and adjusting to unfamiliar norms is very challenging, as is dealing with the vicious cycle of cultural misunderstanding caused by preconceived notions.
“However, I can speak from my own experiences that every challenge comes with an opportunity for mental and spiritual growth. If I had not left my birth country and applied the lesson my parents taught me to see the bright side of everything, I would have never discovered the hidden treasure within every culture, including my own, which I learn to appreciate more and more.”
Life also taught Selas never to take anything for granted. After she had a close call with the tornado that hit St. Louis on April 22, 2011, she decided to get more involved with community outreach. Using her passion for the culinary arts (fostered by watching her mother and grandmother preparing healthy meals from scratch) Selas volunteered to teach plant-based nutrition, as well as food and culture related history lessons.
She began researching food and culture and started developing her own recipes by combining healthy ingredients from around the world. “One thing led to another, and I ended up taking nutrition courses at STLCC.”
Helping others improve their health through sustainability and multicultural harmony, Selas continues to teach plant-based nutrition, including cooking workshops in community outreach centers, churches and schools, as well as food and culture related seminars at public libraries. “I have taught countless cooking classes for Operation Food Search/Cooking Matters.“ She is also a volunteer ambassador for the African Heritage & Health Program.
Selas is the founder of diversitycooking.com, designed to promote a healthy body and mind, and self-published the e-cookbook DIVERSITY COOKING. She is also a contributing author of OASIS (OLDWAYS AFRICANA SOUP IN STORIES), A DISCUSSION OF BLACK WOMEN’S FOODWAYS, Edited by Stephanie Y. Evans.
It was Selas’ involvement in community improvement related events that led her to become interested in joining WashU, first through a former WashU doctor, who (being part Eritrean) visited the Orotta Hospital in Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea, and then when she was involved in community redevelopment discussions with WashU Brown School students.
Joining WashU Nephrology in May of this year, Selas says, “I love working in the Division and I am committed to supporting our nephrology team and contributing to Washington University’s mission. I look forward to enhancing my own knowledge through education and new experiences.”
Selas is taking over for Adriane Randolph, who transferred to the position of Special Project Administrator in our Division. Welcome, Selas, and good luck in your new position, Adriane!