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QCC’s 50 Guardians, Alumni Making a Difference: Sandra Laney

Saturday, March 22, 2014

 

Sandra Laney, Program Officer in Global Health, Discovery & Translational Sciences at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

To celebrate Quinsigamond Community College's 50th anniversary, the college is naming "50 Guardians": QCC alumni and friends who have made a difference within the QCC and broader Worcester communities.

Ten Guardians from all manner of occupation and walks of life have already been announced, including this week's profile, Sandra Laney, Program Officer in Global Health, Discovery & Translational Sciences at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. GoLocalWorcester will profile a Guardian every week, celebrating each of these 50 extraordinary individuals.

Find out more about Sandra—plus how to nominate a Guardian—below.

Sandra Laney: Program Officer in Global Health, Discovery & Translational Sciences at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

For Sandra Laney, the operative word is opportunity. This Spencer native had no idea what she’d study when she tested the collegiate waters, taking a couple of classes at a time. She opted to concentrate in visual arts and fulfilled all her graduation requirements, except for science, a subject she feared due to an unpleasant high school experience. Fortunately, QCC offered a science class for non-majors, which became an important turning point for her.

The self-paced class included a weekly exam and group discussion or lab with unlimited access to the professors, Robert Prior and Melvin Shemluck. “I discovered that science is all about asking questions. Once I started taking it, I was so jazzed,” Laney said.

Shemluck opened her eyes to opportunities well beyond the walls of QCC when he informed her of the Ada Comstock Scholars Program at Smith College. At Smith, Sandra majored in biology, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree.

Opportunity came in the form of a research associate position in Steve Williams’ laboratory at Smith, where she was also able to take courses and earned her master’s degree in 2002. Smith’s affiliation with Ain Shams University in Egypt eventually led to her doctorate in molecular parasitology and zoology.

Laney, a Program Officer for Global Health, Discovery & Translational Sciences at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was recently named an Alumni Guardian by Quinsigamond Community College, for her service to the community and the college. To help celebrate QCC’s 50th anniversary, the college is naming 50 guardians who have made a difference in their lives and the lives of those around them.

The first 10 guardians were announced earlier this fall, and now QCC is seeking nominations from the community. Read more about the Guardians and find out how to nominate someone at www.qcc.edu/guardians

In addition to her incredible academic accomplishments, Laney received an AAAS Science Diplomacy Fellowship in 2010 and a Superior Honor Award from the U.S. Department of State for establishing the NeXXt Scholars Initiative, which provides opportunities for young women from Muslim-majority countries to study science and math at U.S. women’s colleges. She was part of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Science Adviser’s team at the State Department.

When Laney began her journey at QCC so many years ago, she had no idea where it would lead. “I am hugely indebted to Quinsigamond. Taking that science course was transformative. It completely changed the trajectory of my life,” she said. “QCC created the opportunity.”

Guardians should be people who have attended QCC or been involved with the college, and been transformed by their experience. It may have led them to further education, involvement in the community, or entrepreneurship.

The guardians represent the spirit of the College’s mythological mascot, the Wyvern, who was the guardian protector of our sister city, Worcester, England. Staff, faculty, and friends of Quinsigamond Community College also may be considered for this award provided they meet the eligibility guidelines. A selection committee will review nominations and choose guardians.

To nominate a guardian, go to www.qcc.edu/guardians and fill out the form provided. Watch for announcements on Twitter at twitter.com/50Guardians and Facebook at www.facebook.com/50Guardians

 

Related Slideshow: New England Colleges With the Best Undergraduate Teaching

U.S. News & World Report released a survey conducted in 2013 of college administrators on the best schools for undergraduate teaching. Several New England made their lists for best National Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, and Regional Universities. See which schools made the lists in the slides below: 

Prev Next

National Universities

9. Brown University

Providence, RI 
 
Students: 6,435
2013-14 Tuition: $45,612
Admissions: 9.6% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

National Universities

5. Yale University 

New Haven, CT
 
Students: 5,405
2013-14 Tuition: $44,000
Admissions: 7.0% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

National Universities

1. Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH
 
Students: 4,193
2013-14 Tuition: $46,752
Admissions: 9.8% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

National Liberal Arts Col

18. Mount Holyoke College

 
South Hadley, MA 
 
Students: 2,322
2013-14 Tuition: $41,456
Admissions: 42.1% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

Liberal Arts Colleges

9. Amherst College

Amherst, MA
 
Students: 1,817 
2013-14 Tuition: $46,574
Admissions: 13.0% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

Liberal Arts Colleges

5. Williams College

Williamstown, MA
 
Students: 2,052
2013-14 Tuition: $46,600
Admissions: 17.0% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

Regional Univ. - North

4. Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT
 
Students: 3,879
2013-14 Tuition: $42,920
Admissions: 71.2% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

Regional Univ. - North

2. Providence College

Providence, RI
 
Students: 3,810
2013-14 Tuition: $42,206
Admissions: 61.0%
 
 

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