Director of the UMMS Regional Science Resource Center recognized by the American Society for Cell Biology


October 10, 2002


WORCESTER, Mass. ¾ For her visionary leadership and her “innovative and sustained” efforts to improve the quality of science education throughout the Commonwealth, Sandra Mayrand, director of the Regional Science Resource Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, has been recognized with the fifth annual Bruce Alberts Award for Outstanding Contributions to Science Education by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). The annual award honors member Bruce M. Alberts, PhD, president of the National Academy of Sciences and long-time advocate for the advancement of science education.


Announcing the award, ASCB Selection and Education Committee Chair Ken Miller said, “The Award Committee was deeply impressed with the way that Ms. Mayrand’s early volunteer K-12 science education activities have grown into a major science education initiative.  She brought researchers and educators together around the focus of experimental cell biology.”


Beginning in 1990 with Mayrand’s part-time volunteer outreach efforts towards local schools, under her enthusiastic guidance that science education initiative has evolved from a Science Mentor program into a wide range of educational assistance programs supported by national, state and local grants and foundations. Among the Regional Science Resource Center’s offerings to districts across Massachusetts: a state-of-the-art laboratory for student use; a K-12 standards-based mathematics and science curriculum library with over $100,000 of instructional materials for teachers to preview and borrow; “Science to Go,” a refurbishment program for K-6 National Science Foundation curriculum units; and professional development programs in mathematics and science and technical assistance to districts across the region.


Mayrand also serves as director of the Central Massachusetts Partnerships Advancing Learning of Mathematics and Science (PALMS). Initiated in 1992 by the Massachusetts Department of Education in conjunction with the National Science Foundation and aimed at improving the way mathematics and science are taught in K-12 classrooms, PALMS is a widely successful program that was influential in the development of a statewide standards-based assessment program (MCAS). The program continues to foster important relationships among schools, colleges, businesses, cultural organizations and parents.


According to Thoru Pederson, PhD, the Vitold Arnett Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Mayrand's nominator for the award, the success of the Regional Science Resource Center is a result of Mayrand’s passion for science and enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge. “In 1989, a student who was shadowing Sandy as she worked in the lab asked insightful questions and grasped the idea behind the ongoing experiments in an impressive way,” Dr. Pederson recalled.  “Later, Sandy found out to her astonishment that this student had failed biology! She gathered through the experience that a hands-on approach to biology made science more accessible and interesting and began a crusade to show high school students how real science works.”


Mayrand received her bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire in 1968. She served as a research assistant at UNH and Indiana University before joining what was then the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in 1976. In 1991, Mayrand received her MBA from Clark University and in 1997, Mayrand assumed the dual full-time roles of Regional Science Resource Center Director and Associate Director of the Office of Science Education at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. 


With 10,000 members, the American Society for Cell Biology is a critically important voice for basic biomedical research and for biology in the public interest. The Society's Annual Meeting is the largest and most influential gathering of research cell biologists in the world.


The Bruce Alberts Award for Outstanding Contributions to Science Education will be presented to Mayrand at the 42nd Annual Meeting which takes place December 14 - 18, 2002 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.


The University of Massachusetts Medical School is one of the fastest growing medical schools in the country, attracting more than $134 million in research funding annually.  A perennial top ten finisher in the annual US News & World Report ranking of primary care medical schools, UMMS comprises a medical school, graduate school of nursing, graduate school of biomedical sciences and an active research enterprise, and is a leader in health sciences education, research and public service.  In 1998, the UMMS system of hospitals and clinics merged with Memorial Health Care to form UMass Memorial Health Care, the clinical partner of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the largest health care provider in Central Massachusetts.



Kelly Bishop, 508-856-2000