Hello, my name is . . . Sandra Mayrand

March 21, 2011

Each Monday, the Daily Voice introduces you to a member of the UMass Medical School community—could be a new face, or maybe one that’s has been around for a while. We’ve asked our subjects, in their own words, to answer a few questions that might give you insight into their personalities. If you have a suggestion as to someone who might be profiled, let us know at ummscommunications@umassmed.edu

Sandra Mayrand, director of the Regional Science Resource Center (RSRC), founded the RSRC at the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research (WFBR) and brought it to the Medical School during the WFBR merge with UMMS 14 years ago. She manages all activities of the RSRC and sits on several local, regional and state committees and boards to support enhanced science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. sm


What do you love most about the work that you do?  

I love two things: seeing that first spark of scientific interest in students when they take true ownership of their science investigation and developing partnerships among groups with similar goals. 

How would you explain your work to your spouse/child/a student 

I work with students, teachers, school administrators and the broad community of people, institutions, organizations, business and government who want to support excellence in STEM education. 

What is the practical application of your work? 

The work we do allows students to see firsthand how science is done in the real world and encourages them to consider a career in a STEM profession. We work with teachers to help ensure that they have the training and support to be the best educators they can be. Eventually, these students will be the workforce at the Medical School and we want them to be the best. We also want to show that UMMS is an asset to the community on many fronts including K-12 education. 

Which trait do you most admire in yourself? 

Ability to find common ground with diverse groups 

What’s the question you’re most often asked about your work – and the answer? 

How did you get to do this? It is really quite a circuitous story as I never thought this is what I would be doing. Basically I followed what I liked to do and where the opportunities led me. 

Describe yourself in six words or fewer. 

Problem solver, collaborator, enthusiastic, happy, analytical 

If you were stranded on a desert island, name three things you would want. 

Computer with wireless; sunscreen; water 

If you could have dinner with a famous person, living or dead, who would that be? 

That’s a tough one, but I think Bill Gates is the one I’d select. 

Who or what inspired you to enter your field? 

My high school science teacher, Miss Dionne, inspired me to go into biology initially. Then it was my son, his high school friends and Bruce Alberts who inspired me to attempt to connect high school students to the real work of scientists. 

What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work? 

Travel, gardening, spending time at the ocean, rooting for the Patriots, reading, and family including two young grandsons 

What do you consider the most interesting thing about yourself that most people might not know (and you would want to tell them). 

I raised two amazing children as a working single parent. 

What book have you read, or what movie have you seen, most recently, or what kind of music do you most enjoy? 

Good to Great by Jim Collins; Eat, Pray, Love, the movie; James Taylor, good 1960s music like the Rolling Stones 

Who are your heroes? 

Gertrude Elion, Thoru Pederson and my sister 

What’s the most exciting thing happening in your field right now? 

There is an opportunity and perhaps the will to re-organize K-12 education to face the challenges of today and the future. The current system in many ways is outdated and inefficient. Now that K-12 education is strongly acknowledged to be the foundation for workforce development and our economic survival, I hope the needed changes will happen. 

Related Story: 

GSBS students inspire with their love of science 

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