When Gloria Aponte Clarke ’87 was a senior majoring in biology at St. Lawrence University and applying to medical schools, she quickly realized that her passion was in preventing illness and not treating illness.That led to a pivot to public health and a master’s in the field from the University of Michigan.Now, as a Senior Program Officer for Maine Community Foundation (MaineCF), whose mission is to increase the quality of life for all Maine People, Gloria providesfunding to nonprofit organizations and partners with them to promote and broaden their work. “Public health data shows many inequities in our society and it’s in MaineCF’s mission to address these inequities,” she explains. “In 2020, we granted over $50 million dollars of grants in Maine. Our COVID-19 response was integral to our mission of ‘improving the quality of life for all Maine People’ and led to advocating for BIPOC-led organizations during the height of the pandemic.” Read on to learn how teachers at Laurel had an impact on her life—from getting her American citizenship to developing her interest in nature to teaching her how to take notes and write papers; her work as a leader in MaineCF’s racial equity work; what it’s like being an open water swimmer in Maine; and which is her favorite thing about Maine—lobsters or blueberries.
Joyce Bell Limbrick ’99, Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator at the University of Southern California, uses her problem-solving skills every day. From learning how to become a critical thinker at Laurel to honing issue spotting and analysis skills in law school, Joyce knows how to tackle challenges successfully. For the past 18 months she has focused on the health, safety and wellness of college athletes through the unchartered territory of COVID-19, adapting every aspect of college athletics from the modification of travel protocols and nutrition delivery to pre-game testing and the impacts of decreased ticket sales, while also working closely with the University on policy issues, student conduct and gender equity compliance. Read on to learn about the new landscape of college athletics, Joyce’s service on Laurel’s Alumnae of Color Committee and why her family’s mascot would be the Alpine swift!
Dr. Carly Levin Filgueira ’99 is an Assistant Professor of Nanomedicine at Houston Methodist who researches the use of tiny “nano” particles (often smaller than the width of a strand of hair!) to help with both the diagnostics and the treatment of diseases such as lung cancer and heart disease. She credits the invaluable mentorship of her undergraduate and doctoral advisors (studying chemistry at George Washington University and Rice University, respectively) with helping her grow as a scientist—one who is skilled at changing her plans in response to results—and is now paying it forward to the next generations of researchers. Yet beyond the laboratory bench, much of Carly’s work involves translating scientific ideas and discoveries into patents, funding grants, and manuscripts. Many of the skills she relies on are ones she developed in nonscientific coursework at Laurel—from the importance of organizing thoughts to argue them effectively and providing specific details to support analytical writing to a love of reading and confidence in her capabilities. Read on to learn more about Carly’s journey from Kindergarten at One Lyman Circle to a scientist with a diverse set of skills!
“Life can change in an instant.” After Sally Wood Needell ’71, her siblings, and father contracted polio in the 1950s, shortly before the vaccine was developed, she learned how quickly one’s circumstances can change. Thanks to reconstructive surgeries for her leg and foot fixing the lasting effects of the virus, Sally is always motivated to be active and outdoors as much as possible. From her home in New Hampshire, she paddles and hikes, in addition to being deeply involved in the civic life of her small town. Add to that being on the planning committee for the Class of 1971’s virtual 50th reunion later this month! In this Spotlight feature, Sally shares her journey from being one of the few women working on marine geology research ships for the United States Geological Survey in the 1970s to raising children and teaching science at Berwick Academy to local governance and activism.
For Dierdra “DeeDee” Howard ’98 success is all about personal relationships. From the teachers at Laurel who inspired confidence and direction, to being an active member of Delta Sigma Theta and her work as a Chief Administrative Law Judge for the Social Security Administration,she believes, “Individuals who are successful yet cannot develop good working relationships are only performing 50% of their job.” DeeDee works every day to leave a positive imprint, focusing on overcoming hurdles and then eliminating them for those after her. She wears many different hats as Chief Administrative Law Judge—from managing other judges and overseeing budgets to fielding legal inquiries and conducting hearings—but the skills that guide her are always compassion and humility. Read on to hear more about DeeDee’s journey from art major to judge and beyond!