PULLMAN, Wash. – Mary Sánchez Lanier has assumed new leadership positions within the University College at Washington State University, serving as associate dean of the college.
She will lead Pre-Health Advising and STEM Education, part of the University College since this spring, following budget cuts and reorganizations in the College of Sciences and the College of Nursing. The unit will include liaisons with the College of Veterinary Medicine as well.
The Pre-Health Advising team supports all undergraduates from many majors who intend to go to professional programs in health-related areas such as medicine, osteopathy, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, optometry, nursing, chiropractic, physical therapy, occupational therapy, dental hygiene, and physician assisting. The team also carries out many roles in support of undergraduate STEM education.
Sánchez Lanier will also continue as clinical associate professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine, teaching courses and conducting research into her field of virology. She is the recipient of the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award in the category of leadership, awarded in 2010.
In making the announcement, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of the University College Mary F. Wack said, “Dr. Sánchez Lanier brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her new roles that will greatly advance the university’s efforts to support undergraduate education and academic success.
“She will assist the provost and myself in the many STEM-related initiatives underway, helping to coordinate activities and communication surrounding this important topic across the university.”
Sánchez Lanier earned both her B.S. in biology with a minor in chemistry, and her Ph.D. in medical sciences from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. She joined WSU in fall 1990 as an assistant professor in the departments of microbiology and basic medical science. She went on to serve in numerous administrative roles in the College of Sciences, including associate dean, 2002-2010.
She has been an invited speaker each year since 2007 at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students; she serves on the organization’s steering committee. She also chairs the Committee on Minority Education for the American Society of Microbiology. Among her many other notable achievements, she has served since 2003 on the national review panel for the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, and regularly serves on NSF review panels.
When presented the Sahlin award at WSU Showcase in 2010, she was feted for expanding educational opportunities for underrepresented groups in science and engineering. She assisted in development of WSU Tri-Cities’ recognition by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-serving institution, and provides leadership in obtaining grants to support women and minorities in science and undergraduate research.
Recognized as a national leader in undergraduate education, she developed the undergraduate poster competition in the College of Sciences. She designed and implemented the Students Targeted towards Advanced Research Studies program, which recruits freshmen to WSU, gets them started in research immediately, and moves them toward advanced degrees in a shortened period of time.