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The “Last Lecture” To Be Presented by Dr. Marcia Walsh

November 15, 2013
Since 1999, Merrimack College has selected a revered professor to present the annual “Last Lecture” by speaking on matters of importance and value in his/her life as if it were the very last lecture given.  This year, the speaker is not only the Last Lecturer but also the 2013 Edward G. Roddy Jr. Outstanding Teacher of the Year – Dr. Marcia Walsh, Associate Professor of Health Sciences.

Dr. Walsh’s academic focus is microbiology, genetics, nutrition, biochemistry, and public health.  Her primary research pertains to surveillance of antibiotic resistant bacteria in our environment and analysis of water quality in the Merrimack River.  A firm believer in hands-on research, she led students to amazing locations of experimentation in Africa, the Amazon and Central America.  Walsh was elected as a National Leadership Fellow of the NSF initiative Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) and obtained two grants to implement SENCER principles into Merrimack’s courses.  In addition, she and her students have been instrumental in raising awareness and funds for HIV/AIDS relief in Africa and Haiti as well as local community nutrition projects. 

Dr. Walsh began her history at Merrimack College in 1980 as Associate Professor in the Biology Department.  Along the way she served as chair of the department, as well as director of the former Allied Health program.  After 33 years, Dr. Marcia Walsh has much to share with her colleagues, her students, and her community. 

Sponsored by the Honors Program, Dr. March Walsh will present her “Last Lecture” on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. in Cascia Hall.  Colleagues, students, former students, and friends are invited to come hear about what is of grave importance to her.  The lecture is free of charge and open to all. 

 About Marcia Walsh, Ph.D. B.S., Stonehill College Ph.D., University of Rhode Island Postdoctoral Fellowship, Dana Farber Cancer Institute 

Courses Taught: Clinical Microbiology, Nutrition, Diet and Health, Nutritional Biochemistry, Global Public Health, Senior Thesis Research 

Research Interests:  A new community-based research project to determine the occurrence and frequency of the pathogenic microorganism Staphylococcus aureus in our campus community and in the Merrimack Valley community.  This organism is found on the skin and in the nasal passages of about 30% of healthy carriers, and is known to be associated with localized skin infections as well as systemic infections that have a high rate of morbidity and mortality.   Some strains of Staphylococcus aureas have become resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics such as methicillin, and over the last several years, this organism known as MRSA has become an important public health threat both in hospital-acquired infections, and more recently in community-associated settings.  Working with undergraduate students in the clinical microbiology laboratory, we have undertaken a study to determine the prevalence of methicillin sensitive and methicillin resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus in our community.

Educational interests: An important aspect of our educational programs in Health Science and Sports Medicine is to integrate into our curriculum opportunities for student engagement focused on real world problems in health, wellness and human performance.  To that end, I have worked to support our academic programs through partnerships and affiliations with numerous healthcare and educational facilities in the Merrimack Valley.  We have made civic engagement and social responsibility a cornerstone of our curriculum by examining the important issues facing community and global health and welfare, and by integrating community service opportunities for our students into our programs to help provide solutions to the complex problems that face us in the health and wellness field.  The National Leadership Board of the National Center has elected me to a SENCER Leadership Fellow position for Science and Civic Engagement.  Fellowships honor educators for their exemplary leadership and commitment to the improvement of science, technology and mathematics education.  

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