Leslie learned to lead as both an undergraduate and graduate student at UMass. Today, she’s bringing together experts from multiple disciplines to fight one of the world’s most complex neurological diseases.
Leslie Chambers '79
The two greatest opportunities that I had at the University was my academic experience and then my residential life experience in the fraternity and sorority system. My foundation was really built when I was an undergraduate. I had such solid academic coursework in all the sciences which really trained me to be able to deal with scientists and researchers, legislators. Even though I'm not a clinician, I had enough science background to be able to effectively work in this community. As well as business and leadership skills, taking courses such as finance and accounting, I had no idea why I was taking those classes when I was a nutrition student, but all those skills 30 years later are incorporated into my day-to-day work. I'm at UMass today as the keynote speaker in a first of, I hope, a series of interdisciplinary symposiums and today's topic is on Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. One of the challenges that we have, whether it's in academia or in research, biotech, is the silo effect. Symposia like this bring those different disciplines together. So with the great opportunity and available resources for cross-pollinization of different disciplines here at the University of Massachusetts, we might find a cure for Parkinson's or some other neurological disease right here. A UMass graduate should be totally confident that your vigorous academic experience has prepared you for any field that you want to go into. And your life experiences, your leadership opportunities, all these different things will help you be totally successful in any career that you're going to embark upon. I'm Leslie Chambers, President and CEO of the American Parkinson Disease Association. I stand for patient empowerment and I stand for UMass.