Laura Symonds receives award from MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities

  • Mar 31, 2017
  • Advising, Staff, Award
  • Faculty & Staff, Research, Students, Neuroscience

Laura Symonds, undergraduate director of MSU’s Neuroscience Program, is the recipient of a 2017 Spirit of Ability Award from MSU’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD).

The Spirit of Ability Award commemorates the empowering heritage of several individuals from the MSU community—May Shaw, Judy Gentile, James Hamilton, Dorothy Millbrook and James Bristor—who were dedicated to helping those with disabilities fulfill their dreams. Students and faculty are encouraged to nominate faculty and staff around campus who have made a positive difference in their time at MSU.

“Laura has always made the best interests of our students her priority,” said Jim Galligan, Neuroscience Program director. “It is not at all surprising that she would go the extra mile for a student that may have needed a little extra help to succeed.”

In addition to serving as undergraduate director, Symonds is actively involved in curriculum development and teaching in the program, including the core courses Introduction to Neuroscience I and II. She is also developing and teaching a new summer online course, Basic Concepts in Neuroscience, and has developed and taught a summer study abroad course to incoming first year students.

“I am stunned — and very happy to accept this award,” Symonds said. “I do think it is incumbent upon us all to reach out to those that need accommodations so that we can come closer to leveling the playing field and make higher education as accessible as possible.” 

Symonds’s nominator, who wishes to remain anonymous, shared this:

“Dr. Symonds has thousands of students within the Neuroscience Program that she is responsible for overseeing, and yet she personally, genuinely and kindly took the time and worked with me. I can only imagine that there are many other students who rely on her the same way I have. When a professor is as kind, passionate, and caring as Dr. Symonds, it makes asking for help much easier and less concerning. I have had many professors at MSU, and although it doesn't take a neuroscientist to understand mental health, it my experience, they just do it the best.”

Symonds will receive the award on April 7 during RCPD’s annual awards and appreciation reception, which honors exceptional faculty and staff, the outstanding achievements of scholarship recipients and the generous donors supporting RCPD's mission.