Each year, the Academy of Our Lady of Peace (OLP) honors an alumna who has distinguished herself as an individual who embodies the tradition of the founding Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet: a woman of heart, faith, courage and excellence. Through her dedication to serving others, Dr. Sonia Maciejewski ‘06 has proudly represented her alma mater and is therefore being recognized as the 2021 OLP Alumna of the Year.
Upon graduating from OLP, Dr. Maciejewski was guided by her desire to help people through science. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology at San Diego State University and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California at Irvine. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, she joined Novavax as a scientist focused on infectious diseases, such as Ebola. She now plays a vital role in the development and testing of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Maciejewski shared her familiarity with the complex science behind COVID-19 by joining the OLP Campus Readiness Task Force which helped create the blueprint for how to safely reopen the school’s campus. “It was a pleasure being able to work alongside the individuals on the OLP task force. The amount of detail and consideration put into the plan developed for reopening the school was astounding. I believe that this plan will help protect the individuals at the school during this pandemic, and serve as an exemplary model for others,” Dr. Maciejewski shared with GB Magazine.
“This pandemic has highlighted to me the importance of coming together as a community in order to overcome these trying times we are facing. To do so, I have relied on my faith to help me be more compassionate and understanding with not only myself, but those around me who may be struggling. I can only hope that with our continued faith and tenacity, we will be able to defeat this pandemic,” she continued.
Reflecting on her time as a student at OLP, Dr. Maciejewski says “I recognize the impact a spiritual and academic education can have on a young woman’s life. During my years at OLP, I acquired the fundamental values of faith, leadership and education, which I have continued to practice in my daily life. These core values were instilled within me by a unique environment created by the people and curriculum at OLP.”
As a life-long learner, Dr. Maciejewski enjoys keeping up with the latest scientific findings. She loves that science is unpredictable. “One of my mentors used to tell me it is called ‘research’ because you always have to be ‘re-searching’ for the answer, which can sometimes be frustrating. Experiments in the lab do not always work the way you want them to. In the end though, the facts are the facts, and you cannot change the science. Some of the best moments in my career have been the times when you think you know what the result is going to be, but you end up discovering something much more fascinating.”
Dr. Maciejewski’s dedication to finding cures to diseases that threaten humanity and the heartfelt approach she takes to her work make her a true example of an OLP alumna. The Academy of Our Lady of Peace is honored to name Dr. Maciejewski among our alumna and grant her the distinction of the 2021 OLP Alumna of the Year.
Learn more at www.aolp.org.