Olsiewski to be Association President 20032004
Paula J. Olsiewski, PhD ‘79, will serve as president of the Association for the year 20032004. Robert A. Muh ‘59, chair of the National Selection Committee of the Alumni Association, announced her election: “Paula will be the second graduate-degree-only alumna to serve in this position, and it is particularly gratifying to find this depth of volunteer involvement among so many graduate-degree holders. I am certain she will be an outstanding alumni leader.”“When MIT asks,” Olsiewski says, “I try to say yes if I possibly can. I consider this position a great honor.” She served MIT previously as Alumni Fund Board chair, 19982000, and is now a member of the Corporation Development Committee. She also currently serves MIT as a member of the Corporation’s visiting committees for the chemistry department and Whitaker College of Health Sciences and Technology.
Noting the importance of volunteers, Olsiewski remarks, “Every person can make time to volunteer-to do something for MIT or in their communities. Volunteering for MIT is intellectually stimulating and involves me in projects that are different from my daily job. And I have met the most interesting people.”
During her year as president, Olsiewski hopes to broaden the Association’s outreach to various constituencies in the alumni body, especially graduate alumni and alumnae. Olsiewski has long been an advocate for women in science and technology. Reflecting on her involvement with the chemistry department visiting committee, Olsiewski says, “When I came onto the visiting committee, there were two women on the chemistry faculty. Now there are five. I don’t take credit for that, but having women at the table does change the conversation.” Speaking about the nearly 50 percent of the MIT alumni body who are graduate-only alumni, she applauds the fact that “MIT has recognized that graduate students-and graduate alumni-are valuable members of the community and is providing better housing and activities that integrate graduate students into the MIT culture.”
Olsiewski has served in many capacities in the biotech and biomedical community. She directed the New York City Biotechnology Initiative, a state-funded program under the auspices of the New York Biotechnology Association, to improve the region’s ability to grow biotechnology companies by fostering relationships between academia and industry.
In her position as program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Olsiewski directs the foundation’s programs to reduce the threat of bioterrorism and improve homeland security (see “Funding the Fight,” March 2003). She serves as chair of the Board of Trustees of Asphalt Green, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health through sports and fitness, and she is a member of the annual fund board of Yale University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1975. Olsiewski recently joined the parents association at Stuyvesant High School in New York City and plans to help raise money for the school’s centennial celebration next year.
Bill Hecht ‘61, executive vice president and CEO of the Alumni Association, says, “I look forward to working again with Paula. Her leadership during her tenure as Alumni Fund Board chair, her dedication, boundless energy, and experience are extraordinary. She will be an outstanding president.”
Olsiewski is married to John H. Healey, MD, chief of orthopedic surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. They have two daughters both of whom are competitive swimmers, one at the University of Notre Dame and the other at Stuyvesant High School.