Camelia Symonowicz

Camellia Symonowicz

June 20, 1963 - September 5, 2020

Camellia “Cammie” Symonowicz was a titan in the laboratory animal science industry. She died from early on-set dementia on September 5, 2020, at the age of 57. Ironically, throughout her career, Cammie was an outspoken advocate for more studies to be conducted on dementia because her father was a victim of this ravaging disease. She touted that we would find a cure and never to lose hope. But we were not fast enough. True to Cammie’s advocacy, her brain has been donated to further Alzheimer’s disease research.

Cammie held multiple credentials: a bachelor’s degree from Worcester State College, a master’s degree from Kennedy Western University, CMAR, LATG, and a proud ILAM graduate. Her impact on the field of LAS was immense, and she touched many people through her volunteer activities at AALAS, LAMA, and her local SNEAALAS branch. She spent much of her career as a facility manager at Bristol Myers-Squibb in Connecticut before a stint with Pfizer and a return to BMS–San Francisco. Off-the-clock she was a volunteer Superwoman. At AALAS, she was appointed Awards Committee Chair, and she held the position of Learning Resources Chair for the National Meeting Program Committee. She was a past president of her SNEAALAS and LAMA. A yearly fixture at Nationals teaching CMAR prep classes, Cammie was also a popular ILAM faculty member covering multi-generational staffing.

She won multiple awards, including the LAMA sponsored 2015 Charles River Medallion, the 2014 William Umiker Training Award, the 2014 LAWTE Performance Award, and many more.

She was a favorite on the speaker circuit, and her reach was wide. If they didn’t come to her at an AALAS or ILAM meeting, she frequently went to them, even traveling to Singapore and Dubai.

Cammie’s smile and over-the-top personality bowled you over and was infectious. When asked what she did for a living, she always answered, “I create miracles and save lives, what do you do?” She was an ambassador for the laboratory animal science community and could bring up issues that might have been uncomfortable, but she still made people have the conversation and never let them feel uncomfortable in those sticky places. She inspired so many in the laboratory animal research field, and she will be missed by many more.

Give in memory of Camellia Symonowicz and help keep her passion alive through the AALAS Foundation.   

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