Dr. Chander Arora has been given the Outstanding Educator Award by The Southern California Biomedical Council.
By Emily Faith Grodin, Staff Writer
Valley College Professor Chander Arora was honored with the Outstanding Educator Award by The Southern California BioMedical Council at an online gala on Dec. 10. This award is conferred in recognition of her contributions and accomplishments during 20 years of teaching.
Southern California Biomedical Council (SoCalBio) is a nonprofit, member-supported trade association that serves the biotech, med tech, IVD and digital health communities in the six counties that comprise the Greater Los Angeles region. The Council promotes technology transfer and workforce training, while informing policymakers and the public at-large about the benefits of the region’s bioscience industry. SoCalBio is open to membership by firms and organizations engaged in all aspects of bioscience research, technology development, and commercialization.
Arora holds both doctorate and post doctorate degrees in biochemistry. She has served as a researcher in the field of biological sciences for 29 years. Her passion for the sciences began in her youth. While taking a physiology class in high school, she found herself asking the professor: “What is the stomach made of that digests everything you eat but not itself?”
She never stopped asking questions and searching for answers as she dedicated her life to biological research working with a Cedars Sinai/David Geffen School of Medicine research team. She always had a passion for teaching and found herself drawn to programs at both Mission College and Valley.
“Valley is my home and I have grown as an educator while teaching on our campus,” Arora explained. She has taught biology, physiology, microbiology and biotechnology during her decades with the community college system. “I find the most enjoyable aspect of teaching to be my students and their questions.”
In 2012 while at Valley Arora successfully wrote and received a grant from the US Department of Labor of $1.7 million. This grant allowed her to develop the bio manufacturing biotechnology program which provided technical training programs for community college students. This program alone has helped over 400 students obtain jobs in the industry.
“My dream is to place every single student,” said the educator. “Dreams are not what you see while sleeping. Dreams don’t let you sleep and do not get to sleep.”
Arora’s passion for connecting education with industry is a continuing one. She was also recently awarded $509,000 from the National Science Foundation to help increase the work force of biotechnology workers by providing education pathways for adult learners who return to college. She has also partnered with Amgen Biotech Technology Experience in order to bridge the connection between the industry and the classroom.
“[Teaching is the] best way to give back to the community,” said Arora. “I believe that only the educated are free and we all deserve freedom. By teaching, I want to light one candle that would carry the flame for education beyond me.”