Daily News

GCC Names Lauren Bell Jean Simmons Nursing Faculty Chair

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Community College (GCC) nursing faculty has named Lauren Bell the third Jean Simmons Nursing Faculty Chair. Bell was chosen for her dedication to the GCC nursing program and her students. She will be honored at the nursing department’s pinning ceremony on Saturday, May 25 at 9 a.m.

The Jean Simmons endowed chair was established in 2013 with a $1 million gift from anonymous donors. It was the first endowed faculty position at a community college in Massachusetts.

“Lauren always puts her students first and demonstrates professionalism and exceptional patient care in the clinical setting,” said Melanie Ames Zamojski, GCC dean of Nursing Programs. “Within our laboratory, she’s developed simulations that test our students in ways that allow them to show their knowledge and the patient-centered care they’ve learned in the classroom.”

Since joining the GCC nursing faculty in 2012, Bell has guided faculty through curriculum and program assessments and outcomes, a critical part of state and national accreditation processes, and she has helped her colleagues incorporate the newest style of NCLEX questions in order to better prepare students for their licensing exams. She has also served on several college committees, including student activities and professional development. She co-teaches the second-year medical-surgical courses and has led the graduating class in organizing their pinning ceremony.

Bell earned her bachelor’s degree at Elmira College and her master of science degree at the University of New Hampshire. In addition to her work with GCC, she is a nurse at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital in the Progressive Care unit.

Surprised to be named the Simmons chair, Bell was characteristically student-focused in her response. “A lot of students want to make a difference, and a lot of them have the ability to do so. If I can support these talented students in pursuing their education, I feel honored for that,” she said.

She further expressed appreciation for being part of a rigorous program that helps students achieve their dreams. “We produce and support these strong graduate nurses who have a great reputation moving forward in the profession.”

While the endowed fund supports the faculty position, GCC uses the personnel cost savings to fund a nursing advisor as well as a scholarship program for GCC students at all levels of nursing education. This year, scholarships have been awarded to three members of the associate-degree class who will be continuing on to bachelor degree programs in nursing: Marylou Bliss, Kassidy DiGeorge, and River Edwin King.

The endowed nursing chair was named for longtime GCC nurse educator Jean Doherty Simmons. She was the first nursing program applicant to be admitted as a GCC nursing student, and she graduated with the first class from the program in 1965. Considered the face of the nursing program, she taught at GCC for more than 35 years and served as coordinator of the associate in science nursing program from 1998 to 2003.

The recipient may hold the Jean Simmons Nursing Faculty Chair throughout their tenure at the college. Previous honorees were Cheri Ducharme (2014-18) and Mary Phillips (2018-24).

Zamojski sees Bell as an ideal choice to carry on this legacy. “Lauren will continue to be an asset to our program and to the college. She is a shining example of how our faculty not only teach our students how to be nurses, they teach our students how to be great nurses.”