Meet the Women of Distinction: STEM honoree Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith

By Catherine Amoriello

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to recognize Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith, president of York College, as its STEM honoree for the 2022 Women of Distinction Celebration.

Pamela Gunter-Smith, president of York College
GSHPA will recognize Pamela Gunter-Smith as this year’s Women of Distinction STEM honoree.

Gunter-Smith has served as president of the college since 2013 and will complete her decade-long tenure when she retires from her role in June 2023. As president, she has advanced programs that serve the greater York community and provided high impact engagement and learning for the college’s students.

“I take great pride in contributing to the successful outcomes of my students,” Gunter-Smith said. “As I have moved forward in administration, I have done so with a consideration of using my role to have a greater impact on those in the campus community and York region.”

Before Gunter-Smith forged her path in academic leadership, she began her career in science. At just five years old, Gunter-Smith knew she wanted to be a scientist and was interested in learning about human anatomy. Her interests led her to Spellman College where she received her bachelor’s degree in biology, and then Emory University where she earned her Ph.D. in physiology.

Throughout her STEM journey, Gunter-Smith found inspiration in many mentors. She sought out individuals with attributes she wanted to improve in herself or would prove useful to have in her skillset, she said. But her most important mentor came right from her own family.

“My mother was a trailblazer – she was the first woman of color to receive a doctorate in her field from her institution. From her I learned how to navigate both a career and family,” Gunter-Smith said.

Along with pursuing her science-related interests as a girl, Gunter-Smith also participated in Girl Scouts. Her favorite memory from her Girl Scout experience was camping as both a camper and camp counselor.

“I still remember the campfire song, ‘Rise Up O Flame.’ I hum it when we have an evening fire in our fire pit at home,” Gunter-Smith said.

For Gunter-Smith today, Girl Scouting means building the skills and attributes that contribute to developing women leaders, including self-confidence, risk taking, learning and exploring. She encourages girls to take every opportunity to explore what they are passionate about and stay excited to learn.

“Yes…girls and women can do science and math! Be confident about what you know and what you want to learn. And sit in the front of the room and raise your hand!”

Gunter-Smith currently resides in York County. She is active in her community by serving as a board member for Central Region Board of Directors of WellSpan, York County Industrial Development Authority, and Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP). She is also a member of the Better York Executive Committee and Pennsylvania State Board of Education, and serves as president of the William Townsend Porter Foundation. Gunter-Smith is married to J. Lawrence Smith and together they have two sons, Lealand and Philip.

GSHPA’s Women of Distinction Celebration will be held on Sept. 14, 2022, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Country Club of York. Visit GSHPA’s Women of Distinction registration page to purchase tickets.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

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