Dr. Maria Corena McLeod, PhD '00

March 15, 2011

Director of Latin American Projects for World Solutions Against Infectious Diseases (WSAID)
Jacksonville, Fla.

McLeod, a native of Columbia, has worked with a variety of organizations since graduating from Baylor, including the University of Florida's Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, the Mayo Clinic, the World Health Organization and now WSAID, an international group dedicated to decreasing disease transmission and its causes worldwide.

Maria Corena McLeod

"A good leader should engage people from diverse backgrounds with respect and promote teamwork at all levels, but most importantly, I think a good leader should be committed to the creation of a positive, lasting change in the world.

"In science, I believe the key [to being an effective leader] is to respect individual ideas while promoting teamwork and perseverance. Ethical behavior is the most important component of good science. Respect is the second one. Perseverance is the third.

"During my time at Baylor, I interacted with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, professors and students, and we developed long-lasting friendships. This experience taught me how incredibly fortunate we are to have people different from us surrounding us. I learned different things every day, and I became a better person because of the people around me and what they taught me. The spirit of teamwork and collaboration influenced our success, but the most important ingredient was the respect we all had for each other. I had very good role models during my time at Baylor, and I was spiritually encouraged by them every day."