Dr. Serena D. Lowe from Washington, D.C., Class of 1997, will receive a Westminster College Alumni Achievement Award on Saturday, April 21, during the college’s Alumni Weekend.
Dr. Lowe is a federal government relations expert who has spent the past 20 years focused on furthering public policies that promote the socioeconomic empowerment of low-income working families, individuals with disabilities, seniors, children, immigrants, refugees and other at-risk populations.
She currently is the Senior Policy Advisor for Administration for Community Living within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and previously served at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).
She also teaches part-time on the faculty of Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration for the school’s online MPA program.
The Alumni Achievement Award is presented annually to alumni whose accomplishments reflect the Westminster mission and who have distinguished themselves through personal achievements, professional achievements and/or have made significant contributions to society.
“Numerous faculty at Westminster challenged me to consider all facets of complex public policy issues and pushed me to question my own political positions and value framework,” Dr. Lowe says. “They also helped me build critical analytical skills that continue to guide my work today. This academic rigor, coupled with various internships and professional experiences I had while attending Westminster, prepared me well for a career in federal public policy and government relations.”
Prior to service for the federal executive branch, Dr. Lowe served in a variety of leadership roles in the field of federal government relations, working for a Fortune 100 global biopharmaceutical company, a top 20 national lobbying firm and two former members of Congress.
In 2009, Dr. Lowe launched AnereS Strategies, LLC, a dynamic government relations consulting enterprise focused on developing innovative public policy strategies and sophisticated systems-change initiatives focused on improving the quality and outcomes of publicly-financed long-term supports and services for at-risk populations.
Simultaneous to this venture, she served as the first Executive Director of the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination (CPSD).
As a former recipient of both the Churchill Scholarship as well as the Cranshaw Scholarship, Dr. Lowe also acknowledges the critical importance Westminster’s generosity played in assuring her ability to attend college and to study and work overseas during her undergraduate program.
“The tremendous financial support provided by Westminster not only enabled me to attend a private, liberal arts college, but also set me on a course of seeing the world, living in different countries, working on global policy issues and experiencing diverse cultures,” says Dr. Lowe.
Originally from Buckner, Missouri, Dr. Lowe has also lived for short periods of time outside the United States, working in policy positions for the British House of Commons and the Israeli Ministry of Health.
In addition to her undergraduate degree at Westminster, Lowe holds a Master of Public Health in international health policy and an Master of Arts in international development from George Washington University, as well as a Ph.D. in public administration from American University.
Dr. Lowe acknowledges the strong influence her advisor, Dr. Linda Pickle, and Dr. Walter Roettger played in her career path. “If it were not for Dr. Walter Roettger and Dr. Pickle seeing my potential even when I couldn’t, I would have never competed for and received the distinguished Harry Truman Scholarship in Public Service. This scholarship opened an entirely new path for me to graduate school, Washington, D.C., and the federal government relations arena. The time that Dr. Roettger took to review my application package and groom me for the interview process went well above and beyond what most faculty would ever invest in a student. For that, I will always be grateful beyond words.”
Dr. Audrey Remley also had a “profound impact” on Lowe. “She set a tremendous example of what a strong woman with extraordinary work ethic, solid convictions, and unwavering integrity could accomplish in a leadership role.”
Dr. Lowe will receive her award at a special Alumni Honors Convocation Ceremony to be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 21, in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury on the Westminster campus in Fulton, Missouri. The award is approved by both the Alumni Council and the Board of Trustees. Up to six alumni can receive the award annually.
“When I attended Westminster, leadership development was a major emphasis throughout various aspects of college life and continues to be a dominant focus today,” Dr. Lowe says. “I learned some very hard but valuable lessons during my time at Westminster, and these lessons have shaped my own personal leadership style throughout my career and adult life.”