Skip to content

AIC School of Health Sciences Dean Honored as Commonwealth Heroine

AIC Dean of Health Sciences Karen Rousseau, PhD, MSN, RN, has been named a member of the Commonwealth Heroines Class of 2023 by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW). 


Every year, the commission collaborates with state legislators to recognize remarkable women who contribute significantly to their organizations and communities. Legislators are encouraged to nominate one woman from their constituency, highlighting her impactful contributions, even if they may not have gained widespread media attention.


Rousseau was nominated for the honor by State Senator Jacob Oliveria, who serves Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties. She is among 126 women across the state who will be celebrated as part of the MCSW’s 20th-anniversary celebration at the Massachusetts Statehouse on Friday, June 23, 2023.


“The Commonwealth Heroines are women who don’t make the news but make all the difference in their communities,” said MCSW Chairwoman Dr. Sarah Glenn-Smith. “Thousands of women in every community across the Commonwealth perform unheralded acts on a daily basis that make our homes, neighborhoods, cities, and towns better places to live. Commonwealth Heroines use their time, talent, spirit, and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others in their community. They are mentors, volunteers, and innovators - they are the glue that keeps a community together.”


Rousseau has excelled as a practicing registered nurse for over forty years while devoting over three decades to nursing education. Her expertise encompasses maternal/newborn and pediatric nursing and nursing management. Rousseau holds the esteemed position of Dean of the School of Health Sciences at AIC. Before that, she served as the Director of the Division of Nursing and contributed as a professor in the undergraduate and RN to BSN programs.


“I’m appreciative of this recognition,” said Rousseau. “I’ve always strived to be a role model to help our nursing students here at AIC be successful in their careers. People look up to and respect nurses, so I always bring that health lens to whatever I do.”


In addition to her leadership role at AIC, Rousseau is also a member of a number of nursing organizations including the Beta Zeta at Large of Sigma Theta Tau, the Organization of Nurse Leaders, ACAD for Academic Leaders, the Healthcare Partnership for Western Mass, and the Pioneer Valley Interprofessional Education Collaborative. She has served the Western Mass Nursing Collaborative as a co-chair in the past and worked to create seamless educational pathways for nursing.


When asked about her most significant achievement in nursing, Rousseau shared, "I take immense pride in nurturing the development of our students, helping them thrive in their careers. At AIC, we prioritize supporting our diverse student body, including many first-generation college students. Witnessing our graduates enter the nursing workforce brings me great joy, knowing that patients will receive care from healthcare providers who reflect their backgrounds."


Apart from her professional commitments, Rousseau is deeply committed to her community. She serves on the board of directors for Chicopee's RiverMills Senior Center and as a member of the Comprehensive Plan for Chicopee 2040 and the Chicopee Charter Review Commission. She has also made significant contributions as a past member of the School Wellness Committee, further highlighting her dedication to the well-being of others.




Back to main screen