Editor’s note: This feature is dedicated to profiling Van Horn High School Alumni and updating locals on what became of them after graduation. The Advocate welcomes information for publication on VHHS Alumni and will try to highlight two Van Horn Eagles every week.
Sandy McCutchen-Maloney (VHHS class of ’84) currently resides in Pleasanton, California, a beautiful part of the San Francisco Bay Area, with her husband Dave and their three daughters, Allison, Jessica and Katie. As far back as Sandy can remember she was interested in medicine and science. She worked at Culberson County Hospital as a lab and x-ray technician throughout high school, and then obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from Sul Ross State University while working as a medical technologist. After deciding she wanted to pursue medical research rather than practice medicine, she earned her Doctorate in Biochemistry from Texas A&M. While at A&M, where she worked in human health and amyloid disease, Sandy met the love of her life and her future husband, Dave, originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The two married after graduating with their PhD’s and moved to California where Dr. Dave still works in the chemical / semiconductor industry. Dr. Sandy worked for 10 years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and was part of the exciting and innovative Human Genome Project. Sandy was also fascinated with infectious diseases research. After September 11th and the anthrax letters, Sandy moved to the national lab’s Biodefense Program and worked on early and rapid detection of infectious diseases, bringing her back to her original passion for human health. While building her science career and eventually directing over 15 other Ph.D. scientists and their research groups, Sandy and Dave started their family and are quick to admit it was an extremely busy time in their lives. When their daughters were 4, 6 and 8, Sandy retired from science and worked from home, mainly writing, so she could focus on raising her daughters, who are now all in high school. When they were younger, Allison, Jessica and Katie sampled soccer, swimming, band, art and dance; however, their passion was notably dance, especially tap, ballet, jazz and contemporary dance styles. This opened an unexpected career path for Sandy, who now owns a small business, Expressions Dance and Arts. The dance studio has grown to over 300 students in 4 years, and the Expressions Dance Team has over 60 dancers, including Sandy’s three daughters, that perform and compete in regional and national dance competitions and exhibitions. In fact, they performed at Disneyland in the 2015 Holiday Parade with professional dancers. Sandy relishes watching her daughters pursue their dreams and knowing she can be there to support them. In another career turn, Sandy also started a skincare business as a Rodan + Fields consultant last year, and appreciates learning about the science behind the products while helping her customers with not only their skincare needs but also with starting their own small businesses. Through all the career changes and opportunities, from lab technician and medical technologist, to scientist, research director, writer, skincare consultant, and small business owner, the most important job Sandy holds is “mom” to Allison, Jessica and Katie, who are her pride and joy! In her spare time, Sandy enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors in gorgeous Northern California – hiking, swimming, cycling and going to the beach, though she still misses the beautiful West Texas skies and sunsets!