Hospital emergency departments and volleyball courts are places where you never know what’s coming next, and where level heads, good teamwork and split-second decisions are necessary.
They’re also places where, for the better part of the last 27 years, you’ll find Shandra Doran, an emergency physician and a star player on the 1990's Pandas volleyball dynasty.
A fierce competitor and tireless worker who thrived under pressure, sports weren’t even on Doran’s radar in 1993 when a friend suggested she try out for the Pandas volleyball team.
For five seasons, the zoology student balanced academics and a demanding volleyball career.
The outside hitter helped the Pandas win four consecutive CIAU national championships from 1995 through 1998, including being named tournament MVP and a CIAU All-Canadian in 1996. She was a member of the Canadian national junior and senior squads and played a season of professional volleyball in Japan.
When injuries gave her a pause to re-examine her future, the self-described adrenaline-junkie found herself back at the U of A, pursuing a PhD that would lead her to medical school and a career as an emergency doctor.
Doran spent a year working as a consultant emergency physician in South Australia, and then she returned to Edmonton in 2015 to work in the emergency departments at the University of Alberta and Stollery Children’s hospitals, as a physician for STARS Air Ambulance and in the trauma program at the University Hospital.
Doran holds the University of Alberta in the highest regard — “a fine institution that for many of us is right in our own ‘backyard’” — and the feeling appears to be mutual. The lifelong learner enjoys contributing to both University of Alberta's and the Edmonton Zone's medical community through teaching and leadership.
Pandas’ coach Laurie Eisler calls Doran “one of the athletes we could always count on.” It’s a statement that still holds true.
While pursuing her PhD, Doran served as an assistant coach with the Pandas. Since 2015, she has also helped out with the team’s medical care.
Eisler calls Doran a powerful role model for athletes and coaches alike in the sports community. “Shandra is the epitome of the type of citizen we hope our student-athletes become.”