Flavio came to the United States from Peru at the age of 12, speaking no English. He overcame his language barrier while also working several jobs through high school and college to support his family. As a Student Ambassador and member of the Student Government Association, he was a leading voice not only for his peers but also for future students. He visited local high schools throughout Berkshire County talking with students about the value of a college education. Falvio also served his community by volunteering in the soup kitchen at St. Mark’s Church in downtown Pittsfield and as a teacher’s assistant for kindergartners at Sacred Heart School. He plans to transfer to a state university or UMass campus to complete an accounting degree.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Flavio chose to recognize Eleanore Velez, Coordinator, Multicultural Center. “Eleanore has been a great mentor to me. She helped me so much not only academically, but also with any other questions I had. I see the passion she has for her students to achieve their dreams and goals and that’s something I’ve admired. Thanks to her, I met other great staff like Karen who works as an outreach counselor.”
Jennifer returned to Bristol Community College as a survivor of domestic violence and substance abuse, determined to use her experience to support others in her community, her church, and as an advocate for victims at court hearings. She has been willing to publicize her own story to build public awareness of the warning signs and effects of domestic violence. As an intern and volunteer, Jennifer played a pivotal role in the successful launch of the college’s new Women’s Center, where she helps plan and promote events. Jennifer will graduate this spring with an associate degree in human services. She will transfer to Bridgewater State University to pursue her dream of becoming a social worker.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Jennifer chose to recognize Dr. Enoch Lamptey, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences. “Dr. Enoch Lamptey has always encouraged me to persist and achieve my goals. He has always gone the extra mile to support my path to success by providing direction and assistance. Dr. Lamptey leads by example inspiring others by promoting the value of both accountability and a positive attitude.”
Mohamed arrived on campus two years ago having already earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in Guinea, West Africa. At Bunker Hill he wanted to learn about accounting and the U.S. tax system. While studying, he also found great value in opportunities for community engagement and leadership development on campus. Mohamed served on the Student Government Association and was a student representative to the Bunker Hill Board of Trustees. He is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. As a volunteer, he has helped collect and package books to send to the Prison Book Program, served food and disseminated groceries through the Women’s Lunch Place and the East End House programs. He will graduate with a 3.93 GPA and plans to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Massachusetts. Eventually, he would like to use his training and education to be of service in Guinea, with the hope that he can contribute to changing tax laws that stigmatize the poor.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Mohamed chose to recognize Tendai Nyakurimwa, Associate Professor, Business Administration. “Mr. Nyakurimwa in a consistently nice way, always pushes students to excellence. During all his first classes, he asks students to introduce themselves and talk about their career goals in the future. He usually says that students should decide their career goals early enough to prepare themselves. He is more than a professor—he dedicates his office hours to students who want guidance on their future careers.”
As a member of the Mashpee Wam-panoag tribe, Grace has a passion for conservation and the fragile natural environment of her native Cape Cod. She writes: “My close ties to this beautiful place give me reason to do whatever I can to protect it and its residents.” Before arriving at the Four C’s, Grace completed over 200 hours of training in hydrology at the University of Arizona, working with federal agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey. Following her training, she served 900 hours at an AmeriCorps intern with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and used the education stipend to pay for classes at Cape Cod Community College. Grace has been accepted into the marine science, safety, and environmental protection program at Mass Maritime.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Grace chose to recognize Kate Martin, Professor of History. “On the first day of World History class with Professor Martin, I knew that she would be one of the greatest teachers I would ever have. Her energy and wealth of knowledge inspired me to think critically and motivated me to broaden my horizons. I will forever be grateful for her encouragement and am honored by the potential she sees in me.”
22-year-old Kendall loves science and has a passion for helping fellow students navigate challenges. She leads by example and will be the first to graduate from GCC’s Career Compass program which provides students hands-on support as they explore majors, build individual academic plans, and prepare for future careers. Before coming to GCC, Kendall was a full-time pre-school teacher. Using her experience as a foundation, Kendall decided to broaden her scope and, while taking an honors seminar course through UMass Amherst, discovered a keen interest in conservation. She interned with both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Connecticut River Fish Project and the U.S. Geological Survey Northeast Amphibian and Research Monitoring Initiative. She will pursue a bachelor’s degree in natural resources with a career goal of becoming a Park Ranger with the Massachusetts Department of Conversation and Recreation. In addition to achieving high academic success, Kendall has been a student leader at GCC’s Wellness Center, developing and implementing outreach activities aimed at destigmatizing mental illness. She has helped design new GCC programs to help students address issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, sexual assault, and substance abuse.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Kendall chose to recognize Kathleen Keough, Learning Support Counselor, Wellness Center. “Kathleen has been an indispensable part of my college career. As my supervisor and mentor, she has provided the quintessential environment for me to thrive and reach my full potential as a student. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her help and support!”
Adam came to the U.S. with his family as a 17-year-old refugee seeking asylum from war-torn Darfur. He spoke three languages when he arrived, but not English. He moved through ESL classes at an accelerated pace and chose criminal justice as his major. He was named to the Dean’s List five times, won three HCC Foundation scholarships, and was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa national honor society. On campus, he has worked in the ESL office where he tutored and mentored fellow students. He served in the HCC Student Senate and in numerous other roles. In the community, he is a volunteer ESL teacher at the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts and works as a volunteer advocate and translator for new Sudanese immigrants in Springfield. He has participated in letter-writing campaigns in support of immigrant rights, worked on voter registration drives, helped with local food drives, and volunteered at area food pantries. On top of that, he works full time as a direct care worker with ServiceNet, a nonprofit human service agency. “Adam is a role model for other students,” says ESL professor Eileen Kelly. “He embodies perseverance and success.” Adam will graduate in June with high honors. He wants to study international law and work on issues relevant to refugees and immigrants.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Adam chose to recognize Denise Roy, Learning Specialist, STRIVE/TRIO Program. “Denise has helped me with so many things. To this day, I suffer from PTSD because of the war in Sudan, and I get really bad flashbacks. She has always been one of the people I could talk to. She has been like a second mom to me.”
Kimberly is a student leader who pursued higher education after her own children attended college. At Massasoit, she served as President of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society; Student Senate President; Presidential Student Ambassador; Honors Scholar; and a Women’s Leadership Group leader. As the Student Senate President, Kim organized a yearlong initiative to assist Father Bill’s and MainSpring homeless shelter in Brockton. After recognizing that the shelter needed assistance with preparing and serving meals, Kim scheduled several dates for fellow student senators to travel to the shelter to serve meals to residents. She also led campus-wide holiday drives to collect clothing and toiletries. In addition, she led a full roster of Student Senate-sponsored events, including an Oxfam hunger banquet, a prison book drive program, Red Cross blood drives, and Department of Children and Families (DCF) holiday parties. As a certified Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative Program (MAICEI) peer mentor, Kim assists students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in their pursuit of higher education. Upon completion of an associate degree in criminal justice, Kim hopes to join the team at the Middlesex Jail and House of Correction to participate in the new People Achieving Change Together initiative, which is specially designed to reduce recidivism amongst young adult offenders.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Kimberly chose to recognize Anne Collins, Director of Student Life. “Anne Collins is my Senate advisor, my mentor, and my friend. As my advisor, she challenges me, sets goals and expectations. As my mentor, Anne shares her knowledge provides guidance and lets me make my own decisions. As my friend, she is an extraordinary listener, and she inspires and motivates me every day.”
Kimberly battled addiction for 12 long years and has been in recovery since October 2015, when she discovered she was pregnant with her son, Blake. She maintained her sobriety while attending college at MassBay, and has gone above and beyond by helping fellow students also battling addictions. Kimberly is the President of the Human Services Club at MassBay’s Framingham campus. Throughout her time at MassBay, she has donated her time, her own money, and her influence to encourage other students to support the Salvation Army, Shadows Sobriety Living House for Women, Habitat for Humanity, and the local food bank, to name a few. One successful project she recently led was making 150 Valentine’s Day gift bags for homeless individuals in Haverhill and Framingham. In addition to her philanthropic activities, Boudreau holds a 3.6 GPA and has made the Dean’s List every semester she has been a full-time student. She is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society for two-year students and the Psi Beta National Honor Society in Psychology. She was honored in 2018 with MassBay’s Silver Key Student Service Honor Society recognizing students who have contributed to the College and the community-at-large, and she is a One Family Scholar. Kimberly plans to transfer to a four-year institution for a bachelor’s degree in human services.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Kimberly chose to recognize Elizabeth Hannigan, Associate Professor of Human Services. “With the help of Professor Hannigan, my dreams have become a reality. She is truly an amazing professor. She tells me I’m not allowed to stop until I have my master’s degree!”
Bridget graduates this spring with a 4.0 GPA and a track record as a highly effective student leader. An honors student and a mom, Bridget has served as a Student Trustee on the MCC Board of Trustees and is a graduate of the Navigators leadership program. She also assists other students as a Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leader, providing academic support to her fellow students. Bridget graduates with a Certificate in Biotechnology. Having already completed a bachelor’s degree at Smith College, she will begin working at Accent Therapeutics. She also wants to work to create a program that connects local high school students with college students to encourage to study Biotech and other STEM related fields.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Bridget chose to recognize Steven Rossi, Director of Leadership and Retention, Student Affairs. “Steve Rossi has encouraged me to pursue leadership roles and has enriched my life through consistent support, training, and advice. His influence has led me to multiple leadership experiences, campus jobs, new skills, and responsibilities. He understands the relationship between connection and retention, and I am grateful for his mentorship.”
Cassie is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who earned the rank of E-5 sergeant while working as a diesel mechanic in the Corps. She returned to The Mount as a non-traditional student and mother of five. Cassie will graduate with a degree in human services and plans to transfer to earn a bachelor’s and then a master’s in social work. While on campus, Cassie became an honors student inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Society, and also served her campus community in a variety of ways. She was an officer in the Veterans and Allies Club and helped restart The Mount’s Human Services Club, organizing a fundraising drive to support Wreaths Across America to honor fallen war veterans. She sought out QPR (suicide prevention) training to be a better advocate and mentor to her fellow students. Off campus, Cassie volunteers as the president of the Gardner High School Booster Club. Her long-term goal is to work at the Veterans Administration as a social worker.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Cassparina chose to recognize Kathy Matson, Student Life Programming Assistant. “Kathy is the person who helped get me involved in student life, which grew to me becoming active on campus. Kathy was a big part of not only getting me involved in clubs and campus life, but also in helping me connect with other students.”
Chelsea is a Commonwealth Commitment student who will earn both associate and bachelor’s degrees thanks to a package of financial incentives offered through this statewide affordability and completion initiative. She was chosen as one of four recipients of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company’s LEADA@Liberty Scholarship, which supports Commonwealth Commitment students throughout their college career. Chelsea has maintained a 3.67 GPA and made the Dean’s List every semester. Chelsea has contributed broadly to campus life at North Shore as an orientation volunteer, peer leader, and TRIO student support volunteer. She also volunteers at the Lynn Community Health Center—all while working 20 hours per week at an additional job. Chelsea plans to pursue a B.S. in biology from UMass Lowell and eventually enroll in medical school to pursue her dream of becoming a neurosurgeon.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Chelsea chose to recognize Vanessa Bates, Academic Counselor, TRIO Supprt Services. “I met Vanessa my first semester and she has guided me since. Through her I met wonderful people and was given opportunities. She was comforting and reassuring when I felt overwhelmed and wanted to give up. I greatly appreciate her and consider her more like a friend or family member.”
This month Tyler graduates with not one, but two degrees from Northern Essex: computer science transfer and information technology. The 2016 Pentucket High School grad was first introduced to NECC through the early college program. Despite his young age, he offered valuable assistance to his fellow students, first as a supplemental instructor and then a computer science tutor. The West Newbury resident also volunteered his time to present to Northern Essex’s College of Older Learners (CoOL) on the basics of computer security. Last summer, while interning in the cybersecurity office of the Food & Drug Administration, he designed a monitoring tool app that is still used today. Tyler will continue to UMass Lowell to earn a bachelor’s in computer and information sciences. Eventually, he hopes to return to the FDA either as a cybersecurity specialist or software designer.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Tyler chose to recognize Adrianna Holden-Gouveia, Professor of Computer Information Science. “Every Professor I’ve had at NECC has left a profound impact on my development as a student and professional. Among them, Adrianna always went the extra mile to sate my limitless curiosity, and ensure I was the best student I could be. I’m incredibly grateful for all that she has done.”
Eager to get involved in the QCC community, Vanessa volunteered to work with the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s Live & Learn Greenhouse initiative, which provides fresh produce to alleviate food insecurity on campus. As Greenhouse Manager, Vanessa managed student volunteers as well as the data analytics, engineering, and pest control teams. Vanessa enjoys working part-time in the Writing Center as a student support tutor. As a member of QCC’s Psi Beta Honor Society, she is the first author of the college’s psychological research group and leads fellow students through the various stages of research. Her group’s proposals for presentation at the annual conference of New England Psychological Association were accepted for both years that Vanessa served as principal author. Vanessa has a strong interest in cognitive and brain sciences. After graduating in May, Vanessa plans to pursue an interdisciplinary degree in philosophy and neuroscience at Boston University.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Vanessa chose to recognize Bonnie Coleman, Advisor, Student Enrollment. “Through her dedication and leadership, Bonnie actively fosters academic excellence, civic engagement, and lifelong friendships in the members of the QCC community. Bonnie has profoundly impacted my life through her compassionate nature and unwavering support. I am grateful for the opportunity to recognize someone so valuable to the QCC community.”
After leaving foster care and experiencing homelessness, Charlene focused on employment more than education. “As a teenager I thought it was more important for me to work than to study,” she recalls. By the time she was 30, she realized she’d need a college degree in order to create a better life for herself and her daughter. At Roxbury Community College, she flourished as a student, making the Dean’s List and serving a Vice President of the Student Government Association. As an SGA leader she helped put together many student activities such as free breakfast and lunch during midterms and finals to address food insecurity. She also helped address student homelessness by providing information regarding available services and local resources, and collected coats for residents of the Dimock Center’s homeless shelter, where Charlene had once resided. Charlene will transfer to UMass Boston to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She plans to go to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in public health.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Charlene chose to recognize Jason Laguna, Professor of Sociology.“Professor Laguna has inspired me to look into the sociological issues plaguing my neighborhood. I have learned not to only look at the issues but also to look at the root or source of the issues. By figuring out the source of the issue, we can figure out a solution.”
Mohamed was born in Sudan in East Africa and moved to Springfield with his family in 2015. Attending STCC was a family affair; both parents and one of his brothers took courses at the college. Diving deeply into college life, Mohamed explored his passion for science, social justice, and community engagement. He served as a Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leader, responsible for providing weekly review and study sessions for fellow students. He was also elected Vice President and then President of the Student Government Association, representing the college at off campus events, partnering with the Foundation, the President’s Office, and launching new initiatives to increase the diversity of the SGA. Much of his off-campus community activities have focused on working with middle and high school students. Visiting local schools, he has met with students to promote STEM courses and opportunities. He hopes to continue his studies in mechanical engineering at a UMass campus.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Mohamed chose to recognize Jane Lerner, M.Ed, Director, Supplemental Instruction. “Jane has been crucial to my time at STCC. Through her mentorship I have learned many things that helped me navigate my way through higher education. She has been my academic, professional, and personal advisor. In her office I found a safe space where I can express myself. She has been a mentor, a friend, and even a therapist when I needed any of those.”
Having worked on a farm in Westport, Danny is an advocate for green technologies and sustainable stewardship of the land. He is particularly concerned about the consequences of climate change and its impact on local agriculture and food security. He has started two small businesses: his own sustainable landscaping company and FarmThrift, an online farmers’ market with a built-in delivery service that aims to increase food access and introduce farmers to the potential benefits of utilizing innovative technologies. FarmThrift partners with local farms, fisheries, and artisans. Danny was awarded a Bridgewater State University Adrian Tinsley Program (ATP) undergraduate research grant to study and create integrated technologies for local food economies. His research project on food security and climate change has informed volunteer efforts to bring more green technology to Massachusetts farms. After graduating in May, Danny will continue his training in carpentry and agriculture. He wants to work at the local and state levels to pursue resilient agriculture policies for Massachusetts.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Daniel chose to recognize Dr. Ryan LaBrozzi, Associate Professor and Chairperson for Global Languages and Literatures. “Dr. LaBrozzi has been an extensively supportive mentor. He was my mentor for the BSU Adrian Tinsley Program for Undergraduate Research grant. He has gone above and beyond what is required of a mentor, helping me apply for Fulbright grant, Posters on the Hill, and even supporting my out-of-school entrepreneurship.”
Alex has distinguished himself as a standout scholar and leader throughout his time at Fitchburg State, starting from high school, when he took dual enrollment courses. He has continued to excel, being named to the Dean’s List and President’s List. He’s a also Commonwealth Honors Scholar who represented the university with distinction as a member of its nationally recognized Moot Court team. Alex served on the Student Government Association and was the student member of the university’s Board of Trustees. He was also appointed to represent students on Fitchburg State’s All University Committee, which evaluates changes to curriculum, academic policies, and student affairs. As an internin the offices of Fitchburg Mayor Stephen L. DiNatale and U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, Alex contributed to strong connections between the university and community. He is studying for the LSAT and plans to work before law school. He’s also considering local elective office.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Alexander chose to recognize Paul I. Weizer, Ph.D., Professor, Economics, History and Political Science. “Dr. Weizer has consistently gone above and beyond in his support of my personal and professional aspirations, from advising me on what classes to take to prepare for law school to counseling me about whatever hardships I encountered. I am forever indebted to him for his guidance and teachings.”
Michel has worked incredibly hard to pursue his education at FSU. During his first semester, he commuted from Brockton to Framingham for classes while working 32 hours a week as a residential counselor on overnight shifts at the Franciscan Children’s CBAT (Community Based Acute Treatment) Unit. Despite the rigors of a long commute while juggling work and school, Michel became deeply involved in FSU campus life. He served as the president and treasurer of the Marketing Club, and was a member of the Framingham State Honors Program. He also supported his peers as a Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leader in business calculus. As the Assistant to the Director at FSU’s Entrepreneur Innovation Center, Michel’s duties included managing staff operations, tracking finances, and on-boarding new student staff, all while working alongside more than 30 entrepreneurs operating out of the center. Michel plans to pursue a graduate degree with a focus on finance and marketing. His goal is to use his business and marketing acumen to contribute to the economic development of his hometown of Brockton.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Michel chose to recognize Mark Hardie, Director, Framingham State Entrepreneur Innovation Center. “Mark has been a tremendous mentor to me. He has continually expanded my responsibilities at the Innovation Center, allowing me to manage students and giving me a prominent role in interacting with our members. I credit him with building my capacity as a leader.”
Love is an artist, designer, and activist who has played a pivotal role in the Artists of Color Union at MassArt. Her role as a student leader has helped propel MassArt to become a more inclusive and welcoming community for all students. She has served in multiple roles on campus—as an RA, “Primer” for new student orientations, and as a participant in other campus forums. She also works in the local community, as an Art Coordinator at MassArt’s afterschool program, MissionSafe, in Roxbury. Graduating with a degree in industrial design, Love plans to focus on art education and continue to help mentor young adults.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Love chose to recognize Lyssa Palu-ay, Dean, Office of Justice, Equity, and Transformation. “Lyssa Palu-ay has been an instrumental part of my undergraduate education. She has providing me with opportunities and experiences like course assistantships, work study positions and established community space, Academic Compass, thats helps acclimate student like me to an art university experience. She has been a positive support and helped me establish connections at MassArt I did not anticipate having.”
Lindsey graduates magna cum laude this May with a B.S. in computer science with a software development concentration. She earned an associate degree from Berkshire Community College in dental assisting before deciding to follow her brother to MCLA. This honors student has devoted considerable time to helping fellow computer science students succeed academically and socially. Due to her excellent work ethic as a team leader and learner, Lindsey was offered a coveted internship as a full member of a software development team. As a result of the internship, she has accepted a full-time position as software engineer with General Dynamics in Pittsfield.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Lindsey chose to recognize Mark Cohen, Associate Professor of Computer Science. “Professor Cohen went above and beyond to help me understand the material and get to where I am today. He was there when I was unsure of my place in this major. He is a great mentor and always had faith in me that I would be able to accomplish great things.”
Hannah has dedicated herself to service of her community throughout her tenure at Massachusetts Maritime. She has been involved with MMA’s Big Brother/Big Sister program for 4 years, is a founding member of the Academy’s Safe Harbor LBGTQA+ organization, and a member of the President’s Task Force on Diversity. Ms. Harm played a pivotal role in bringing an Annual Pride Week event to the MMA community, helping the administration organize special events and speakers in support of the LGBTQA+ community on campus. Upon graduation Ms. Harm will have her third mate’s unlimited tonnage license and plans to utilize that shipping out within the industry. She eventually hopes to return to school for a graduate degree in the field of education.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Hannah chose to recognize Mirey Medina, Assistant Director of Inclusive Excellence and International Programs. “It was through her and her office’s support that Pride Week and many other Cadet Alliance of Safe Harbor events were able to get off the ground. Without her encouragement and logistical support I would not have had the courage and ability to make the change that I have seen at the Academy.”
Yoscairy has completed more than 520 volunteer hours connected to her study of social work. What is remarkable about her involvement is the passion and consistency she brings to her work. As a volunteer, she works with “We Rise,” a program of Centerboard, a non-profit organization in Lynn. “We Rise” brings survivors of commercial sexual exploitation together with key community allies in order to prevent, intervene against, and promote recovery of victims. Their comprehensive, survivor-informed program empowers girls and young women through community outreach, emergency intervention, and transitional and ongoing supports. Ms. Raymond has held previous positions with the Lynn Community Health Center and as a student advocate at Chelsea High School. She also serves as a minister in her local church. After graduating from Salem State, Ms. Raymond plans to continue to work for Centerboard as the Assistant Program Director of the Supported Teen Employment Program.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Yoscairy chose to recognize Lisa Johnson, Associate Professor, School of Social Work. “Dr. Johnson has been such an instrumental contributor to my success. With her encouragement and her amazing wisdom she always made sure I felt supported and heard. ‘Specificity is the key to success,’ she always tells us.”
Giana has participated widely in both on- and off-campus activities and organizations. She has volunteered at the Boston Marathon and organizing an American Red Cross blood drive, as well as walks to support those with breast cancer, autism and Alzheimer’s. Her greatest impact was realized through her involvement in and leadership of the Westfield State University Student Ambassador Program, as one of 15 students representing the University. In addition to mentoring students with learning disabilities, Giana provided advocacy for Westfield’s Fostering A Culture of Empowerment and Success (FACES) group, which supports students in the foster care system. Giana emerged as a leader of the group and became a mentor and a friend to FACES members. After graduation Giana plans to gain experience in the IT field and then pursue a master’s degree and a career in cyber security.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Giana chose to recognize Carlton Pickron, Vice President for Student Affairs. “Throughout my journey Carlton made sure I was giving my best effort. He consistently offered a helping hand and lifted me up. I will always remember his positive energy that radiated in the room and his inspiration that helped me get where I am today.”
Nana is sociology major graduating with a 3.75 GPA. She is a Presidential Student Ambassador at Worcester State University, where she regularly represents the university to members of the community and other dignitaries. She was named the Founding Student Ambassador to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate. In this role, Nana works with the educational staff of the EMK Institute to lead and develop the institute’s programs for school and college-age students. Nana has led groups of high school AP and Honors students as they engage in negotiation practices and debates on key constitutional issues such as the Electoral College and Ranked Choice Voting. Nana has been an Orientation Leader and has been employed in the WSU Division of Continuing and Graduate Education for four years. Nana has an abiding interest in public policy and education. She will attend Suffolk University Law School in the fall.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Nana chose to recognize Marilyn Cleary, Assistant Dean, Division of Graduate and Continuing Education. “Marilyn Cleary has been my mentor and confidante during my time at Worcester State. She has asked me to take on challenging work and has taught me how to develop myself professionally. She is a terrific mentor and I know that I can always reach out to her for advice no matter where I go.”
Jessica is a dedicated and self-motivated psychology major with a neuroscience concentration on the pre-med and honors track. She has served as a teaching assistant in the Biochemistry department and as a research assistant. A Certified Nursing Assistant since 2016, Jessica also works alternating day and night shifts between rehabilitation and nursing home care. Jessica offers her time to organizations such as the Latinos Unidos and the affiliated dance group Cayena. She participates in the Pre-Medical Society’s weekly volunteer program at a local nursing home, New England Rehabilitation Center. She is the founder and president of Project Hope, a community service project aimed at supporting individuals in the homeless community through food drives, serving at soup kitchens, collecting donations, running toy drives and hosting holiday events. As a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Scholar, Jessica has been able to conduct laboratory research. She was recently accepted into the UMass Baccalaureate to MD Pathways program, which provides provisional acceptance to the UMass Medical School for underrepresented students. Jessica’s goal is to become a surgeon.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Jessica chose to recognize Wilmore C. Webley, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Pre-Health Advisor, Department of Microbiology. “Dr. Webley has been an extraordinary mentor to me. He has provided me with the guidance and opportunity to grow as a scientist and a student. Throughout all my endeavors, he has shown tremendous support and has provided me with invaluable advice as I forge my path to becoming a doctor.”
Kristen’s academic and life paths have been anything but traditional. During her junior year of high school, she was badly burned during a chemistry experiment. The accident and recovery process became a defining experience. To confront her fear of fire, she left her studies in New York and became a volunteer emergency medical technician.
After relocating to Boston, Kristen went to school part-time and worked for several local non-profits. As a YMCA lifeguard, she designed and led emergency response training for all the YMCA facilities in the Boston area. While interning at Microsoft, she quickly rose to lead a team that arranged and delivered nine coding workshops, serving 200 underrepresented teens, including low income, minority, and female coders who had no other access to such programs. She is a member of the Algorithmic Justice League, which is dedicated to correcting biases in Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can lead to unfair decisions in employment, college admissions, and prison sentences. After graduation, Kristen will join an AI team at Microsoft that works on embedding AI tools in software products.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Kristen chose to recognize Andrew Grosovsky, Dean, College of Science & Mathematics. “From the moment we met, Dr. Grosovsky consistently made my success a priority. He cared about and understood me as a person and my goals, and he helped unconditionally in any way he could. He believed in me when I didn’t always believe in myself. His unequivocal support was a vital source of motivation in graduating and starting an exciting artificial intelligence career.”
A member of the Endeavor Scholars Program, Josue consistently outperformed all program requirements and expectations. He immigrated to the U.S. less than a decade ago. Growing up in Lawrence, he channeled his passion for computers by coaching younger children in robotics competitions. He now volunteers over 30 hours a week, teaching robotics at a YMCA in Fall River, helping out at the campus food pantry, and tutoring in the computer science department. Josue is in his third year at UMass Dartmouth but has already begun taking graduate classes and conducting independent research. He will graduate with a 3.95 GPA and a bachelor’s in computer science. Josue will continue as a graduate student at UMass Dartmouth next year and plans a career in AI.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Josue chose to recognize Deirdre Elizabeth Healy, Director Office of Community Service and Partnerships, Leduc Center for Civic Engagement. “Through my involvement at the Leduc Center, I’ve been supported to be the best version of myself and pushed to get out of my comfort zone. My experiences as a leader and mentor opened up my mind to new, important ideas about community that I hadn’t previously considered. I am grateful for the support and opportunities the Leduc Center has provided me. Deirdre and the staff have made me feel like I found a home at the Center.”
When Edina moved to the United States with her husband in 2006, she had completed a year of college, but did not speak English. So, she started over again, taking ESL classes at night and working as a housecleaner and babysitter during the day. She enrolled at Middlesex Community College, first taking basic writing classes before moving on to the courses she needed for her associate degree in human services. After graduating, Edina’s passion for learning led her to UMass Lowell, where she joined the Honors College and began her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Through an Honors course that included service learning and a group project, she volunteered in a homeless shelter and created a guide to dozens of community resources for clients. Her commitment to volunteering extended beyond the course, leading her to help out at nonprofits around the city, from organizing clothing drives to babysitting for single parents so they could go to school and work. But in 2017, she was dealt a setback: a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Edina underwent chemotherapy and radiation, but remained in school, determined to complete her degree. When doctors told her she had to curtail her volunteer work, she found another way to help: creating Community Connections, a website connecting students and other members of the UMass Lowell community to volunteer opportunities. After her treatment, Hirt began providing respite care for parents of children with special needs. They inspired her to pursue a concentration in behavioral analysis within the psychology program. Now cancer-free, Edina will graduate summa cum laude and continue at UMass Lowell for her master’s degree in autism studies.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Edina chose to recognize Susan Thomson Tripathy, Associate Professor and Director, Bachelor of Liberal Arts. Edina credits Prof. Tripathy for encouraging her academic success throughout her time at UMass Lowell, beginning with an Honors College service-learning class that inspired Edina’s love of community service and supporting her throughout her battle with cancer and in completing her Honors capstone project.”
Meme is the daughter of a Vietnamese refugee who arrived in the U.S shortly after the war. Growing up in Worcester, her immigrant parents encouraged Meme to pursue higher education. She did so, earning a bachelor of science degree in biology from MIT. She is a first-generation college student and the first in her family to become a physician. Since arriving at UMass Medical School (UMMS), Meme has been dedicated to the community on campus as well as the city beyond it. During her first year of medical school, Meme partnered with second- and third-year medical students to develop a Civics and Citizenship course for refugee youth through the Worcester Refugee Assistance Project (WRAP). She received the Martin Luther King Jr. Semester of Service Award three times in four years for her work with refugee youth. One of her award-winning projects, “Making Worcester Home,” was developed with the Department of Urban Studies at Worcester State University, using storytelling, oral history, photography and mapping to describe the problems that immigrant and refugee youth face, and to help them identify solutions. In recognition of her compassion, humanism, patient-centered care and advocacy work, Meme was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society at UMMS in the Spring of 2018. She will pursue residency training in Emergency Medicine and was matched at the UMass Memorial Medical Center/UMMS Emergency Medicine program.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Meme chose to recognize Peter Metz, Professor Psychiatry. “Dr. Metz has been a phenomenal mentor to me here at UMass. He saw me beyond academics and supported me in my community service efforts with the Worcester Refugee Assistance Project and on my Capstone project. He is extremely resourceful and is able to connect me with other people in the community for various needs. Time and time again, he has heard my story and has not only applauded, but encouraged my strength.”