Pluta, 2009 MEd, receives 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award

Jeff Pluta, 2009 MEd, is a recipient of the 2016 UMass Amherst Distinguished Alumni Service Award in acknowledgement of his contribution to the educational system in Nicaragua. These are the most prestigious awards given by the university to alumni, faculty and friends. This year’s awards will be presented at noon on Monday, April 4 in the Great Hall at the Massachusetts State House in Boston.

Pluta is the founder and executive director of Amped for Education, an international nonprofit that creates learning opportunities for students in developing countries. Pluta and his team have founded a high school and educational centers in rural Nicaragua that currently serve over 250 students daily. In 2016, the inaugural class will graduate from the high school in a community where the majority of adults have not completed the sixth grade.

Amped for Education is partly funded through a social enterprise model that involves hosting high school and college students on service learning trips. More than 100 students from the United States have traveled to Nicaragua with the organization to learn about and explore the country, while having meaningful interactions with their global classmates abroad.

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