21st Century Leaders, Welch Scholars to be recognized at Commencement

The exemplary achievement, initiative and leadership of some of the university’s most talented and accomplished graduating seniors will be recognized during Undergraduate Commencement on May 10 beginning at 5 p.m. at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.
Eleven graduating seniors have been named 21st Century Leaders and will be honored for far-ranging achievement, initiative and social awareness. Ten of those being recognized are members of Commonwealth Honors College.
  • Zachary Robert Bemis, a Civil Engineering major with a minor in Geology, is from Southborough. He was president of the campus’ chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and helped secure $6,000 for the chapter’s activities. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in geotechnical engineering at the University of Texas in Austin.

  • Michael J. Boucher, of Southampton, is a dual major in Microbiology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. His research has won acclaim from faculty, and he was one of the few undergraduates to present research at the international Molecular Parasitology conference at Woods Hole. Boucher will enter the doctoral program in microbiology and immunology at Stanford University.

  • Caroline Conena, of East Sandwich, is a double major in Management and Public Health Sciences. In addition to her academic work, throughout her four years at UMass Amherst Conena has excelled as a middle-distance runner on the women’s track and field team. She has accepted a professional job at CommunicateHealth, a Northampton firm where she was an intern.

  • Tracy Gebhart, of Sioux Falls, S.D., majored in Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies and, through the Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration program, completed a second major, “Civic Engagement and Public Health Education through Media Production.” She plans to pursue a master’s degree in Public Policy from UMass Amherst.

  • Sarah C. Kelley, of Woburn, is an Anthropology major. She served an internship at the Center for Education, Policy and Advocacy’s Student Labor Action Project and won a scholarship that allowed her to pursue an internship with Massachusetts Jobs with Justice and was a part-time Americorps Student Leader in Service. Kelley plans to travel to Latin America to teach English.

  • Kate Liedell, a major in Chemistry with a minor in Education, is from Westborough. She is a member of the College of Natural Sciences’ Student Leadership Committee. Liedell played flute in the Minuteman Marching Band. She plans to earn a master’s degree in Education at UMass Amherst and become a high school chemistry teacher.

  • Timothy Light, of Pelham, is a Civil and Environmental Engineering major. He twice traveled to Kenya with Engineers Without Borders. He has served two internships with local consulting engineering firms and volunteers for two Habitat for Humanity projects. He has accepted a position with Langan Engineering in Elmwood Park, N.J., and intends to earn a master’s degree after gaining work experience.

  • Kristen Richard is a Kinesiology major from Leominster. She received a Baystate Student Summer Scholar Research Grant and for the past four years has been a Special Olympics soccer partner. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi national honor society. Richard will attend the M.D. program at Tufts University.

  • Ankur Sheel, of Amherst, has a double major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Neuroscience. He was selected as an elective student at Guy’s and St. Thomas’s Hospital in London, England, organized the first youth empowerment seminar at Amherst Regional High School and has coached youth soccer. He plans to earn an M.D/Ph.D. and serve with Doctors Without Borders.

  • Michael Veling, of Lincoln, double-majored in Chemistry and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He is the recipient of a National Goldwater Scholarship for scientific research. He was an employee and board member at The Food Project. Veling will attend the graduate program in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Thandolwethu Zono, a native of South Africa, transferred to UMass Amherst as a sophomore on a field hockey scholarship. A Resource Economics major, she has been a tour guide on campus since arriving in Amherst and a mainstay of Athletes in Action, a ministry for campus athletes. She plans to play for the Rockingham Redbacks Hockey Club in Australia and then earn a master’s degree in economics.

In addition, four graduating seniors will be recognized for their leadership and executive ability as Jack Welch Scholars.

  • Brandon Matthew Auger, of Shrewsbury, majored in Accounting and History. He won an Academic Excellence Award as a junior, and was chair of community service activities at the Isenberg School of Management in his first two years. He interned at the international accounting firm Grant Thornton and will join that company as an audit associate in the fall.

  • Philip Edward MacClellan is a Civil Engineering major from Franklin. As a member of Engineers Without Borders he designed a sustainable, hand-operated water pump for use in the Amazon River valley, and traveled to Brazil to install it. He plans to stay at UMass Amherst and earn a master’s degree in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering.

  • Kathleen E. Murphy, of North Andover, is a Finance major with an Economics minor. She spent her junior year at the London School of Economics, traveled to 11 countries and tutored students in London primary schools. She also did an accounting internship in Dublin, Ireland. She was captain of the intramural soccer team. Murphy will move to London in the fall to work in the management consulting analyst development program at Accenture LLP.

  • Nicolas James Frederick Skarzynski is a Chemical Engineering major from Montague. For four years he played trombone in the Minuteman Marching Band. He plans to attend Carnegie Mellon University in the fall where he will earn a doctorate in chemical engineering with a focus on renewable energy technology and policy with a focus on solar energy technologies.