Adina Giannelli will be the Student Speaker at UMass Amherst Undergraduate Commencement

AMHERST, Mass. – Senior Adina Giannelli, of Canton, Mass., who is graduating with an undergraduate degree in journalism and anthropology, has been selected to be the student speaker at the 135th Commencement of the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Sunday, May 22 at 10 a.m. in Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

Giannelli started a library and literacy program at Horizons for Youth in Sharon, Mass., within a residential summer camp for at-risk, inner-city youth, ages 7-17 in the summer of 2004. As the program''s literacy director, she solicited nearly 1,000 books from publishers, booksellers, educators and authors for the program. Giannelli also designed and implemented a reading and writing program for 500 campers. She served as assistant director at the Canton Summer School from spring 2001 to summer 2003.

At UMass, Giannelli is a Commonwealth College scholar who earned departmental honors in journalism and was on the dean''s list for six of seven semesters. She is the recipient of the Matt Kramer Award for Creative Writing from the College of Humanities and Fine Arts in the spring of 2004, and the recipient of the first Connor Internship Award from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the summer of 2004.

Giannelli worked as an assistant at the Student Union Art Gallery beginning in the winter of 2004 and served as a reading tutor at the Wildwood School in Amherst helping a second-grade teacher with classroom duties and tutoring individual students in English as a Second Language and those with learning disabilities.

After graduation, Giannelli says she has been selected to be part of Teach for America and will spend the summer training and teaching summer school in Houston, Texas. She will spend the next two years teaching high school English on a Lakota reservation in South Dakota. After that Giannelli says she plans to enroll in a graduate program in American studies and hopes to become a college professor.

Giannelli was chosen to be the student speaker by a committee of faculty and students.