Two Student-Athletes Honored as Leaders at 2014 Commencement

Amherst, MA - Ten total members of the graduating class will be honored as 21st Century Leaders at Undergraduate Commencement.   Two students will also be recognized for their leadership and executive ability as Jack Welch Scholars.  Nick Otis, Co-Captain of the Men's Track Team will be honored as a 21st Century Leader and Melissa Donahue, of the Varsity Women's Rowing team will be honored as a Jack Welsh Scholar.

Nicholas Preston Otis, a nutrition and kinesiology major and member of the Commonwealth Honors College from Goshen, already has made strides in improving the health and well being of disadvantaged populations. He learned Swahili in preparation for both work with street children and research in Tanzania. In Africa, Otis showed a keen ability for relating to children and others through sport and cultural exchange projects. A familiar figure on the athletic fields, Otis was co-captain of the track team, holding the campus record for the 400-meter relay. He is a compassionate neighbor, organizing his peers during a final-exam week to help draft a business plan for a small business destroyed by fire. He plans to work internationally on health issues.

Melissa Donahue, a chemicalengineering major from Hingham, is also a member of the Commonwealth Honors College. She took honors courses and conducted research in a polymer science and engineering lab and spent four years on the varsity women’s rowing team, spending 20 hours a week in early morning practices on the Connecticut River. She is a member of the Chemistry Club, the Society of Women Engineers, and the campus chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, UMass Amherst chapter, and served as treasurer of the UMass Tau Beta Pi Chapter.

 In addition, a former member  of the crew team, Emily Crain, will also be honored as a 21st Century Leader.

Emily Crain, a psychology major from Hopkinton, helped create a more visible and welcoming support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) members of the community interested in spiritual matters by working with the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. The result is more religious and spiritual resources for LGBT students such as gay-friendly clergy and outreach programs. Crain is a former member of the women’s rowing team and an accomplished research assistant. She plans to work in research psychology and then earn a doctorate in clinical or counseling psychology.

Last year, 2 student-athletes, Thando Zono (Field Hockey) and Caroline Conena (Women's Track) were honored as 21st Century Leaders. 

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