Zono, Conena Named 21st Century Leaders At Commencement

AMHERST, Mass. - Thando Zono, (field hockey) and Caroline Conena (Track and Field) were two of the 11 students the University of Massachusetts honored as a 21st Century Leader during the 2013 Undergraduate Commencement, hosted on May 10 at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

Conena, an East Sandwich, Mass. native was also was honored by the state Department of High Education as one of the "29 Who Shine" for her academic excellence. The "29 Who Shine" recognizes a select group of outstanding students from colleges and universities across the state. While part of the women's track and field team, Conena graduated with a 4.0 GPA. She also served as a peer mentor to first year students and a Commonwealth Honors College peer ambassador where she met with Massachusetts high school students and introduced them to the ideas of college programs and opportunities. Conena has interned with CommunicateHealth for the past two years and has accepted a position with the Northampton firm following graduation.

Zono, a resource economics major with a 3.574 cumulative GPA, transferred to UMass prior to her sophomore year in 2010 after beginning her collegiate career at Rhodes University in South Africa. An NFHCA First Team All-American as a senior, Zono balanced her athletic commitment with serving as a tour guide for the University and participating in Athletes in Action, a ministry for campus athletes. The Grahamstown, South Africa, native will continue competing in field hockey in Australia with the Rockingham Redbacks and plans on pursuing a master's degree in economics. Previously this semester, Zono was honored as the Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the Female Senior Athlete of the Year during the annual UMass Senior Awards Banquet, held on Monday, May 6.