Scholarship Helps Student Pave Way to Public Policy Career
Elizabeth Paice (center) with Dean Rifkin (left)
and Ellen Bluestein '84 (journalism), sister of
the late William Bluestein. Elizabeth Paice ’09 (psychology and political science) of Mansfield, Mass., knows what it means to work hard. Besides fulfilling her basic academic requirements, she also is pursuing a certificate in international relations, a letter in social welfare/social work, and a certificate in public policy and administration. Paice’s average course load of twenty-two credits a semester has resulted in a 3.98 GPA—certainly an acknowledgement of her intelligence and organizational skills, especially when one learns that she has also been holding down as many as four part-time jobs during the school year.
This coming year Paice will see some of that financial burden lifted from her shoulders. As the recipient of the William M. Bluestein Memorial Scholarship this spring, she will receive a $2,000 stipend for the next steps of her education.
The late William M. Bluestein ’78 established a fund to endow awards to undergraduate students with demonstrated interest in economics, technology or public policy. Bluestein, who also earned his MA and PhD in economics from UMass Amherst, was president and chief operating officer of Forrester Research, Inc. at the time of his untimely death in 2001. Known for his intelligence, humor, professional achievement and love of family, he was a tremendous advocate for UMass Amherst, and was keenly interested in working with and assisting students, particularly those who are first in their families to attend college.
“For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a lawyer, and thought that political science would best prepare me for law school,” Paice says. “Then in high school I took a psychology elective, and felt very drawn to that field too. I enrolled in Introductory Psych my first semester and knew almost right away that I wanted to add a double major—even though I was unsure of how, or even if, my two majors could be combined into a career.”
Then, during sophomore year Paice enrolled in Urban Government and Development, taught by Brenda Bushouse, who also is the advisor for the public policy and administration certificate. Bushouse explained to Paice the certificate’s interdisciplinary nature and how she could combine all of her interests to complete it with a specialty in social welfare policy. “I knew I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to be part of the program,” Paice recalls. Since then Paice has taken several other public policy courses. “Each one has further shown me how I can pursue both psychology and political science through social welfare policy. The public policy field is so vast that I literally learn about new government programs and policies every day.”
The Bluestein scholarship is one of three awards Paice received for her ongoing studies. She also earned the Rachael and John Morton Honors Scholarship from Commonwealth College and the William F. Field Scholarship from the Alumni Association. Plus, she earned a fellowship from Commonwealth College to do research in the Work and Families Transition Project Lab, and she is a Mansfield Citizen Scholar. “Maybe now I’ll be able to spend more time on school work,” Paice notes, indicating that her experience at UMass Amherst has been very positive.
“I was able to start working on research in clinical psychology at the beginning of sophomore year,” she explains, pointing out that her interactions with professors and graduate students have been extremely helpful. Paice, who is vice president of Psi Chi (the national honor society for psychology), has also been an advisor for first-year students, a tutor for student athletes, and a tour guide for prospective students and their parents. “I tell them that this campus has more opportunities than they can ever imagine…but also that it’s up to them to take advantage of them. I also encourage those who come to join a first-year living-learning community and tell them to get to know their professors.”
Paice has two more years before graduation, but she sees herself immediately starting on a PhD in clinical psychology to pave the way for a university professorship. She expects to specialize in children and families, and envisions herself “seeing clients, teaching courses, and conducting research that will be useful in shaping social welfare policies in the United States and around the world.
June 13, 2007