Spotlight Features

Spotlight features members of the UMass Amherst community that exemplify the values of CMASS.  The students, faculty and staff members featured on this page are role models through their leadership and their advocacy for social justice, equity and inclusion.  They share their knowledge and resources to promote student success. Enjoy and be inspired.


Angela HoCPA Success Story: Angela Ho

  Originally posted on the AICPA Insights by Guest Blogger on May 26, 2016

For Angela Ho, CPA, CGMA, dichotomy has been a constant presence in her life: East and west. Public accounting and business/industry. Young and seasoned.

Born in Virginia as a first-generation Chinese-American, Angela experienced a childhood with one foot in the United States and the other in Hong Kong, where she lived for five years, followed by two years in Tokyo.Her father’s international work assignments were “my earliest exposure to the business world,” Angela says. “I was surrounded by businesspeople starting at a young age.”  Read More...


Modesto Montero

By Olivia Laramie

  Modesto Montero is no stranger to the struggle of growing up in a low-income environment. Born in the Dominican Republic, Montero describes his early life as that of extreme poverty and states that his education was “inadequate.” When he was ten years old, Montero moved to Massachusetts. “I was afforded the opportunity to receive an excellent education. I was held to very high academic and behavioral expectations.” By his senior year of high school, he knew he would go to college.  Read more ...


 Soun Heang LeeSoun Heang Lee

  By Olivia Laramie

  "The first step to figuring out exactly what you want to do is a big hurdle. Once you figure it out, it’s not easy, but it’s easier.”

Soun Heang-Lee is someone quite familiar with defying life’s hurdles. A senior Bio-Chemistry and Molecular Biology major, Heang-Lee is a student with a lot to prove. He moved to Revere, Massachusetts (and eventually Lynn, Massachusetts) in 2006 with his family from Cambodia. “Everything was different,” he recalled. When he moved to America, he was just beginning the seventh grade. His parents made the move in hopes of a better education for Heang-Lee. Additionally, he added that “corruption was big” in Cambodia. Read more ...




  Mari CastanedaMari Castañeda

  By Nicole Dotzenrod

Growing up in Los Angeles, CA, University of Massachusetts Amherst communication professor Mari Castañeda, Ph.D. has been immersed in the culture    of the media her entire life. She recalls her elementary and high school classes being taken to Hollywood lots to fundraise for the school by being members of a studio audience for sitcoms.

 “I grew up seeing the construction of media that was taking place, but of course as a child you assume everything in the media is true and you don’t question it,” said Castañeda. Seeing the behind-the-scenes of Hollywood production, “made me realize how incredibly fabricated it is and how constructed the media is – even down to the laugh of the audience.” Read more ...


Danielle Hill

By Nicole Dotzenrod
Posted 4/28/15

University of Massachusetts alum Danielle Hill has dedicated her life’s work to advocating on the behalf of indigenous tribes. She works as the Senior Planner for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, helping to facilitate the strategic planning for the Tribe, as well as writing grants and creating new programs for the tribal departments.

“I will always work on behalf of the betterment of Tribes, whether it be my own or for other Native organizations,” Hill said about her work. Read more...