The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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English Opportunity Fund

 The English Opportunity Fund is an endowed fund that provides a modest annual payout. Through small grants, this fund helps a wide range of worthy English Department students meet the demanding everyday costs of their education, including the sometimes overwhelming cost of books, computer supplies, and expenses when studying abroad, doing internships, or attending conferences off campus.

History of the fund

The English Opportunity Fund was established in 2005 to provide support to students who need assistance in meeting the costs of their education. The fund sprang to life when several retiring professors asked their colleagues to contribute to a student fund in their honor in lieu of giving them personal gifts. Members of the English Department Alumni Board were inspired by the faculty's generosity and chose to personally contribute. Alumni and faculty continue to donate to this important fund.

How to apply 

Applications are taken during the fall semester and awards made in December so that students will have funds at their disposal for the spring semester.

2022 Award winners:

MaryKate Boggan pictureMaryKate Boggan is a junior with a minor in Education. She serves as the Associate Member Educator of the Iota Chapter of Delta Xi Phi Multicultural Sorority, Inc., a sisterhood designed for women and non-binary individuals of all races, religions, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.  She works as a tutor in the Writing Center and volunteers with the Homework House of Holyoke as an elementary school tutor.  This summer, MaryKate will be teaching middle school reading in Holyoke through Generation Teach, a free summer enrichment program focused on social justice and discovery learning.  In her free time, MaryKate enjoys fitness and spending time with her two nieces in Connecticut, Maggie and Molly.

Emma Gill photoEmma Gill is a sophomore at UMass and a member of the Commonwealth Honors College.  Emma is  pursuing a letter of specialization the study and practice of writing. She is also working to complete a certificate in professional writing in the future.  In her free time, she loves to read, watch movies, and paint pictures of cats.

Tiffany Huynh photoTiffany Huynh is a junior double major in English and Comparative Literature and is working towards her specializations in creative writing and the study and practice of writing. Tiffany is an Asian-American woman and the daughter of two courageous and loving first-generation immigrants. Her interests lie in creative writing, critical race theory, the Asian diaspora, and literary as well as writing theory. She is an RA on campus as well as a tutor in the Writing Center (two jobs that she loves dearly). Like any other English major, Tiffany aspires to shake the world completely with the stories she has bottled up inside her head. She isn’t sure what the future has in store for her yet, but she hopes to publish a novel at least once in her lifetime and attend graduate school to become a professor.

Anna Shahbazyan photoAnna Shahbazyan is a junior studying English and Comparative Literature and pursuing certificates in Film Studies and Professional Writing and Technical Communication.  She works as a Writing Center Tutor; a Peer Mentor on the Student Leadership Board and is the Head Poetry Editor for Jabberwocky, the English Department’s official undergraduate literary magazine. Anna enjoys reading books recommended by friends, watching old films, and exploring hiking trails around Western Massachusetts.

Prior year winners:

2019 Award winners:

Syki Barbee — class of 2021
Isabelle Giuttari — class of 2021
Cassandra Jordan — class of 2021
Danyea West — class of 2021

2018 Award winners:

Kyle Arena  — class of 2021
Michelle Chen — class of 2021
Sam Xi Wong  — class of 2020

2017 Award winners:

Michelle Chen — class of 2021
Blake Stewart — class of 2019
Claire Wixted — class of 2019

2016 Award winners:

Danielle Fahey — class of 2017
Gabrielle Sobolewski — class of 2018, member of Commonwealth College
Jillian Wybenga — class of 2106 English/Management double-major, member of Commonwealth College

2015 Award winners:

Ashley McDermott — class of 2018, member of Commonwealth College
Mattie Adam — class of 2016
Steven Gillard — class of 2016 English/Communication double-major, member of Commonwealth College

2014 Award winners:

Nicole Blackwood — class of 2015, English/ Early Childhood Education double-major
Thalia Peña — class of 2015 English/Communication double-major
Maxwell Heath — class of 2015, member of Commonwealth College

2013 Award winners:

Meagan Fleming — class of 2014, English/French double-major, minor in Latin, member of Commonwealth College
Cassandra Duncanson  — class of 2014, English/Art History double-major, member of Commonwealth College
Gregory Schwartz — class of 2014Aidan Stone — class of 2013

2012 Award winners:

Brenna Gallo — class of 2013
Amanda Lavelle — class of 2013
Carl Mead — class of 2013, minor in political science
Lindsay Ormond — class of 2013, certificate in Native American Studies

2011 Award winners:

Caitlin Gebhard — class of 2013, minor in French, member of Commonwealth College
Storie Libby — class of 2013, minors in Education and Spanish
Laura Lovett — class of 2013, minor in psychology, member of Commonwealth College
Katharine Wynkoop — class of 2012, English/Studio Arts double-major, member of Commonwealth College

2010 Award winners:

Jane Derderian — class of 2011,English/Spanish double-major, minor in entemology
Rand Nashi — class of 2011, English/Psychology double-major, member of Commonwealth College
Amy Rafferty — class of 2010, member of Commonwealth College
Kaitlin Abrahamson — class of 2011
Veronique Lee — English/French double-major, certificate in International Relations