photo collage of a diverse group of UMass Amherst students, faculty, staff and alumni

UMass Resilience As...

We are proud to celebrate UMass Amherst students, alumni, faculty, and staff who have embodied resilience in challenging times.

Learning, parenting, teaching, working—the way society functioned dramatically shifted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As everyone collectively stretched their legs like endurance runners participating in the New Normal, there’s been no choice but to adapt in real time and reconcile with what once was, now a relic of The Before.

While trudging through obstacles that wracked weary minds and bodies, there were also significant, life-altering ups in 2021 compared to the dramatic downs of 2020: vaccination against a novel virus became available at record speed; research helped the public make informed choices on mitigating risks for infection; opportunities for joy, community, and support once again became within reach of eager grasps.

The successes of the year would not be possible without the hope, perseverance, and sheer brilliance of friends, colleagues, teachers, and ourselves. With the idea that we are stronger when we work toward the common good, folks at UMass Amherst created positive change, both in our backyards and around the globe—changes that brought empowerment, love, pride, and inspiration when it was needed most.

Though the list could stretch well beyond what is written here, we are proud to celebrate these UMass Amherst students, alumni, faculty, and staff who embody resilience in challenging times.


Jeff Hescock, Ann Becker and Chancellor Subbaswamy stand beside a sign promoting COVID-19 vaccination in the Campus Center

The Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC) at UMass Amherst has provided an invaluable service, offering COVID-19 testing and vaccines to thousands of students, staff, faculty, and community members. 

Amilcar Shabazz

For the first time in state history, Juneteenth was recognized as an official Massachusetts holiday. 

UMass Hockey team poses with the NCAA championship trophy

For the first time in program history, the UMass Minutemen won the Division I Men's Hockey NCAA Championship.

Heather MacLean running while wearing a maroon UMass Amherst jersey

Four elite athletes with ties to UMass Amherst represented their nations in Tokyo during the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad.

Photo collage of the manning family, Bromery Center ribbon cutting, and Elaine Marieb

UMass Amherst saw an unprecedented year of gifts and recognition in the form of named buildings on campus.

Daniel Ellsberg speaking into a microphone at a podium

UMass Amherst, with The GroundTruth Project, presented “Truth, Dissent, & the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg,” a free online conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Pentagon Papers release.


Photo collage of Natalie Lewis, Multibands and Bandtoberfest

Despite the challenges of adapting to remote and outside-the-box performance spaces, students in the Music and Dance Program excelled in their crafts and created unconventional—and unforgettable—moments.

a peregrine falcon chick is held and banded by a wildlife expert

An entertainment source loved by both the campus community and wildlife aficionados alike, the Du Bois Falconcam was revived in 2021.

Crystal Maldonado

Body positivity is at the heart of Associate Director of News Content Crystal Maldonado’s debut, coming-of-age young adult novel, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, a book that explores what it means to grow up female, fat, and Puerto Rican.


Korka Sall poses with her children in a cap and gown at commencement

With a husband overseas in Senegal and three children under the age of seven to pandemic-parent, Korka Sall, ’21 PhD, English literature, looked to the UMass Amherst Student Parent Programs for assistance with childcare, grants, and support to complete her degree.

Malav Trivedi

Malav Trivedi ’22, University Without Walls, applied psychology, is the winner of the 2021 Jack M. Wilson Presidential Scholarship awarded by the UMass President’s Office. A father of two, Trivedi has dedicated his life to fighting for children.

Jie Zou's son plays outside

Thanks to her ability to balance parenting, school, and work, Jie Zou ’21 graduated from the UMass Amherst Elaine Marieb College of Nursing's Accelerated Bachelor of Science track in the spring and was quickly hired as a registered nurse for Baystate Health.

Community Support

screen shot of a zoom meeting with 16 participants

The UMass Amherst Faculty Diversity Third Spaces “Write-on-Site” writing groups for faculty of color went virtual when the campus closed due to the pandemic. Now, the program has become a space that extends far beyond writing support.

a group of students sit in a circle on the floor to play a board game

Seeing that students returning to campus needed time to reconnect and unwind, UMass Libraries staff spearheaded weekly events for building friendships and making connections.

Cas Martin

School of Public Policy graduate student Cas Martin interned at The Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ+ Students, making Massachusetts public schools more inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community.

student students wearing surgical masks sitting at desks and chatting

The Western Massachusetts Bilingual Hub has paved the way when it comes to training teachers in bilingual and dual language education.

Work for the Common Good

Two students wearing masks work on a STEAM project at their desk

UMass Amherst and Digital Ready, a Boston-based non-profit, launched a groundbreaking new living learning lab to give talented, young Black and Latinx students from Boston Public Schools a no-cost head start to a STEAM degree from UMass.

Myles Sanders

Myles Sanders, academic advisor and part-time lecturer for the University Without Walls Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, made history this fall through his online course, Introduction to Deaf Studies.

a group of participants in Monte's March pose in downtown Amherst

For the second year in a row, the School of Public Policy fielded a team for Monte’s March for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, an annual fundraiser led by WRSI radio and U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern.

Torrian Baskerville

University Without Walls Scholarship recipient Torrian Baskerville serves as manager for prevention for the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), leading the capacity building assistance work relative to LGBTQ sexual health and HIV stigma.

overhead aerial view of two whales

Data Science for the Common Good, a summer program operated by the UMass Amherst Center for Data Science, trains aspiring data scientists to work on real-world problems that benefit the common good.

Health and Self Care

Nicholas Reich

Professor of Biostatistics Nicholas Reich has been at the forefront of infectious disease forecasting for years prior to the coronavirus outbreak, but ever since the pandemic hit, he’s been highly sought after by federal agencies and national media.

A masked woman holds a sign inside a courthouse

A team of public health student interns have helped to implement Holyoke Early Access to Recovery and Treatment (HEART), a program designed to provide access to healthcare for individuals with an opioid use disorder who come before the court.

Richard Peltier

Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences Richard Peltier was appointed to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Air Pollution and Health Technical Advisory Group. 

Paige Pannozzo

Paige Pannozzo, a school psychology PhD student in the College of Education, has helped people find their equilibrium through guided breathing techniques and purposeful movement. While these exercises have clear benefits in the studio, Pannozzo says they also have powerful effects in school settings.