Meet Our Student Ambassadors

Meet Our Student Ambassadors

Do you have questions about Living and Learning at the Honors College?


Darshana Blaise

“My advice to Honors students is to get involved in extracurriculars. As an aspiring physician, I joined the Student National Medical Association and Minority Association for Pre-Medical Students (SNMA-MAPs) during my first year, where I learned about UMass Medical School’s Baccalaureate Medical Pathway Program (BaccMD Program). This program is an amazing opportunity to further my pursuit of a career in medicine, and I was supported by the Honors College throughout my application process. With the Honors Colleges’ small class sizes, I was able to build strong relationships with professors who wrote me strong letters of recommendation for the BaccMD Program. Guidance from Honors Advisors also helped me balance and improve my academics. I was accepted into the BaccMD Program during my sophomore year and it has supported my understanding of medicine, patient care, and the medical application process.”



Ajeya Clouden

“One piece of advice that I would give is to utilize all your resources, especially in the Honors College. UMass Amherst is a big campus but with a range of many resources and opportunities. Never make a decision without consulting with a faculty, advisor, or staff member. Honors Advisors have become my best friends. They make sure you're on track with your requirements, offer new opportunities, and constantly support you, answering questions or concerns that you may have. I have been able to find internships, scholarships, job opportunities, and research opportunities.” 


Aidan Sliwkowski

“My advice to first-year Honors students is to be open-minded and to enjoy your time at UMass. From trying a new class, to exploring new parts of the Pioneer Valley, or meeting new people, I have been able to have fun while growing intellectually, in and outside of the classroom. I am constantly developing and preparing for a new and challenging stage in my life. I have particularly enjoyed the Honors-specific Residential Academic Program (RAP), which is a great way to adjust to life at UMass academically and socially. In my RAP, we lived together, walked to class together and studied for our first college midterm in our shared common space. We also did fun things like attend the Big E, go hiking, or simply grab a bite to eat together. Through this shared experience, I was able to prepare for life at UMass alongside a group of students going through the same process. This may be a cliché, but it is only when your college experience is stripped from you, that you become fully aware of how impactful it can be.”


Jacob Spevack

"Something I wish I had known when I was starting in the Honors College was how approachable professors are and how valuable it is to make faculty connections. I wish I had gone to office hours consistently for every single one of my professors, using these contacts to learn about relevant research, expand my understanding of the respective academic field, and to develop a strong network at the University. You will need recommendation letters for everything including scholarships, internships, job placements and even for on-campus jobs so developing early and sincere relationships are one the most if not the most resources. More importantly, a close network of faculty can help you as you explore various options for your area of study, the focus of your thesis, and your path after graduation.”


Kevin Zheng

“I would tell my high school senior-year self to be prepared to discover new pathways in Commonwealth Honors College. Before coming to UMass, I didn't expect to delve as deeply into fields beyond my engineering courses. The multidisciplinary nature of the Honors curriculum and the wide variety of courses available gives me opportunities to explore the social sciences and humanities, allowing me to find new passions and interests. The diverse courses I have taken inform each other and help to strengthen my understanding across the board by offering me new ways of thinking about concepts.” 


Olivia Sullivan

"I like to think of UMass Amherst as your Grandma’s house on Thanksgiving. The air is vibrant; the spirit is welcoming and it’s home. And I like to think of the UMass Commonwealth Honors College as the kids table at the end of the huge table with the adults, where all the cousins sit. It’s still a crucial part of the whole table, but it’s smaller and there’s a special, almost nostalgic type of bond within those that sit there. I can confidently say with my whole heart that I have thrived at UMass CHC because of the people.These students are the most caring, collaborative, brilliant humans to be surrounded by everyday. I have felt welcomed, cherished, and supported by every student I meet in the Honors College, and throughout the UMass campus as a whole. It is surreal to be encompassed by such a diverse and beautiful family of people that challenge you, comfort you, and push you to further heights. The bonds I have formed with the people at the CHC are so deeply ingrained in who I have evolved into as a student and most importantly, a human.I knew it when I committed to the Honors College, I will know it when I graduate, and I will know it beyond. The students of UMass CHC are truly exceptional."


Emily Wong

"My name is Emily Wong and I am a senior studying hospitality and tourism management with a minor in French and Francophone studies. On campus, I serve as an ambassador for the Commonwealth Honors College as well as the Hospitality and Tourism Management department. I am also president of the UMass student chapter of the American Hotel and Lodging Association and Co-Corporate Relations and Finance Chair for the 2021 HTM Career Day. Throughout my time at UMass, I earned three amazing internship experiences with Marriott International, the New York Athletic Club, and the Walt Disney Company. My best advice to students is to take advantage of all the opportunities UMass has to offer early on in their college career, namely the faculty and industry connections. There is something for everyone here at UMass, and we’d love to help you find it. The Commonwealth Honors College gave me the unique opportunity to do academic research in a very experience-based field, thus making me an even more well-rounded job candidate and industry professional."


Parker Sweet

“Advice that I got in my first-year Seminar from one of my professors was that you don’t have to do everything at once. Before you start building up, you need a solid foundation. Instead of looking upward or outward, look inward. Take your time to get comfortable-but not complacent-and enjoy where your hard work has gotten you. Be steady: trust yourself to make the right calls about how much you’re able to take on at first. Investing in yourself will pay dividends, and it all compounds.”