Alumni Profiles

Commonwealth Honors College

Alumni Profiles

Thinkers, doers, explorers. These are Honors alumni. With backgrounds that span the entire range of academic disciplines offered by UMass Amherst, Honors College alumni are united by their choice to take on the challenge of honors-level work as undergraduates. The profiles below tell the stories of alumni pursuing vastly different life journeys enriched by their Honors experience at UMass Amherst.


Tell us your story at alumni@umass.edu.

Esther Cuesta Santana

This scholar and diplomat applies the totality of her 21-year academic journey to serve citizens and migrants in her native Ecuador.

Natalie Higgins

Higgins, the state representative for the 4th Worcester District, now spends her days working for the citizens in her home community.

Ivan Bercovich

Ivan was accepted into the Honors College as a sophomore, and went on to become an academic tutor, assisting students in engineering, physics, and mathematics.

Emily Grund

After Commonwealth Honors College, Emily went on to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines.

Matthew Pearlson

A chemical engineering student at UMass, Pearlson now runs special projects at Citizens Energy Corporation in Boston.

Jessica Caouette

Jessica credits her education at Commonwealth Honors College for influencing her to choose a career that gives back to the community.

Ann Marie Russell

Now Associate Provost for Data and Analytics at UMass Amherst, Russell says that the faculty at UMass Amherst were invested in her success, defying the stereotype of large universities as impersonal.

Aram Bedrosian

"UMass Amherst gave me the tools to investigate the world," says Aram.

Julia Curran

When you ask Julia to describe the best part of her undergraduate experience, one word comes up time and again: community.

Melicia Morris

Melicia worked for the Urban League of Greater Hartford before being admitted to Cornell Law School

Alliam Ortiz

Alliam Ortiz forged a strong relationship with her faculty mentor both on and off the field.

Gregory Su

Greg chose UMass Amherst because of the research opportunities it offers undergraduates, particularly through Commonwealth Honors College.

Jusna Perrin

After graduation in 2011, Perrin became the first hire at the Washington, DC non-profit organization, Reach Incorporated. 

Elizabeth Paice

“My Honors RAP experience was one of the most influential experiences I had on campus,” Elizabeth recalls.

Cornelius Taabazuing

After graduation, Cornelius spent a summer conducting cancer research with a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry.

Matthew Powers

Powers credits both UMass and the Commonwealth Honors College for preparing him for the fast-paced world of finance and start-up life. 

Elvira Sisolak

At the time of her enrollment there was no Honors College at UMass, but Elvira Sisolak ‘67 opted to write a 6-credit senior thesis and graduated with honors in economics. 

Max Grover

Through the Honor College’s interdisciplinary track, Max worked with the BDIC program to design a major in aviation and foreign policy. 

Peter Trovato

Peter says, “Commonwealth Honors College was ultimately the single most important factor in my choosing UMass Amherst.”

Timothy Alden

At the end of his junior year, Tim earned entry into Harvard Business School.