The University of Massachusetts Amherst

2020 Commonwealth Honors College Scholarship Award Virtual Celebration

2020 Awardees

Commonwealth Honors College is happy to celebrate the outstanding achievements of its 2020 scholarship award recipients in the 2020 Commonwealth Honors College Scholarship Award Virtual Celebration. This year, Commonwealth Honors awarded over 200 scholarships totaling more than $350,000.

“As the sixth dean of the Commonwealth Honors College, I am continuously awed by our students, by their curiosity, and by their commitment,” Commonwealth Honors Dean Mari Castañeda said. “Their individual stories, woven together, have inspired a tapestry of ideas, perspectives, and knowledge has helped the College grow and has contributed to UMass Amherst becoming a destination of choice—regionally, nationally, and internationally.”

The event welcomed alumni and students to share their experiences about Commonwealth Honors. Alumna Tina Brown-Stevenson ’78, creator of the Diverse Scholars in Healthcare Scholarship and a member of the Commonwealth Honors Advisory Board, highly praised the standards of Commonwealth Honors students.

“I see in them a spark of intelligence, but even more so a wonder for examining things critically and clearly, and working together to come to a better understanding of challenging situations and problems in the world,” Brown-Stevenson said. “Our problems are so much bigger now than they ever have been, and our solutions aren’t going to come from the brains of just one person. It’s going to take a village to do that.”

Scholarship recipients represent a wide variety of majors across the University, from economics to biology to linguistics and beyond. Isabelle Domingos ’21, the student speaker of the event, was awarded the Maia Felisse McDermott Memorial BDIC Scholarship, the Frank and Helen DiGiammarino Scholarship, and the Class of 1941 Humanitarian Award.

“UMass Amherst and the Commonwealth Honors College provided abundant resources to help me pursue—through a process of trial and error—the right course of studies for me,” Domingos said, drawing upon her Arabic studies in Amman, Jordan, through the International Scholars Program. “My journey at UMass Amherst and the Commonwealth Honors College has [not only] been a process of hard work and difficult toil, but also of reaping the successes of that toil.”

Other students shared how important Commonwealth Honors and its scholarship awards are to them.

“It’s really nice to have someone tell you what you’re doing is really meaningful,” said senior Ryan Duggan, who was also awarded the Class of 1941 Humanitarian Award. “It feels really good to be recognized for making a positive impact in the community, which is something that is really important to do.”

“I’m really grateful for this scholarship, and I want to emphasize how much I really appreciate that,” said first-year student Paula Rodriguez, winner of the Joseph and Elizabeth Rountree Merit Scholarship. “It’s made such a big impact for me, but these kinds of things don’t just make an impact on the person who receives it, it’s going to make an impact on the people that that person helps. It’s a chain and it’s really important.”

Conditional applications for Commonwealth Honors College scholarships will be available in Academic Works from December 15, 2020 – February 28, 2021.