The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Commonwealth Honors Students Awarded Presidential Scholarships

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Three Commonwealth Honors students have been awarded Presidential Scholarships for the 2020-21 academic year.


Abigail Callahan ‘22

Abigail Callahan, a biomedical engineering major, was awarded the Robert S. Karam Presidential Scholarship. The scholarship is given to Commonwealth Honors students who matriculated from Durfee High School in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Callahan participated in an Honors medical ethics course during her sophomore year, which she felt supplemented her biomedical engineering coursework. Taking the freshman seminar “Ideas that Change the World” with Honors senior lecturer Connolly Ryan allowed her to expand beyond her major and develop a secular point of view. 

“It brought a lot of really great ideas to the table,” said Callahan. “There’s still books that stick with me now, such as the work by James Baldwin, that we read. Especially with everything that’s happening now and over the summer, that class has stuck with me.”

Abby plans on attending graduate school and wants to research cells and technology. Outside of her studies, she is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and Society of Biomedical Engineers. She finds that maintaining a rigid schedule has helped her with the transition to remote classes.

“I wake up every morning and I’ll treat school like a job,” Callahan said. “I’ll wake up at eight, do homework, take my classes, and then once it gets to dinner, I’m done. I’ll workout or watch a movie. It’s really helped me to have a schedule with that consistency.”


Jisun Kim ‘21

Jisun Kim, a kinesiology and sociology double major from Agawam, Massachusetts, was awarded the Grace K. Fey Scholarship. She credits the Office of National Scholarship Advisement's scholarship/fellowship coordinator, Kris Halpin, for assisting her in the process of applying for scholarships.

One of her favorite Honors classes surrounded the topic of public education in the United States. Being exposed to other people’s opinions early on in her college career helped Kim learn and appreciate others’ thoughts, even in conversations where she disagreed with the other side. 

“It had nothing to do with my major, but it’s still one of the most memorable classes,” Kim said. “Especially in my first year when all my classes were super big, it made me feel connected to the professor and other students.”

This semester, Kim has a biomechanics lab on campus, which she enjoys a lot.

On campus, Kim is involved in the HOPE Project, which supports the homeless through soup kitchens and shelters. She is also a member of Cru. 

Kim is looking forward to furthering her education at occupational therapy school upon graduating from UMass.


Molly Autery ‘22

Molly Autery, a geology major from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, was awarded the Putnam UMass Scholars Program scholarship. Originally enrolled as a computer science major, Molly found her passion for geology once she settled at UMass. She hopes to study oceanography, specifically deep-sea mapping of the ocean floor and sea floor dynamics.

Molly has taken Honors courses, including a resource economics and minerology colloquiums. She lived in the Honors “Culture in a Changing Society” residential academic program (RAP) in her first-year, which allowed her to develop friendships while endeavoring her coursework.

“It was a phenomenal class,” she said. “Being in the RAP along with that, we all bonded so much. We’re all so very close and keep in touch, so that was a great course. It was really great to come in [to UMass] with a community.”

Outside of her studies, Molly participates in the UMass geography club, and is an open-water swimmer and a member of the UMass water polo team. Her passion for swimming has helped her de-stress from the virtual work world.

“Pretty much every morning I’m swimming,” Molly said. “It’s a chance to be outside, and there’s nothing like taking a cold dip in the water before having to go online. It’s been great to have that.”

Molly is looking forward to working on her Honors thesis project in her senior year.