Around the Pond
New names, new possibilities
Last fall, UMass Amherst received two unprecedented gifts given to the College of Nursing and the College of Information and Computer Sciences. Both colleges were promptly renamed in honor of the generous donors—but it is not only the names of the colleges that got a refresh. The gifts, totaling nearly $40 million, will go to providing new, much-needed resources for both students and research professors alike.
In her honor, the College of Nursing will become the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing. The gift will advance the innovative nursing engineering program, support student scholarships and an endowed professorship, and grow mentorship and research initiatives to expand equity and excellence in nursing education. This gift recognizes the tireless dedication to excellence and innovation so evident among our nursing faculty and staff.
The Robert and Donna Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences will use its investment to expand resources available to students and faculty as they learn, research, and innovate. The college will also create new initiatives, programs, and professorships in order to attract students and faculty of the highest caliber, enhance intercollegiate collaboration, and increase access for all students through scholarships, peer-to-peer mentorships, and bridge programs.
Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy says of the donors, “Their visionary leadership provides incomparable opportunities for our students to become the innovators of tomorrow—continuing to fuel our revolutionary spirit and meet the challenges of the day.”
The Mount Ida Campus in Newton allows the large portion of UMass Amherst students and alumni living in the Greater Boston area to study and access internships at many of the major companies located there. Now, the campus is expanding its offerings with a new co-working space available for startups and small companies to rent.
The Innovation and Collaboration Space offers 20 individual workspaces, plus a lab area with 26 benches and access to the university’s core facilities on the Amherst campus. A 6,000-square-foot collaborative makerspace is planned for the near future. Companies that rent these spaces can then easily provide professional development opportunities like job shadowing and informational interviews to students.
The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network (MSBDC), which offers training, funding, and other resources, has signed on as one of the first entities to use the co-working space. Georgianna Parkin, state director of MSBDC, says the new spaces give the network “the opportunity to reach across the state, perhaps to students in western Mass. looking for opportunities in Boston.”
Kathryn Ellis, director of the UMass Amherst Innovation Institute, notes that “We now have a variety of different types of companies; there is great potential for expansion.”
Homage to humanity
Professor Martín Espada wins National Book Award for poetry
“To recognize a book is to recognize the people in the book,” says Professor Martín Espada of the Department of English, whose poetry collection Floaters was recently recognized with the 2021 National Book Award. “This is a book full of people. People walking through my life. People fighting, struggling, living, dying.”
Randall Knoper, associate professor and English department chair, notes that “Espada’s poetry gives a powerful voice to people who have been shut up and shut out.” Among the figures who populate the book are Óscar and Valeria, a Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande. The title poem is a response to a photo of them that went viral.
Espada also pays homage to his elders and mentors; his wife, Lauren Marie Schmidt; and the deep influence of his father, Frank Espada, a migrant from Puerto Rico, civil rights activist, and documentary photographer. Espada says, “His photographs hung on the walls of our apartment in the projects in Brooklyn as I was growing up, but then they also hung on the walls of my imagination, and they still do.”