Student Life

Graduate School Commencement Award Winners Announced

grad school wordmark

The Graduate School has announced the winner of its various 2021 awards. The awards selection committee was tasked with making a number of tough decisions, as winners were selected from a pool of almost 100 nominations.

The 2021 Graduate School Award winners are:

Commitment to Diversity Student and Faculty Awards

The Commitment to Diversity Award annually recognizes one student and one faculty member for their outstanding contributions to diversity and inclusion within the UMass Amherst graduate student body.

Student Winner – Wayne Barnaby, neuroscience and behavior program

Faculty Winner – Joye Bowman, department of history

Distinguished Mentor Award

The Distinguished Mentor Award recognizes faculty members for the indispensable work they perform in guiding graduate students to academic and professional success.

Teresa Ramsby, Classics department

Lili He, food science department

Sonya Atalay, department of anthropology

Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award

Since 1961, UMass Amherst has presented the Distinguished Teaching Award (DTA) to instructors who demonstrate exemplary teaching at the highest institutional level.

Alexander Ponomareff, department of comparative literature

Shaina Sadai, department of geosciences

Distinguished Graduate Staff Award

The Distinguished Graduate Staff Award recognizes the crucial role played by staff members in facilitating the success of UMass graduate students. Staff members are essential to the smooth operation of the graduate curriculum, admissions, funding and other functions. More than that, they often serve as advisers, career counselors, local guides, cultural ambassadors, bankers, real estate agents and relationship coaches to many graduate students.

Lisa Groth, graduate program manager, polymer science and engineering department

Carolyn Safarik, retired, department of environmental conservation

Graduate Commencement Student Speaker

This year two student speakers were picked out of nominations received from the deans of the colleges.

Alisha Smith, College of Education

Ellen Smithline, College of Nursing

All award winners will be recognized at Graduate Commencement 2021, May 13 at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. The ceremony will be live-streamed, continue to check the Graduate School Commencement website for details on how to stream.