Honors Student and Community Volunteer Will Be Student Speaker at UMass Amherst Commencement

AMHERST, Mass. - Brandy L. Curtis, of Greenville, R.I., an honors student majoring in anthropology and minoring in biology, has been selected student speaker for the 132nd Commencement at the University of Massachusetts Sun. May 26 at 10 a.m. in Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

“Being selected student speaker is a great honor. I hope to represent myself well at Commencement, and in the process, also represent or at least connect with some if not all the members of my class and their supporters.”

Curtis is a Dean’s List student at UMass, and a Citizen Scholar at Commonwealth College. During her four years on campus, she has completed approximately 500 hours of community service. She presently volunteers as a teacher’s assistant for Head Start and also transports, prepares, and serves food for the Not Bread Alone Soup Kitchen in Amherst. During the 1999-2001 academic year, she participated in the Alternative Spring Break program, which involves coursework in grassroots development and community service during spring break. Curtis was also a course facilitator and core leader for the program. In addition, she previously mentored an eight-year-old girl for the Big Brother Big Sister program, and acted with the University’s Not Ready for BedTime Players, a theater troupe that performs skits designed to educate students about sexuality.

In her remarks to graduating seniors, Curtis will recall the challenges faced by the class of 2002 during four years at UMass, including answering the question, “what now?” especially in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

Besidesher volunteer activities, Curtis is employed as an office assistant for the UMass Arts Council and also works as a waitress at Judie’s Restaurant in Amherst.

Duringspring 2001, Curtis studied in South Africa, and is currently completing her senior honors thesis, “Community Structure and Health: A case study at two clinics in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.” As part of the Citizen Scholar Program, she is also working on a Capstone Project focusing on assessing systems of tracking in public schools, in the context of developing bilinguals.

Arecipient of a Senior Leadership Award, Curtis will spend five months touring Europe following graduation, and hopes eventually to attend graduate school.

She is the daughter of Lisa Curtis and Francis Dutra, of Greenville, R.I., and graduated from Burrillville High School in 1998.

Curtis was chosen student speaker by a committee of faculty and students.