The University of Massachusetts Amherst honored the exemplary achievements, initiative, and leadership of some of its most talented and accomplished graduating seniors during Undergraduate Commencement on Friday, May 13. Our psychology 21st Century Leaders include:
Elodie Carel of Wayland is a Commonwealth Honors College student who earned a degree in psychology and a Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration in disability studies. A disabled student who uses a wheelchair, Carel at first had difficulty navigating campus. She persevered and made her mark as a scholar as well as a student leader as she began her quest to increase access and destigmatize disability. Carel was selected to be a teaching assistant for five psychology courses. One of her two honors theses related to disability and stigma won an outstanding thesis award from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Carel held leadership positions in campus disability activism and culture groups, including Access UMass. In her work with the UMass Alliance Against Ableism, she sought to increase equity for disabled people on campus, which included helping organize a speaker series in which panelists shared their experiences with disability activism at UMass Amherst. She plans to continue her research focused on disability and ableism and earn a doctorate in psychology.
Jacqueline Victoria Grundfast of Warwick, N.Y., a Commonwealth Honors College student, is receiving dual degrees: a Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration in biomedical ethics and policy and a degree in psychology, in addition to a minor in business. Grundfast attained the dean’s list every semester. As vice chair of Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG), a nonpartisan student activist organization, she coordinated a highly successful youth voter effort for UMass Amherst during the 2020 election cycle registering 650 students, 75 percent of whom voted, a 20 percent increase over 2016. Consequently, Grundfast was selected to be a presenter on strategic campaigns for increasing youth voter registration and turnout at a national conference held at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. While an intern for Massachusetts State Rep. Mindy Domb, Grundfast researched and analyzed bills and legislative issues and wrote testimony on Domb’s behalf on several issues. To further prepare for a career advancing social justice and progress, she will attend Brooklyn Law School in the fall with a concentration in corporate law.