The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Student Impact

Our students are passionate about making a mark on the world. Through campus activism, organizing socially-minded campus events, or participating in research with faculty on real-world issues, they are constantly striving to make an impact.


Professor Fordes and Undergraduate Brian Bowman Collaborate on a Conversation Piece

Brian Bowman

Journalism undergraduate Bryan Bowman and Professor and Chair of Journalism Kathy Roberts Forde collaborated on an article exploring the forgotten origins of racial injustice in our legal system.

The piece looks at how after the abolition of slavery in the U.S. there was a short period where African-Americans made significant advances in economics, politics, literacy and education in the former slave states. This was followed by a backlash from whites who sought to reassert control over African Americans through the use of tools such as the convict lease system, where convicts were put to work for private companies. That system was followed by adoption of Jim Crow laws and later by the current prison and incarceration system that affects a large number of African-Americans, they argue.



Sarah Welch is SBS's Newest Rising Researcher

Sarah Welch

Anthropology major Sarah Welch '17 was named a Rising Researcher for her work on race, space, and resource accessibility. The UMass Rising Researcher program celebrates undergraduate students who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity. From Westford, Massachusetts, Welch explores the historical and contemporary literature on libraries as a site of community-building and social change. “Sarah is a brilliant and motivated student,” says her faculty advisor Krista Harper. “She is absolutely dedicated to using her skills to make UMass Amherst a better higher education institution.”

Having conducted archival and ethnographic research in the university library as a junior, Welch is now launching a yearlong project that combines anthropological research methods and environmental design. She plans to conduct interviews and participant observation with student users of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library. Her efforts will engage both students and librarians in developing design and policy recommendations informed by her research findings.



SBS Students Show Their Proclivity for Leadership

Umass women into leadership fellos

SBS dominates the UMass Women into Leadership Program (UWiL). With 14 out of 22 student fellows coming from SBS majors such as Political Science, Communication, Economics, and Journalism, the message that SBS students are the future leaders and changemakers couldn’t be clearer. 

UWiL is a competitive leadership training and professional development program that seeks to prepare women for public leadership. By introducing these women to our state’s leadership and providing opportunities for them to see first-hand the benefits of public service, UWiL provides models and pathways into leadership for young women – all while helping to address the gender gap in politics and creating a pipeline from public education into public service.