As the global pandemic continues to impact every aspect of daily life, we know that you and your loved ones feel the strain, and yet you have made it a priority to help our UMass Boston students. Your gifts to our Beacon Student Aid Fund, Scholarship Aid, and areas of greatest need are directly assisting students and their families. Moreover, gifts to every corner of campus ensure that while our operations may remain largely online in 2020, our teaching, research, and community engagement will not falter. Thank you for the resources, hope, and resilience that your gift has imparted.
You may not know them, but they appreciate you.
Unrestricted giving has a HUGE impact
Your gifts to unrestricted designations support countless initiatives, like career-launching student/faculty research and collaboration
When biology major Brianna Leonardo ’19 spent the summer of her senior year doing research with Associate Professor of Engineering Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli, she thought her work could ultimately reduce the over-use of antibiotics. Together they created a paper test able to differentiate between viral infections and bacterial infections, reducing misdiagnoses and improving treatment.
By the spring semester, though, Brianna was using that experience to create a paper-based test to identify oysters contaminated with Vibrio, a bacteria that might cause food poisoning. Developed with Professor of Biology Michael Shiaris and Associate Professor of Sustainability and Food Solutions Michael Tlusty, Brianna’s new application of the paper-testing technology could have a huge economic impact: each year $319 million is lost when commercial oyster beds are shut down out of fear of Vibrio infection.
Thanks to this interdisciplinary research experience, Brianna was well prepared to step into her first job after college, as a clinical research coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital. Meanwhile, Professor Hamad-Schifferli has pivoted her lab’s research focus to investigate how that same inexpensive paper test might be used for COVID-19 diagnostics.
Alumna Establishes the Mary Thistle '83 and Family Endowed Scholarship Fund
Ms. Thistle is a College of Management Advisory Board member. Her new fund will provide scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Management.
This endowed scholarship will have a perpetual and permanent impact on the lives of students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Management by offering financial resources and encouragement through an annual award. Mary will have the opportunity to meet the “Thistle Scholars” at an annual scholarship event.
We acknowledge with gratitude the generous commitment from Mary and thank her for her leadership on the advisory board, her personal and meaningful discussions with students in the Women Beacons of Business Program, and now her generous philanthropic investment and support of students.
Students Rally for One Another
Undergraduate students Gillian Benoit, Steven Marstjepovic, and Nike Asupoto created UMBeTogether as a place for students to connect virtually during isolation. Students can engage around hobbies and interests, make new friends during quarantine, and share resources. The social aspect of college may feel stymied right now, but these students are not taking it lying down.
Beacon Student Aid Fund Delivers Hope
The Beacon Student Aid Fund exists to help students solve an immediate problem through a one-time grant. This fund was created in 2017 to help our most vulnerable students access emergency funds when an unanticipated event occurred, but in the age of COVID-19 the need has increased substantially. Donations directly benefit students as they secure basic needs like food, housing, and medical care. Beacon Student Aid Fund applicants are also connected with financial aid advisors, academic coaching resources, and other support systems throughout the university.
Good News from Columbia Point
"'I am very proud to be a Beacon,' Carvalho said. 'So many students are facing a challenging time. I hope that this gift will encourage an outpouring of support from my fellow alumni and friends of UMass Boston to contribute to this fund. We are all in this together; let’s help these kids out.'"
"As confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced a new COVID-19 Health Inequities Task Force to provide guidance to the City of Boston on addressing current inequities in data analysis, testing sites, and health care services for Blacks, Latinos, Asians and immigrants."