News: Featured Stories

UMass President Marty Meehan with "29 Who Shine" honorees, from left, Nicholas Merry of UMass Medical School, Isaura Jimenez of UMass Lowell, Evangeline Kuzmech of UMass Dartmouth, Sarah Hickey of UMass Amherst and Fakisha Fabre of UMass Boston.
May 8, 2017

Five UMass students honored at "29 Who Shine" ceremony

  • The UMass System
Program recognizes outstanding students from each Massachusetts public college or university

Five UMass students were recognized at the State House Friday afternoon as part of “29 Who Shine,” which honors stellar graduates of the 29 community colleges, state universities and UMass campuses. Students received awards for their academic and community accomplishments in front of a crowd that included Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago, Gov. Charlie Baker, university presidents and family members. The event, now in its seventh year, honors students who were nominated by faculty, staff members or a university awards committee.

“You’re just getting started,” Gov. Baker told students. “While today is a wonderful opportunity for us to recognize how far you’ve come and what you’ve achieved, the really interesting and exciting part is going to be what happens next.”

After the event, UMass President Marty Meehan said he was proud of the character and commitment demonstrated by the five honorees.

“These talented, hardworking students represent the best of UMass, and I’m grateful to Governor Baker and the Department of Higher Education for recognizing them,” said President Meehan.

29 Who Shine group at State House

The UMass award winners were as follows:

Fakisha Fabre, Milton
UMass Boston

Fakisha Fabre and Gov. Charlie Baker

Fakisha Fabre is one of the very first students to engage in the 4+1 BA/MA partnership between the UMass Boston Honors College and the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. This spring she will receive both her Bachelor of Arts in English (with a minor in Political Science) and her Master of Public Administration. She was also selected to be a McCormack Scholar, a distinction awarded to a small cohort of graduate students who show exceptional promise for public service and leadership.

During her undergraduate career, Fakisha served in the executive branch of student government, volunteered as a mentor for JumpStart, and served as an Honors College community ambassador. She also interned for Senator Elizabeth Warren during her U.S. Senate campaign. She is an Americorps Ambassador for the Strong Women Strong Girls, a national organization dedicated to women’s empowerment.

Faculty/Staff Mentor: Fakisha chose to recognize Michael Metzger, Assistant Dean, Honors College. “Mike Metzger has been a pillar in my life since the moment we met. He supported and encouraged me to join the Honors College, study abroad at Oxford University, and transition to a professional career. In being an inspirational supervisor and academic advisor, Mike became a trusted colleague and friend. I would never have envisioned a more supportive mentor.”

Sara J. Hickey, Cummaquid
UMass Amherst

Sara Hickey and Gov. Charlie Baker

Sara Hickey has been an active student leader throughout her undergraduate career at UMass Amherst, most recently serving as President of the Student Alumni Association. She also has extensive community and volunteer experience at the First Baptist Food Pantry in Amherst and the Hadley Elementary USOLVE program (UMass Students Offering Leadership, Values and Experiences).

She has volunteered in an elementary school art classroom, has helped kids with special needs learn to play sports, and organized dance performances to raise money for both cancer research and veterans’ support.  For her senior capstone project, Sara examined ways to address the opioid crisis in Massachusetts, reviewing and synthesizing state policies on immunization services. She graduates with degrees in Public Health and Legal Studies and has a job waiting for her as a paralegal in the Boston law firm, Meyer and Associates.

Faculty/Staff Mentor: Sara chose to recognize Katie DeBeer, Associate Director for Professional and Volunteer Services, UMass Amherst Alumni Association. "Katie has pushed me to do better and be better in my time at UMass, and always has words of encouragement. She is there for me whether I need an adviser, a role model, or simply a friend, and I 100 percent wouldn’t be who I am today without her." 

Isaura Jimenez, Lawrence
UMass Lowell

Isaura Jimenez and Gov. Charlie Baker

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Isaura Jimenez overcame the challenges of learning a new language and adjusting to life in a new country to earn a nursing degree in just three and a half years.

Isaura is an inspiration to fellow students, both for her academic achievement and her determination to give back to her home community of Lawrence.

She volunteers with the Future Nurses Club at the Lawrence YMCA where she serves as a role model to local youth, and has mentored many fellow nursing majors during her time at UMass Lowell.

She has chosen to specialize in geriatric nursing and already has a job in her field.

Faculty/Staff Mentor: Isaura chose to recognize Lisa Abdallah, Chair and Associate Professor, Nursing. “Professor Abdallah helped and inspired me throughout my time at UMass Lowell. She founded the program that attracted me to UMass Lowell. She helped me volunteer with the Future Nurses Club at the YMCA in our hometown. Her specialization is geriatric nursing; it was inspiring to hear about her experiences in the field I am pursuing.”

Evangeline Sarah Kuzmech, Dartmouth
UMass Dartmouth

Evangeline Kuzmech and Gov. Charlie BakerEvangeline Sarah Kuzmech is a double major in Crime and Justice Studies and Women and Gender Studies with a minor in Spanish. Nominators describe Eve as “a living billboard for the UMass Dartmouth motto, ‘Corsairs Care.’”

She has served on campus as a Senior Resident Assistant, a Resident Assistant, an Orientation Coordinator, a Peer Health Educator, and a Peer Health Educator Coordinator. 

Eve received a grant to research the effects of the online sexual assault prevention program, "Not Anymore," used with first-year students at UMass Dartmouth. Upon graduation she’ll join Teach for America as an ESL teacher serving in western Massachusetts. 

Faculty/Staff Mentor: Eve chose to recognize Beth-Anne Guthrie, Assistant Director of Health Services, Health Education and Promotion. “Beth-Anne has served as a catalyst for my development as a student and a leader. Her guidance and support throughout my journey has been unparalleled. I will always recall the open chair in front of her desk for me to come and talk with her whenever I needed support.”

Nicholas Merry, Milton
UMass Medical School

Nicholas Merry and Gov. Charlie Baker

Nicholas Merry is a Duxbury firefighter who graduates from UMass Medical’s nursing program as an Adult Gerontology-Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with a specialty in Critical Care.

From fighting fires to working as an RN at Massachusetts General Hospital, Nick has always focused on saving lives. At MGH, Nick’s work to strengthen communication with families at the point of an ICU patient’s death earned him a Partner in Excellence Award from MGH.

In addition to his work at MGH, Nick also works with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide medical and surgical care to people who have been affected by disaster. He has been deployed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Haitian earthquake, Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana and the Indonesian tsunami. He accepted the President’s U.S. Volunteer Service Award for humanitarian mission response at the White House.

After his graduation, Nick intends to stay in Massachusetts and work as a Nurse Practioner while remaining a member of the Duxbury Fire Department and an international member of the Medical Surgical Response team.

Faculty/Staff Mentor: Nicholas chose to recognize Dawn Carpenter, Coordinator, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program. “Dawn has given me a solid foundation of knowledge to be successful as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. She is someone I can count on when I need advice or guidance. She has a passion for critical care and has developed a curriculum to teach new nurses and experienced nurses current concepts in critical care. I admire her commitment to academia.”

For more information about "29 Who Shine," visit the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education website

Tags: