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Victoria Woytowicz (left) says her internship wouldn't have been possible without the Beacons Student Success Fellowship. (Photo by Victoria Woytowicz)
October 29, 2016

Alumni Association Renews Support of Beacons Student Success Fellowship; Paid Internships Continue


  • Boston
Alumni Association Makes Three-Year Commitment to Extend Summer Program

Senior biology major Victoria Woytowicz held a baby in a delivery room in Iringa, Tanzania this summer. The aspiring doctor says this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the Gap Medics Medical Internship Program would not have been possible without the funding she received through the Beacons Student Success Fellowship, which covered all of her expenses.

“I wanted experience in hospitals because outside of volunteering, I hadn’t really gotten a lot of experience. It was so great because you get to be in the operating room, you get to take blood pressure, listen to patients breathing, stuff like that that you don’t get to do here until you’re a medical student,” Woytowicz said.

Woytowicz was one of 45 UMass Boston students who had a chance to study abroad, work alongside faculty on research projects, and get paid for their internship experiences this summer thanks to the Beacons Student Success Fellowship.

At a recent symposium celebrating the third year of the program, Vice Provost of Academic Support Services Joan Becker announced that more students like Woytowicz will get to have similar experiences: the UMass Boston Alumni Association has made a three-year commitment of $170,000 to continue supporting the program. College of Liberal Arts Dean David Terkla says the Beacons Student Success Fellowship gives UMass Boston students an edge in the job market.

“I think the program also has an impact on future career choice and I think it affects students in a very positive way. I’m a big fan,” he said.

UMass Boston Today spoke with some of the fellowship recipients about their experiences.

Gordon MacDonald (far left) and his students

Gordon MacDonald
Class of 2019

Gordon MacDonald taught reading to sixth graders for four weeks this summer as a teaching fellow for Generation Teach, confirming his desire to get his master’s degree in education so he can one day lead his own classroom.

“I feel like everyone should have the opportunity to teach people. I work with preschoolers during the year and this was my first time working with middle schoolers. I think a lot of people are scared of middle schoolers because they remember what it was like to be in middle school. It was challenging but not in the way that I thought it would be,” MacDonald said.

The fellowship helped in other ways too.

“It helped me pay for rent and groceries. Otherwise I’d have to get a second job,” MacDonald said.

Ivelisse Sanchez, director of talent for Generation Teach, was one of MacDonald’s supervisors.

“Hearing his first-hand account of how important it was to receive additional funding to even be able to participate in our fellowship really made us think about how it makes it accessible to students who might not be able to do it. We have a small scholarship that we offer to students, but when you’re a college student, you’re thinking about transportation costs and food and tuition,” Sanchez said.

Juan Pablo Blanco and another student hold signs that say Jobs with Justice

Juan Pablo Blanco
Class of 2017

Juan Pablo Blanco was an intern at Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, which organizes working people around issues of social justice and workers’ rights. He had previously been a once-weekly volunteer at the Jamaica Plain location.

“I work 55 to 60 hours a week normally, so I was able to bring that down a bit to be able to do something like this,” Blanco said. “I got to lead the canvass of an intern group on the Save Our Public Schools campaign. I got to use the software campaigns to see where we should target, how we should keep all that data, so it was really interesting.”

Marine Eppinger stands in the middle of a group photo of her co-workers.

Marina Eppinger
Management (Finance Concentration)
Class of 2018

Marina Eppinger spent six weeks interning in the marketing department at Focuslight, a laser light company in Xi’an, China, as part of the China Internship Program component of the College of Advancing and Professional Studies’ Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad (GPA) program. Eppinger went to China two years ago and is fascinated with the culture.

“When I saw the flyer five months ago on campus, I thought, that was a good opportunity for me. I’m a business major – a lot of manufacturing jobs are in China and a lot of business is done in China, and so I thought I should try it,” Eppinger said.

The coordinator of the China Program Center told Eppinger about the fellowship opportunity, which funded her studies abroad. One of her tasks was to analyze the financial statements of competitors to assist in price-setting. She’s hoping the experience will lead to an internship at the World Bank.

Undergraduate students interested in the Beacons Student Success Fellowship will be able to apply starting in February 2017. Anyone interested in supporting the fellowship should contact University Advancement at 617.287.5328.

Recipients of the 2016 Beacons Student Success Fellowship present posters on their experiential learning experiences.