Skip to Main Content

Grant Recipients

Chancellor Jacquie Moloney awards 20 grants of up to $1,000 to students, faculty, staff, alumni or community members for projects that advance the goals outlined in the UMass Lowell 2020 Strategic Plan.

2017 Recipients of the first round 2020 Challenge Grants

  • Elissa Johnson-Green, Music Department faculty, and Christopher Lee, Music Department lecturer, who will continue efforts to ensure all children have access to music education regardless of socioeconomic status.
  • Urmitapa Dutta, Psychology Department faculty, and Jenna Vinson, English Department faculty, who will use digital storytelling to elicit, document and disseminate local youth perspectives on community.
  • Silas Laycock, Physics Department faculty, and the Lowell Center for Space Science and Technology, who will continue efforts to develop models, games and other tools designed to make space exploration understandable and accessible to all audiences.
  • Sue Kim, English Department faculty, and Alan Williams, Music Department chair, who will support the UMass Lowell 2018 Asian American Cultures Festival.
  • David Ouellette, Acre Neighborhood Group (ACTION), and many UMass Lowell and community partners, who will support the Acre’s ongoing Art In The Neighborhood Initiative.
  • Jessica Wilson, Mill City Grows, and Ruairi O’Mahony, UMass Lowell director of Sustainability, who will work to improve physical health, economic independence and environmental sustainability in Lowell through increased access to land, locally grown food and education.
  • Annie Ciaraldi, Student Affairs staff, and many other UMass Lowell partners, who will use the grant to support the university’s Success Transition Program to help students adjust to the changes in their lives that come with starting at a university.
  • Stephen Cerand, Lowell Canalwaters Cleaners, and many UMass Lowell and community partners, who will use the grant to help to develop a robot to assist in the removal of floating trash and debris from waterways.
  • Ivy Ho, Psychology Department faculty, and the Center for Hope and Healing, who will support the Center for Hope and Healing, a non-profit organization whose mission is to end sexual violence.
  • Robert Forrant, History Department faculty, and the O’Leary Library staff, who will work with students and the International Institute of Lowell to use its archives to create an exhibition of 100 years of the city’s history. 

2016 Recipients of the first round 2020 Challenge Grants

  • Linda Barrington, Francis College of Engineering staff, who will team with Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell to present an event at UMass Lowell during which girls age 5 to 18 will take part in a day of classes that will promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields as potential career paths; 
  • Diana Davis, UMass Lowell fitness and wellness staff, who has proposed the new “Exercise is Medicine” program, through which UMass Lowell students coping with health issues will be paired with classmates who work at the Campus Recreation Center as personal trainers for eight to 16 weeks of free sessions; 
  • Edward Frechette, United Teen Equality Center (UTEC), Lowell, who will work with UMass Lowell business and engineering students to find new uses for the cotton filler in mattresses to identify a potential recycling market for the material;
  • Heidi Furey, Philosophy Department faculty, who will work with the Luna Theater at Mill No. 5 in Lowell to establish a monthly event series for the public that will feature the screening of films with philosophical themes followed by  discussions led by UMass Lowell professors; 
  • Thomas Heywosz, UMass Lowell mathematics major, who will help develop a new curriculum for the International Active Astronomy Roadshow, which provides K-12 students with hands-on activities to teach them about physics and astronomy;  
  • Sue Kim, English Department faculty, who will partner with SayDarNar Community Development Center of Lowell, UMass Lowell students and community volunteers to collect and digitize the stories and photographs of Burmese refugees who live in the city for use in exhibits and a book;
  • Roger Morneau, Lowell High School teacher, who will lead an initiative enabling Lowell High students to participate in UMass Lowell’s DifferenceMaker Program, which teaches students of all majors entrepreneurship skills to solve problems in business and the community; 
  • Xiaoxia Newton, Graduate School of Education faculty, who will partner with Lowell High School’s Career Academy to establish “Community Impact Day,” bringing together city residents with students from Lowell public schools, UMass Lowell and Middlesex Community College to complete a variety of service projects to benefit the city’s neighborhoods; 
  • Michele Putko, Department of Mechanical Engineering faculty, who will create a pedal-power station that allows users to experience the torque and rotations per minute needed to create enough energy to blend a smoothie;
  • Katerin Ramirez Tejeda, UMass Lowell doctoral student, who will collaborate with Vineyards Power, a nonprofit, community-owned energy cooperative, to advance public support for offshore wind energy as a way to combat climate change. 

2015 Recipients of the first round of 2020 Challenge Grants

  • Eliza Bobek, Graduate School of Education faculty, who will use her grant to create a makerspace at the Bartlett Community Partnership School in Lowell that will give students in kindergarten through grade 8 an innovative new setting in which to learn about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with the help of UMass Lowell students. 
  • Kelly Bowes, Residence Life staff, who will lead the creation of a new alternative spring break program through which students will gain valuable experiential education while assisting in the community by volunteering with a Lowell-based nonprofit organization. 
  • Maria Brunette, Department of Work Environment faculty, who will create new opportunities for UMass Lowell students to take part in a global public health research project on issues affecting resource-poor communities in South America and to present the results of that research at an international conference on public health. 
  • Annie Ciaraldi, Student Affairs staff, who will create a peer education program to train participants to teach fellow students about protecting their health and preventing violence in any setting, including bystander training, consent education and suicide prevention. 
  • Gladys Kibunyi, biology student, who will work with fellow members of the UMass Lowell chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers to host a regional pre-college initiative event for high school students of diverse backgrounds with the goal of encouraging them to pursue higher education in engineering- and science-related fields. 
  • Allison Lamey, city of Lowell Economic Development Department, who will work with the Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL) to open “a COOL place,” a pop-up retail store that will operate during the holiday season in the city’s downtown, featuring merchandise made by local artists and managed with the help of UMass Lowell students. 
  • Paul Marion, Community Relations staff, who will work with a variety of local partners to expand the “First Thursdays” program in downtown Lowell – which showcases the arts and cultural venues, local restaurants and retailers, the Lowell National Historical Park and unique architecture – to include new features such as live music by UMass Lowell performers. 
  • Phitsamay Uy, Graduate School of Education faculty, who will work with a UMass Lowell student fluent in Khmer and staff in the Lowell Public Schools to produce a video in Khmer to help parents who are not proficient in English better understand American schools. 
  • Nana Younge, plastics engineering student, will create “Get Girls Going,” a new program for at-risk teen girls aimed at helping them overcome barriers to reaching their goals through education and with support from female college students who will serve as mentors.

2015 Recipients of the second round of 2020 Challenge Grants

  • Terry Fox-Koor, plastics engineering student, who will create new opportunities for UMass Lowell students to further develop entrepreneurship skills through open mic events that will allow students to share their ideas for new ventures, products and services. The project builds on UMass Lowell’s highly successful DifferenceMaker Program. 
  • Debra-Nicole Huber, Music Department faculty, who will create an opportunity for high-school musicians from throughout the Merrimack Valley to attend a Boston Symphony Orchestra rehearsal and use technology to simulate what it’s like to be a member of the ensemble. The project expands UMass Lowell’s existing partnership with the BSO and the Department of Music’s instruction and performance programs for young musicians. 
  • Rohit Krishnan, a computer science and electrical engineering major, who will lead a student team in developing assistive technology that uses drones to help detect risks and prevent impending injuries to people. The project was inspired by a character in the film “Big Hero 6.” 
  • Ivy Ho, Psychology Department faculty, who will work with UMass Lowell’s Center for Asian American Studies and Center for Public Opinion on a research project aimed at increasing voter participation among the Cambodian and Vietnamese communities in Lowell. 
  • Diana Archibald, English Department faculty, whose grant will support two service-learning projects for UMass Lowell students – one at the Tsongas Industrial History Center, the other at Lowell National Historical Park – for which the students will draw upon the Steampunk movement and their study of author Charles Dickens, who once visited Lowell, to create interactive, educational exhibits for the public. 
  • Gabrielle Davis, from the community group Made in Lowell, who will travel through Lowell in a remodeled recreational vehicle to meet with and gather the stories of residents in each of the city’s neighborhoods. These histories will then be available to the public through programs and events presented by the community development organization.

2015 Recipients of the final round of 2020 Challenge Grants

  • Karla Cuarezma, civil and environmental engineering student, who will work with a team of students, alumni and faculty to design a permanent working model on stormwater filtration and its impact on the Merrimack River and environment. It will educate visitors to Decatur WAY (Water, Art and You), which was previously an underutilized alley adjacent to UMass Lowell’s University Crossing. 
  • Lynn DiBenedetto, Clinical Lab and Nutritional Sciences Department faculty, who will establish a new pilot program Engineering and Science Explorations (EASE) with the goal of sparking interest in those fields among freshmen at local high schools by providing them with access to UMass Lowell faculty, students and facilities, including a full-day experience featuring hands-on exploration of health sciences, biology, chemistry, engineering and earth sciences.
  • Elissa Johnson-Green, Music Department faculty, who will establish the Musical Playground to provide Lowell schools, community centers and public parks with specially designed and constructed outdoor musical instruments with repurposed materials and with the help of a multidisciplinary team of faculty and students.  
  • Stephen Mishol, Art and Design Department faculty, who will work with fellow professors to develop and execute art-making workshops at Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, Lowell High School and Stoklosa Middle School in Lowell to build a dialogue between pupils at those schools and students at UMass Lowell. 
  • Ruairi O’Mahony, Administrative Services staff, who will establish “University Walk,” a one-mile stretch along Pawtucket Street in Lowell, using information boards and wayfinding signs designed to encourage members of the UMass Lowell community and the public to engage in physical activity to maintain or improve overall health. It will also promote sustainability through encouraging pedestrian travel.