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RHSA Students of the Month

Students of the Month are nominated by their faculty, staff and fellow students for exemplifying what it means to be part of the RHSA.

Vanessa Bazile

Vanessa Bazile, English

Congratulations to Vanessa Bazile, November RHSA student of the month! Vanessa is an English major with a concentration in Journalism and Professional Writing. Eventually, she would like to work in TV or write for a big company, magazine, or newspaper. She is from Hyde Park (a smaller town in Boston), and enjoys writing, traveling, and meeting new people.
Vanessa’s favorite thing about UML? “The amount of people there are that are willing to really help you. Anything you ask of anyone, you will most likely get help. Nobody will ever really turn you away.” She says that this supportive and friendly community were very helpful when she was entering UML and didn’t know anyone. On this, she says, “you begin to feel very comfortable quickly because UML is really one big family.”
Being involved in the RHSA has meant a great deal to Vanessa. On this, she says, “I got to meet people with similar stories. … I quickly got very comfortable with sharing my experiences with the people in my group because we could all relate to each other in some way, shape, or form. It also means that I am given an opportunity to make something of myself for not only me, but for my family as well.”
Vanessa’s parents have completed college, but only recently. She remembers attending her mother’s lectures at UMass Boston as a child, and her father recently graduated from DeVry University with a degree in Business. She says that while she had a little bit of help with the college process, she had to complete a lot of things on her own. She wants to be able to provide for her parents the way they’ve provided for her, and wants to be able to succeed.
Tyson Minor next to tree

Tyson Minor, Business Administration

Congratulations to Tyson Minor, who is a November 2019 RHSA Student of the Month. Tyson is a Business Administration major with a concentration in Finance. He is from Washington, D.C. and is also a DC-CAP Scholar. Overall, he wants to be successful by following what he likes to do and be able to provide for his family and himself. In his spare time, Tyson likes to play basketball, go to the gym, and play sports video games.
Tyson’s favorite parts about UML are the opportunities available. He likes that students here can pave their own way and get settled in the way that’s best for them. Students are encouraged to be their own people and are encouraged to be leaders, as well. He also likes that UML encourages students to learn about the things they are interested in, and encourage students to do so much more than just get a degree. Tyson also says that he’s “met just the right amount of people to make it seem like [he’s] on the right path, people like Professor [Ralph] Jordan.” He says that his faculty and people he’s met on campus are nurturing and caring, and a lot of people need that.
What has being involved with the RHSA meant to Tyson? He says it has been a valuable resource that exposes students to different experiences that they might not normally participate in, but are helpful in helping them branch out. He especially appreciates the opportunities to get out of his comfort zone and attend events that RHSA puts on.
Tyson doesn’t really know how he feels about being a first generation college student. He has had older cousins go to college, but his immediate family has not and he did not think he’d have the chance to go to college. Most people in his family graduated from high school and immediately went to work. While he knew going to college was always a possibility, he never saw himself going. He says that the lack of pressure from his family to go to college was even less of a reason to go, but he was able to get a scholarship to UMass Lowell and decided to commit, among several different schools. 
When he graduates in four years, Tyson says he’ll look at himself from a different point of view: He will be able to reflect and look at where he came from and where he is then. He says he is at UMass Lowell for the opportunity to study, not the degree itself. On this topic, he says, “When you’re a first gen student, anything you get after stepping onto a college campus is a blessing and an opportunity. There’s nothing I can lose at this point, everything I do is for the better.”
Fahad Anwar standing on street

Fahad Anwar, Computer Engineering

Congratulations to November 2019 RHSA Student of the Month Fahad Anwar. Fahad is a commuter student from Boston, majoring in Computer Engineering. In his spare time, he enjoys running and spending time with his friends. Fahad decided to come to UMass Lowell because he loved the community the university was able to provide and how friendly everyone was when he visited the campus. 
Fahad’s favorite thing about UMass Lowell? The support network he has here. He says that “everyone is willing to help each other when it comes to homework, projects, or just hanging out… everyone is there for each other.” He also says that being part of RHSA has shaped his experience at UML. The RHSA allows him to relate to a group of people who will be there for him if he needs anything. He says it also has given him opportunities to learn things outside of his academic pathway, like putting on a Personal Finance Workshop or letting students attend the RHSA Hockey Night together.
Fahad wants to find a career that he is passionate about, and one where it doesn’t feel like a chore to have to go to work. He is a first generation college student, and says that that puts the onus of responsibility on him to a much higher degree than that of his continuing-generation peers. Not only is he going through a new experience himself, his parents are also going through the experience for the first time. He has had to be highly independent throughout the college process, from applying to financial aid.
Fahad is happy to be here. He also says, “I’m happy to be part of RHSA and I’m happy for what the RHSA program does and what it has contributed to the UML freshmen. I’m excited to continue my journey both with RHSA and UMass Lowell.”
Edgardo Paz Juarez is a first-generation student majoring in Civil Engineering from Washington, D.C. He enjoys playing both music (piano, guitar, bass, and drums: he’s the whole band!) and soccer. He wants to pursue construction management.

Edgardo Paz Juarez, Francis College of Engineering

Edgardo is a first-generation student majoring in Civil Engineering from Washington, D.C. He enjoys playing both music (piano, guitar, bass, and drums: he’s the whole band!) and soccer. He wants to pursue construction management and have a job that he enjoys doing. Being involved in the RHSA has meant a sense of community to Edgardo: “It’s nice to meet other students with the same path (and maybe background) as you, it’s nice to share and see people who are really trying.” The RHSA community provides a place for him to feel supported and motivated. Being around others with similar experiences motivates him to be a better person and student. He also says that the RHSA contains a lot of individuals who help each other to accomplish their goals.

Edgardo’s favorite thing about UMass Lowell is the wide range and number of opportunities for students. There are a number of doors that are open to students at the university, and Edgardo says he wants to take advantage of those open doors. Further, he says that he likes how much the people here care about the students and what they are going to do after they graduate. He is a first-generation college student who also participates in a program that allows a group of students from Washington, D.C. to attend UMass Lowell. This programmatic partnership, including the ability to attend a university far from home with a group of people he already knew, pushed him to attend UMass Lowell.

Being a first generation student is an honor to Edgardo. He is the first one in his family to ever go to college, which is something that motivates him to become a better student. He wants to make his family’s emigration from Mexico worth it, and he thanks God for the opportunities he’s being given. This opportunity may let him be the one to bring the family a sense of stability. Overall, he is happy to be here.

Grace Truong is a nursing major with a minor in public health from North Andover, MA. She enjoys photography, writing poetry, and playing with her dog. Her favorite thing about UML is the supportive campus: in high school, it didn’t feel like everyone supported each other, but here, everyone wants each other to succeed. She also likes the fact that everything on campus is close and accessible and that the university really feels like a community, rather than just a place to learn.

Grace Truong, Zuckerberg College of Sciences

Grace Truong is a nursing major with a minor in public health from North Andover, Mass. She enjoys photography, writing poetry, and playing with her dog. Her favorite thing about UMass Lowell is the supportive campus: in high school, it didn’t feel like everyone supported each other, but here, everyone wants each other to succeed. She also likes the fact that everything on campus is close and accessible and that the university really feels like a community, rather than just a place to learn.

In the future, Grace would like to graduate and buy her parents a house. She would like to become a nurse either in the military or a midwife; she hasn’t quite decided yet. To her, being involved in RHSA means that she has a community that supports her, but one which she can also support. Grace doesn’t feel alone because of RHSA; while everything around her is very new, her peer leader and the RHSA team support her personally.

Being a first-generation college student means a lot to Grace. Her and her family value education strongly. She has opportunities her parents didn’t get, but they were able to provide her with by emigrating to the United States from Vietnam. Grace wants to be able to create a better life for her and her family too via her own education.