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News from UMass Lowell for the Week of Sept. 18, 2017

Story and source ideas for journalists

DifferenceMaker 2016 finals Photo by Tory Germann for UMass Lowell
Rich Miner, second from right, a UMass Lowell graduate who went on to co-found Android Inc. and a general partner at Google Ventures, was among those who attended the finals of the DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge. The DifferenceMakers Program kicks off for the year on Sept. 26.


Sept. 18, 2017: This is a notice of upcoming events, photo opportunities and story ideas at UMass Lowell, compiled by the Office of University Relations. For more news about UMass Lowell, visit Please note that contact names below are for the media and are not for publication.

Sources of the week 
UMass Lowell faculty experts are available to discuss: 
  • What Hurricane Jose has in store for New England this week and yet another storm, Maria, that is heading down a similar path to Irma;
  • The Iran nuclear deal, including the looming deadline for the U.S. to certify that Iran is meeting its terms and threats by President Trump to roll back the agreement;
  • How Nordstrom is opening smaller stores under the Nordstrom Local name that offer shoppers personal stylists, but stock no merchandise. 
Contact UMass Lowell media relations if you need an expert source on any subject.

Global Influencer in Marketing, UMass Lowell Grad to Speak  

When:     Tuesday, Sept. 19, 11 a.m.

What:      Vala Afshar, a UMass Lowell graduate and chief digital evangelist for Inc., will discuss the technologies powering what some call the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” during the Salesforce Day at UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business. Afshar – named as the top Twitter influencer of chief marketing officers – earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at UMass Lowell. Salesforce is a pioneer in customer relationship management technology. The event kicks off the Manning School’s participation in the Salesforce Academic Alliance, which provides students with hands-on training to prepare them for careers with employers that use Salesforce, which the company estimates will create 1.9 million new jobs in the next five years. Note: This event is not open to the public, but the press is invited to cover it.

Where:    Alumni Hall, North Campus, 84 University Ave., Lowell

Contacts for media: Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209, or Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944, 

‘Rubber and Road’ Exhibit Evokes Cycling Culture  

When:     Artist’s talk is Tuesday, Sept. 19, 3:30 p.m., followed by a reception at 5 p.m. Exhibit runs through Thursday, Oct. 12. University Gallery hours are Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
What:      UMass Lowell’s Art and Design Department presents “Rubber and Road,” an exhibit by Katina Huston. The works on display, many of them ink on mylar drawings, depict themes connected to bicycling and explore the interplay between light and shadow. The exhibit, a presentation by Huston at which she will talk about her creative process and a reception with the artist are free and open to the public. The show was designed to complement the Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race that will be held in Lowell on Saturday, Sept. 23.   
Where:    Artist’s talk – O’Leary Library Learning Commons, Room 222, South Campus, 61 Wilder St., Lowell. Artist’s reception and exhibit – University Gallery, Mahoney Hall, South Campus, 870 Broadway, St., Lowell
Contacts for media: Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209, or Deborah Santoro, gallery coordinator, 978-934-3493,

Graduate Open House Welcomes Prospective Students  
When:     Saturday, Sept. 23, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

What:      Working professionals and other prospective students interested in pursuing a UMass Lowell education can speak to university representatives and learn about graduate, continuing education and online offerings, and even register on the spot at this open house. UMass Lowell offers 42 master’s and 36 doctoral degrees, as well as more than 70 graduate certificate programs, which are available on campus, online or in a blended format that combines both options. New offerings include Ph.D. programs in education and in criminal justice and criminology. UMass Lowell programs are nationally accredited and ranked for quality and return on investment. Members of the public who would like more information or to RSVP for the event may do so at

Where:    University Crossing, 220 Pawtucket St., Lowell
Contacts for media: Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209, or Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944, 

Event Explores Ramifications of Historic Irish Hunger Strike  
When:     Monday, Sept. 25, 4 p.m.

What:      In September 1917, 38 Irish rebels incarcerated for defying British rule went on a hunger strike to resist their oppressors and changed the course of Irish history. UMass Lowell’s Center for Irish Partnerships will open its 2017 Speaker Series with a program examining the significance of what became known as the Mountjoy Hunger Strike – during which prisoner Thomas Ashe died for the cause – and how the protest still resonates in Irish politics today. Leading the talk will be author and oral historian Tomas MacConmara, who has written a book on the subject. The UMass Lowell Center for Irish Partnerships works to deepen understanding between the American and Irish people through programs for the campus and community, joint research with international partners, and faculty and student exchanges. Members of the public who would like to attend the free event should RSVP by Tuesday, Sept. 19 by emailing
Where:    UMass Club, 1 Beacon Street, 32nd Floor, Boston
Contacts for media: Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209, or Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944, 

Former Texas Hospital Exec Talks About Disaster Readiness, Response   

When:     Monday, Sept. 25, 4:30 p.m.

What:      Maura Walsh – a UMass Lowell graduate who previously led several hospitals on Texas’ Gulf Coast, the region devastated by Hurricane Harvey – will offer her insight on what it’s like to lead emergency preparedness and response teams during hurricanes and other natural disasters. Walsh will discuss how organizations can best plan for the worst, sharing the business and clinical skills necessary to protect the public; coordinate local, state and federal resources; and evaluate a disaster’s financial impact. Walsh served in a variety of executive roles during her 29 years with Hospital Corp. of America (HCA) Gulf Coast Division, based in Houston, before her retirement last year. The event for the university community is presented by UMass Lowell’s Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences.  

Where:    University Crossing, 220 Pawtucket St., Lowell
Contacts for media: Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209, or Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944, 

Student Entrepreneurship Education Program Holds Kickoff  
When:     Tuesday, Sept. 26, 5:30 p.m.

What:       UMass Lowell students from all majors who are interested in learning new skills in entrepreneurship and how they can be used to create solutions to problems in business and the community will participate in the 2017 kickoff for UMass Lowell’s DifferenceMaker Program. Through the program, students develop and launch new ventures with guidance from faculty and other mentors. Student teams also have the chance to vie for seed money to grow their ideas at a variety of pitch contests, including the DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge each spring, judged by alumni and other experts. Since its inception in 2012, the DifferenceMaker program has involved more than 25,000 UMass Lowell students, given rise to 17 student-led companies and supported the filing of seven patents. To date, DifferenceMaker teams have raised nearly $500,000 to support their ideas and enterprises.

Where:    Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, North Campus, 40 University Ave., Lowell
Contacts for media: Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209, or Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944,