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LIRA Awards Annual Scholarships

UMass Lowell Seniors Each Receive $1,500 from Retirees Association

By Henri Marchand

Two UMass Lowell seniors, Sopheavy Sing and Danane Chhor, recently received scholarships from the Learning in Retirement Association (LIRA). Funded by voluntary donations, LIRA scholarships are awarded in December on a competitive basis to full-time students active in extracurricular and/or community service activities who have a grade point average of at least 3.0.

LIRA is a multi-faceted educational program for retired and semi-retired individuals; for 20 years it has provided college-level learning experiences at modest cost for its members, regardless of previous educational background.

“We were pleased that we could increase our two annual scholarships to UMass Lowell students this year to $1,500 each,” says Toby Hodes, president of LIRA. “But we were even more pleased by the quality of each of the 17 applicants. Making the choice was not easy for LIRA’s Scholarship Committee as each individual was highly qualified, and all of them are a credit to the University. The two young women who were selected are most assuredly deserving of receiving this award, and we wish them continued success in their future endeavors.”

Sing is working toward a degree in community health with a minor in psychology. She hopes to become an oncologist. In her first year at UMass Lowell, she was inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta, Psi Chi, the national honor society in psychology, and the freshman honor society. As a senior she is a member of the Honors Program, an honoree on the national dean’s list for three semesters and a member of the mock trial team. Sing has volunteered at a nursing home, as well as at the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association, assisting non-English-speaking people seeking medical care.

Chhor is majoring in biology and has been in the Honors Program since the fall of 2006. Her goal is to be a nurse practitioner. Chhor was a recipient of the Emerging Leader of the Year award for 2008 to 2009. She works at Lowell General Hospital where she spent more than 500 hours volunteering at the information desk, the cancer center and the medical surgical unit. This past August, she served as a volunteer for the UMass Lowell chapter of Global Medical Brigade, contributing a week’s worth of service in Honduras.

For more information on LIRA, visit the LIRA website.