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Alumni Recruit New River Hawks

Prospective Students Connect with Alumni in Volunteer Program

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Alumni, such as Alex Caceres '07, connect with prospective students through the Alumni Admissions Volunteer Program by making school visits with staff, including Michael Belcher.

By Julia Gavin

A new program that connects alumni from across the country with prospective students is helping to broaden the university’s reach and bolster applications from out-of-state students.

The Alumni Admissions Volunteer Program works to build connections in the alumni community and give prospective students personal stories about the value of attending the university. 

“Hearing from UMass Lowell alumni really inspires a lot of our prospective students,” says Michael Belcher, director of outreach and recruitment for Undergraduate Admissions, noting the 12 percent increase in applications in recent years, especially in out-of-state regions where the program is most active. “Our Alumni Admissions Program members make a difference by assisting us at college fairs, calling accepted students to congratulate them and sharing the value of their UMass Lowell experience with prospective students at various receptions and events.”

Volunteers can also help by connecting with parents and admissions counselors who can have a significant impact on students’ decisions. Alex Caceres ’07 has volunteered at the National Association of College Admissions Counseling Fair and at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C.

“I got involved with the program because it not only promotes UMass Lowell, but it also provides a platform to get involved in the community,” says Caceres, a criminal justice graduate working as a program director in the District of Columbia. “I tell prospective students that the university provides great opportunities for academic, professional and personal development in a welcoming learning environment.”

Leon LaFreniere ’78 meets with high school students and their parents in the greater San Diego area. He got involved with the program to encourage students to attend the university and share his experiences as an alum.

“I tell them how my education opened the door to my career as an aerospace engineer,” says LaFreniere, who studied mechanical engineering. “I tell them that it’s a great value and talk about its close proximity to Boston.” 
Volunteers also help out in Massachusetts, making valuable connections to prospective students and their families closer to campus. Jessica Hyacinthe ’01, an exercise physiology graduate, felt a connection to the university during her first visit as a high school student and shared her story at the Watertown High School College Fair.

“The connection I felt then was proven to be real and in the course of my years there I had wonderful professors that truly cared about my success,” says Hyacinthe. “I want to give back and show prospective students that we do care. They are not going to be left on their own to navigate the different paths that the school has to offer.” 

The program is a joint effort of the Offices of Alumni Relations and Undergraduate Admissions. Alumni interested in participating may contact Reja Gamble, assistant director of Alumni Relations, for more information.