When UMass Lowell launched the Environmental Health Program in 2009, Maryann Ford jumped on board. “I wanted a health major that was broader than clinical,” she says. “I am really interested in environmental sustainability and how it relates to ecology and human health,” says Ford who received the Chancellor’s Commonwealth Scholarship.

“I really like the way the school interacts with the Lowell community so much. In the environmental health classes especially, the professors make a huge effort to contribute to the welfare of the Lowell area.”

For example, through just a few of her classes, Maryann created a video documentary about a health advocacy group in the area, published a Letter to the Editor in response to decreased state funding for mental health programs and created a plan to educate people about climate change to improve health. 

“Working with the Lowell community gives context to the work we do in class.”

During the summer of 2011, Ford worked as an intern at the University of Montana’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences where she conducted laboratory research on how particles or combustion products could affect health. 

Since, Ford has held positions with the International Institute of Boston and the Department of State's Embassy in Dublin, Ireland. These roles, in combination with her education at UMass Lowell have helped broaden her career and reveal new opportunities.

In Jan. 2015, Ford was awarded a Christianson grant of $7,400 from the InterExchange Foundation. Through this grant, she will travel to Nicosia, Cyprus to provide legal, social and psychological support to refugees for the Strengthening Asylum project.

"Different regions and countries receive refugees differently, and I will bring to Nicosia my knowledge and experience from the U.S. to contribute new ideas and approaches," Maryann says.