12 Students who Make the World a Brighter Place

Every generation comes of age with challenges to face, but not like this. The world is awash in urgent difficulties in need of real solutions — from eroding mental health to entrenched social inequality to the planet itself in peril.
When we look to our students, we see a generation rising. We see their vision, coming into focus, of the world they believe is worth fighting for. We see how their actions are changing lives.
These 12 students are at the forefront. We have 18,480 more right behind them.

Siblings Abby and Ben Drezek stand in front of the UML soccer pitch Image by Ed Brennen

Abby '21 and Ben '21 Drezek

Siblings Abby and Ben Drezek made quite a mark at UML, recognized for their academic achievements and giving back to the community as co-presidents of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Read more.
  • Kevin Akers
    Mechanical Engineering

    As one of the university’s first DC-CAP Scholars, mechanical engineering major Kevin Akers is pursuing his dream of becoming an astronaut — while also continuing to make a difference in the lives of others.

  • Kristen Reardon
    Finance and Management

    Working as a client services and relationship management co-op at MFS Investment Management debunked a lot of assumptions business major Kristen Reardon had about the financial industry.

  • Chummeng Soun
    Asian Studies, Digital Media

    Chummeng Soun is documenting the traditional dances of his native Cambodia with support from the Center for Asian American Studies and the Southeast Asian Digital Archive.

  • Kelsey Gonzalez
    Public Health

    Kelsey Gonzalez cares for asylum seekers as program manager for Global Disaster Response and Humanitarian Action at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Global Health.

  • Greg Reimonn
    Plastics Engineering

    Greg Reimonn found a faculty mentor to help him research microplastics in waterways, thanks to an honors fellowship.

  • Nancy Pin

    Nancy Pin is on her way to becoming a family nurse practitioner so she can help the community.

  • Sydney Fagundes

    Sydney Fagundes has found her calling: teaching young children, with a focus on science and math.

  • Brendon Aylaian
    Business Management

    Army Rangers veteran Brendon Aylaian is working as a financial specialist for the Air Force.

  • Mayara Reis
    Criminal Justice

    Criminal Justice major and community organizer Mayara Reis says the diversity at UMass Lowell let her be who she's supposed to be.

  • Benedicta Agyemang-Brantuo

    Benedicta Agyemang-Brantuo won the 2021 MLK Service Award for starting a club to address health disparities – amid the COVID-19 pandemic.