For Salmaan Kapadia, giving back to the community has been a life-long endeavor that's rooted in family.

Though he was born in the United States, Kapadia’s family originates from a village in Khara Abrama, Gujarat, and a people known best for being the most peaceful in India, he says.

“The Gujarati people are very welcoming; they love to give to the community, they’ll help out the poor as much as they can--even if they are poor, they’ll still put others first,” says Kapadia. “It’s a principle that I live by. No matter what, I want to be able to give more.”

At UMass Lowell, Kapadia has done just that. As a freshman accounting student, he never expected to go into social services, spending a summer in a community co-op working with the blind at the Lowell Association for the Blind (LAB). But he discovered it was a perfect fit for him.

"The co-op was a really good fit with my skill set and interests. I love working with people and I’m really good with IT. I was pretty much the IT department there," says Kapadia. "I’m also multilingual, I can read Spanish and speak Hindi, which allowed me to better connect with the clients."

Kapadia chose UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business not only because of its proximity to his home in Andover, Mass., but also because of its promise and commitment to prepare students for the future by giving them the best education possible.

“UMass Lowell is an excellent school. I had a great first year, great start, and all my professors have been very good to me,” Kapadia says. “I knew I would follow in my grandfather’s footsteps to go into accounting, and I knew that the Manning School was right for me. It has a very good reputation, and I understand why. It has been a blessing for me.”

Something Kapadia did not know ahead of time was how “thankful” he would be that UMass Lowell matched him with the LAB, giving him his first co-op experience, an experience that he now cherishes.

“I love giving back to the community, so I plan to stay with this association for as long as I can, helping out and volunteering if I’m not part of the staff,” says Kapadia. “I am very thankful for the opportunity to work with people, it has opened more doors for me."

Overall, he says: "This school has many advantages, especially with its unique co-op program for freshman. UMass Lowell offers you a lot of creative learning experiences, prepares you for a great career, and the people are great.”