After a positive experience in the engineering program at Blackstone Valley Technical High School, the Bellingham, Massachusetts, native opted to stay in state for college.
“I was applying to schools that were really well-regarded for their engineering programs – specifically UMass Lowell being one of the better state schools in Massachusetts for that,” he says.
Lafond’s plans changed after he joined the staff of The Connector
during his first semester on campus and discovered a love for writing. He switched his major to English
with a concentration in journalism and professional writing and added minors in digital media
and political science
“When I came here, I had no intention of ever switching from engineering,” Lafond says. “Since I had joined The Connector and was writing more and more, going to English and journalism felt like the right step, and I’ve regretted nothing since.”
Lafond sees his role on The Connector as a way to contribute to the university at large.
“I feel like I’m giving back to the campus, giving them a solid newspaper every week to keep everyone up to date on what’s going on both here and around the world,” he says.
Lafond has gained experience in various aspects of the newspaper’s operations on the way to becoming editor-in-chief. His goal this year is to improve The Connector’s visual appeal.
“I really want to become good at graphic design,” he says. “I finally recruited someone who knows how to use InDesign really well to be able to help me do that, which I’m really excited for.”
After taking time off from school due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lafond returned to UMass Lowell looking to get more involved on campus. He joined the International Relations Club
in the fall of 2021, where he is now the social media manager.
Since joining, Lafond has participated in local and international events, including the Model United Nations Conference in the spring of 2022, where he won the Best Delegate award. He hopes to win another award at the Model U.N. Conference in Belgium this semester.
While Lafond’s achievements are meaningful to him, the friendships from both organizations are just as valuable.
“In both clubs – but especially in the International Relations Club – I’ve made a lot of really great lifelong friendships,” he says. “I’ve met a lot of cool people and just had a lot of really awesome opportunities.”
Looking ahead, Lafond hopes to use the skills he has crafted through his classes and student organizations to secure a writing job after graduation.
“By the end of the year, I’m hoping that I can find a full-time or even part-time writing position,” he says. “I want to apply what I’ve learned in school to the real world.”