2021 Senior Awards

Student Award
Emily Duryea Outstanding Overall Senior
Isabella Levesque Outstanding Overall Senior
Ciara Venter Outstanding Thesis
Kimberly Sikorski Outstanding Thesis
Miranda Boudreau Outstanding Thesis
Elodie Carel Outstanding Thesis
Isha Parasnis Outstanding Thesis
Maria DelPico Outstanding Thesis
Joe Minton Research Assistant Appreciation
Britt Mardis Teaching Assistant Appreciation
Akili Sundai Teaching Assistant Appreciation
David Cellucci Teaching Assistant Appreciation
Owen Colás Outstanding Internship Contribution
Catherine Fahey Outstanding Internship Contribution


Hear what some of our senior award winners had to say about their UMass experience:

 

Isabella Levesque

Isabella Levesque 

Outstanding Overall Senior

How did your experiences in PBS shape who you are today?
My experiences in the PBS department made me a better student, researcher, and leader. I was able to pursue research experiences both internally and outside of UMass to determine what I am passionate about thanks to the support of amazing peers, faculty, and mentors in PBS!

What is your biggest takeaway from UMass?
My 4 years at UMass taught me the importance of working hard, advocating for yourself, and actively seeking out new opportunities. 

What will you be pursuing after UMass? 
I will be working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment as a research assistant and coordinator for AD clinical trials.


Akili Sundai

Akili Sundai

Teaching Assistant Appreciation

How did your experiences in PBS shape who you are today?
The courses offered helped me form a better idea of what I may want to pursue in the future and allowed me to delve into these interests further. The professors and students shaped my ideologies greatly because I was able to connect with and learn from a multitude of people with vast passions. Honestly taking courses I otherwise would not have enrolled in and learning what I do not like has served to be most useful, as it's helped me narrow my career focus.

What is your biggest takeaway from UMass?
My biggest takeaway is to just go for the things you want and that you are your only competition. You may not feel as though you're qualified or that you deserve a certain position, but you absolutely are! There have been so many times when I doubted my own abilities but still applied just to put myself out there and surprised myself most times. Focus on bettering yourself and making an impact on your community & you'll sail over your own expectations.

What will you be pursuing after UMass? 
I will be working as a Clinical Research Assistant for the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation. I will be treating patients with novel Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy, researching neuropsychological systems, and examining clinical disorders at the Harvard Medical School Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center! Good luck to everyone in their pursuits, I know you got this!


Catherine Fahey sitting by an ocean sunset

Catherine Fahey

Outstanding Internship Contribution

How did your experiences in PBS shape who you are today?
My experience in the psychological and brain sciences offered me so many opportunities for personal and professional growth. Through my class work, volunteer work, and internship my passion to help others intensified as I developed the tools to do so effectively. I found great support through my professors and advisors who enabled me to take care of myself first and foremost while still finding success in my academics and career.

What is your biggest takeaway from UMass?
My biggest take away from UMass has been that with the right mindset you can flourish in any environment. I came in freshman year so overwhelmed by the large school and unsure of what I wanted to make of it. Over time I was able to find my own supportive community that propelled my growth as I explored different interests and developed confidence in my skills.

What will you be pursuing after UMass? 
After UMass, I have accepted a position as a Mental Health Counselor for the Child Partial Hospitalization Program at Baystate Hospital as well as a volunteer position for Crisis Text Line.


Ciara Venter

Ciara Venter

Outstanding Thesis

How did your experiences in PBS shape who you are today?
The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences allowed me to explore many different interests within the field of psychology in a unique way. Being able to complete my honors thesis at the end was also a challenging yet rewarding experience that helped me discover new passions of mine as well.

What is your biggest takeaway from UMass?
My biggest takeaway is that it can be really great to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Being able to explore different clubs and social groups on campus helped me feel a real sense of community and allowed me to form connections that I will take with me beyond UMass.  

What will you be pursuing after UMass?
I will continue working as a therapeutic mentor and gaining experience in the field. I am excited to start a career where I can help others and make a difference in my community. 


Maria DelPico

Maria DelPico

Outstanding Thesis

How did your experiences in PBS shape who you are today?
My experience in Dr. Linda Isbell's Affect and Social Cognition Lab has inspired me to continue doing research after graduation and to advocate for those with mental illness. Taking psychology classes at UMass has fueled my passion for learning more about mental health and pursuing a career in psychiatry. 

What is your biggest takeaway from UMass?
I have made long-lasting relationships with faculty who have been incredible mentors to me throughout my undergraduate career. I have also been able to grow and develop so many important skills that have helped prepare me for my future. 

What will you be pursuing after UMass? 
After graduating from UMass, I will be working as a Clinical Research Assistant II at McLean Hospital in their Geriatric Psychiatry Research Program. 


Owen Colás

Owen Colás  

Outstanding Internship Contribution

How did your experiences in PBS shape who you are today?
Advisors in PBS helped me navigate the internship process, which totally changed my life. My internship at The Stonewall Center provided me with invaluable experience and memories I will always cherish. 

What is your biggest takeaway from UMass?
My biggest takeaway from UMass was how important it is to be proactive in seeking out relationships with people. Introducing myself to teachers and advisors and taking time to attend office hours definitely improved my experience and showed me how essential good relationships are. 

What will you be pursuing after UMass? 
After UMass I'll be taking a year off and then beginning my Masters in Social Work at Smith College!


Miranda Boudreau

Miranda Boudreau

Outstanding Thesis

How did your experiences in PBS shape who you are today?
I have found that much of the person I have become and the ideals I find important have stemmed from my experiences within the PBS department. For me, the most transformative experiences were the ones offered through the Developmental Disabilities and Human Services (DDHS) program. In these classes, I learned about the challenges facing families and individuals with disabilities which I anticipate addressing as a physician assistant. My internship at Pathlight working with adults with disabilities has also had a tremendous impact on my aspirations in life. I am grateful to have grown because of these experiences and many more through the PBS department. Being a PBS major has become a central part of my identity, and for this, I am incredibly grateful.

What is your biggest takeaway from UMass?
Before coming to school here, I was unaware of how overwhelming a large school could feel and how easy it was to get lost in the crowd. For me, I found it valuable to find ways to make it small. In those spaces, like joining BioTAP, or DDHS, or iCons, or Res Life, or NRHH, the once overwhelming feeling felt much more manageable. Also, in these spaces, I could achieve a lot, including forming close relationships, which felt especially significant. I am grateful for all the small, quirky, and meaningful spaces that UMass has to offer if you look for them.

What will you be pursuing after UMass? 
Although I have many aspirations for my life after graduating, my immediate plans are to attend physician assistant graduate school to obtain a master’s degree in physician assistant studies. While I apply to schools this cycle, I will be working at the New England Center for Children in Southborough on their Intensive Treatment Team. I am looking forward to all that will come in the next few years. Good luck to my peers in reaching all the aspirations you are working towards and have yet to come!


David Cellucci

David Cellucci

Teaching Assistant Appreciation

How did your experiences in PBS shape who you are today?
Being a Teaching Assistant in the department really helped me learn to present different topics from neuroscience and psychology. I learned to articulate complex topics to try to help other students develop a better understanding of the subject that I found a passion for here at UMass.

What is your biggest takeaway from UMass?
My biggest takeaway from UMass would be to really take the time to work with your peers. The people that I have encountered here have taught me so much and provided me with such great guidance and lessons that go beyond the classroom.

What will you be pursuing after UMass? 
After UMass I will be continuing my current role as an Emergency Department Technician. I will also be applying to medical school to pursue a career in Emergency Medicine. 


Kimberly SikorskiKimberly Sikorski

Outstanding Thesis

How did your experiences in PBS shape who you are today?
Through PBS, I was able to engage in so many different wonderful opportunities, including being an RA, TA, honors student, and intern. Taken together, my experiences, although diverse, each contributed to the realization of my overall career goal of becoming a clinical child psychologist. 

What is your biggest takeaway from UMass?
Always ask questions! You will be surprised by how much those around you can help with whatever it is you are struggling with. 

What will you be pursuing after UMass? 
Currently, I am working at a local school as their Peace Room Coordinator where I help kids in kindergarten through 12th grade learn and practice important socioemotional skills like conflict resolution, emotion regulation, and social awareness. In the future, I hope to obtain my doctorate in clinical child psychology with my research focusing on personalizing treatment for children and adolescents battling depression and anxiety.