Every Alum Has a Story to Tell

Scientists, authors, entrepreneurs, and magicians – all of our alumni offer unique perspective into life inside and outside of UMass!

Enjoy our alumni stories and look for new additions each month in our newsletter, @UMASS.
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Band Alumni March On
Big things are happening for the UMass Marching Band and its alumni, according to Keith Paul ’98, a veteran saxophone player and leader of the UMass Marching Band Alumni Network.

Balancing Security with Privacy
“The idea that you have to choose national security or privacy is a false narrative,” says the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Civil Liberties and Privacy Director Rebecca Richards ’94. “As citizens, we need to think about how we can accomplish both of these at the same time.”

Wild Ride

Through one lucky conversation, National Geographic Field Producer and Director Brent LeRash ’07 went from playing tour guide on Cape Cod to studying, filming, and touching noses with some of the most beautiful creatures on the planet.

Supporting Future iCons Leaders
A new prize established with a gift from Peg Crowley-Nowick ’86 recognizes student leaders in the Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons) program.

A Multicultural Life
“Life happens. Sometimes you just have to write about it,” says author Elizabeth Chennamchetty ’04 MPH, whose memoir Bangles, Bindis and Babies: Becoming a Family tells of her mishaps and growth in an unexpected multicultural marriage.

Color in Comics

With more than 10,000 comic books in his collection spanning nearly a century of storytelling, comic book historian William Foster ’75 has made it his life’s work to research and teach others about the representation of people of color in comics.

Enhancing the Human Experience
What if web browsing were more personalized than a Google search? User Experience Designer Gabrielle Mehlman ’10 says it’s only a matter of time until your computer will predict your needs based on a simple conversation.

On the Run
Ultra-marathon runner and cyclist Steve Marra ’75 isn’t afraid to face the heat as he prepares for Badwater, the “world's toughest foot race” in the heart of Death Valley, California.

Devoted to Diversity
“While I’m an adult and able to weather adversity, my responsibility is to be a touchstone for students of color who are challenged by being in the minority. I’ve taken this work to heart,” says Amherst-Pelham Regional High School Dean of Students Mary Custard ’82, ’87 MA. 

A Lifetime Commitment to UMass
Madeleine Noland ’89 and William Noland ’86 have seen the value of staying connected to UMass Amherst as students, professionals, and donors to university initiatives that speak to their passions.

Strategic Thinking
With UMass Amherst climbing the ranks toward becoming a top-20 public institution, Alumni Association President Gregory Thomas ’91 says now is the time for alumni to harness that energy and reignite their UMass pride.

Beaming with Pride
Joining the ranks of visionaries such as the Wright Brothers and Thomas Edison, General Electric Engineer Marshall Jones ’72 MA, ’74 PhD will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his work that revolutionized the use of lasers in manufacturing.

Million-Dollar Market
“My career has had a lot of accidents. You can study one thing but life will take you somewhere else. That is what happened to me,” says Nilmaris Negrón ’99 MPA, senior financial analyst for CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm.

A Call to Help
From hearing a child’s first words to reconnecting on holidays, Robbie Bergquist ’14 has helped active military members speak with their loved ones through Cell Phones for Soldiers (CPFS), a nonprofit organization that offers the priceless gift of a phone call.

Personalized Medicine
Wendy Jones ’82 MS, ’87 PhD has traveled an unconventional path in her career. A biopharmaceutical consultant, Jones has made groundbreaking discoveries in a number of drug therapies and is helping to advance the field of personalized medicine.

’67 Spirit
After months of planning, John Mullin ’67 and members of the 50th Reunion Committee have planned a reunion celebration during Alumni Weekend that speaks to the spunk and spirit of the Class of ’67.

Community Action
Theresa Eugene ’13 took her passion for public policy and social entrepreneurship to the nation’s capital, where she leads a volunteer group educating workers on disability rights.

An American Epic
No one was more surprised than author Nathan Hill ’04 MFA when his debut novel The Nix, a mother-son tragicomedy rife with social and political commentary, skyrocketed to the top of nearly every bestseller chart in the industry.

Stop Stressing About Stress
“Chronic stress is a big problem across the globe,” says Nutritional Biochemist Shawn Talbott ’93 MS. “It’s taking its toll on our waistlines, moods, and anxiety levels. And for those chronically stressed, there is an increased risk for diseases like diabetes and depression.”

Fighting Fake News
Journalist Joshua Stearns ’07 MA says the journalism industry must adapt to a new era of transparency and real-time fact checking to help readers distinguish “fake news” from legitimate sources.