AROUND THE VALLEY
UML Celebrates the Class of 2021
UMass Lowell (UML) honored its 4,582 graduates with ceremonies this week, offering graduates the chance to safely celebrate their success through a combination of virtual ceremonies and the in-person presentation of their diploma covers with a family photo at the Tsongas Center.
The three-day commencement celebration began on Wednesday. A ceremony for graduates who earned doctoral degrees featured William Moylan, UML distinguished university professor and architect of the university’s sound recording technology program. UML President Marty Meehan, who graduated from UML and previously served as chancellor, also spoke to graduates.
A series of brief, small ceremonies on Thursday and Friday recognized graduates who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Thursday’s ceremony included the presentation of an honorary doctoral degree to Ron Insana, senior analyst and contributor to CNBC and MSNBC networks, as well as the Chancellor’s Medal for Public Service and Civic Engagement to Market Basket.
Friday’s ceremony features Deepak Chopra — founder of The Chopra Foundation, a nonprofit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, who, along with UML graduate and founder of The Born to Run Foundation Noelle Lambert, addressed the Class of 2021. Their speeches are online here.
UML also honored graduating seniors for their service to the campus and community, their academic and athletic achievements and their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.
Six members of the Class of 2021 have earned the Trustees Key for completing all four years of their college careers at UML with a perfect 4.0 GPA. The award recipients included three students from the MV:
- Samuel Burns of Lowell, mechanical engineering major
- Rachele DiFava of Wilmington, psychology major
- John El Helou of Methuen, mathematics major
Each of these students also received a Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Academic Achievement, which honors undergraduates in each college who have attained the highest GPA. Joseph Hartman, UML’s provost and vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, announced these award recipients:
- Scott Childs of Newburyport, biology major
- Stephen Collins of Tyngsborough, business administration major
- David DeLuca of Lowell, computer science major
- Rachel Mains of Lowell, public health major
The Chancellor’s Medal for Student Service, which recognizes graduating seniors who have made outstanding contributions to UML was awarded to Ryan Callahan of Chelmsford, who served for two years as a UML student trustee. Dana Ibrahim of Lowell, a peace and conflict studies major was also honored.
Several students received the Chancellor’s Medal for Community Service in recognition of their significant contributions to the public good. The honorees include:
- Madeline Meeks of Manchester, N.H., political science major
- Sofia Savoca Rojas of Lowell, civil engineering major
- Krina Shah of Billerica, biology major
- Molly Teece of Methuen, plastics engineering major
Sen. DiZoglio Hosts Attorney General Healey for Small Business and Youth Engagement Roundtables
On Monday, State Sen. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) hosted Attorney General Maura Healey for a small business and youth engagement tour of the Merrimack Valley.
DiZoglio and Healey toured small businesses in Haverhill prior to participating in a roundtable discussion at Krueger Flatbread on Essex Street, where local business owners voiced concerns about the pandemic recovery effort, drawing attention to their problems finding workers and navigating the disrupted supply chain.
Participating business owners included HamdAllah Olona from GoodieKrunch, Paul Tomacchio from Stuft, Angelo Asprogiannis from La Pizza di Forno, and Kristen Carbone from Carbone’s Kitchen.
“We know that all the small businesses and the nonprofits have been telling us that they’re having a hard time bringing people back in to work,” DiZoglio said. “The more people get vaccinated, the more I think we’re going to start to see the workforce coming back.” She went on to note the challenges facing local policymakers as many of the current regulations originate at the federal level.
DiZoglio and Healey then meet with local youth in Methuen who have been involved in the creation of a first-ever Methuen Youth and Community Center. The visit closed with Healey visiting the future Youth Center site and hosting a second roundtable discussion at Methuen High School.
Elder Services Awarded Contract to Increase Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine
Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore was one of 25 community-based organizations to receive funding as part of the Massachusetts Vaccine Equity Initiative to increase awareness and access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the 20 cities and towns hardest hit by the pandemic.
The contracts are part of the Baker-Polito administration’s investment of $27.4 million in federal funds announced in March. Under the contract, Elder Services will target the communities of Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell and Methuen.
The identified cities and towns met the Massachusetts COVID-19 Advisory Group recommendation to prioritize communities and then ranked by average daily COVID-19 case rates. From this list by case rate, the top cities, and towns with the highest percentage of people of color were identified.
Fiorentini Promotes Doherty to Haverhill Deputy Police Chief
Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini has appointed veteran Haverhill Police Detective Captain Stephen Doherty Jr. to be the city’s new deputy police chief. Doherty, a 26-year veteran of the Haverhill Police Department, succeeds former deputy Anthony Haugh, who retired in January.
Doherty, vice president of the Haverhill Police Superiors Union since 2008, has served in a supervisory or management capacity for 16 of his approximately 26 years in law enforcement.
Additionally, the city has hired an outside firm to recruit, screen and interview candidates to be Haverhill’s next police chief when Chief Alan DeNaro retires at the end of June, Fiorentini announced.
Fiorentini said the search for DeNaro’s replacement will be a public process open to internal applicants as well as applicants from Massachusetts and other states and would be similar to the process used to hire a superintendent of schools.
Colin Blackwell of North Andover Nominated for Masterton Trophy
On Monday, the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) announced its nominees for the 2020-2021 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
Among the 31 nominees was New York Rangers center Colin Blackwell who grew up in North Andover and was recently profiled in the May/June issue of Merrimack Valley Magazine. According to EmpireSportsMedia.com, the Masterton Trophy “has been awarded since 1968 to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, dedication to hockey.”
Check out our recent interview with Blackwell here.
Andover High Student Wins Congressional Art Competition for Third District
U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan announced Andover High School senior Alicia Wang as the winner of the Third Congressional District’s annual Congressional Art Competition. Wang’s artwork, titled “Targeted,” was selected by a panel of local judges from a pool of submissions from high school students who participated in this year’s competition.
Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. The winning works are displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol. This year’s winner and top ranked artists will be honored in a virtual reception hosted by Trahan.
Merrimack Valley Hospice Teaches Grievers to Navigate Mealtime Solo
For those who are grieving, navigating new rhythms of grocery shopping, preparing meals and dining without a beloved partner can cause added daily distress.
Recognizing the deep connection between food and mourning, Merrimack Valley Hospice has added “Cooking and Eating for One” to its lineup of free, virtual support groups offered via Zoom.
The series of three interactive workshops, which will take place on Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., will teach straightforward, healthy recipes with minimal ingredients: “Favorite Tomato Sauce” on Thursday, June 10; “The Best Gazpacho” on Thursday, July 8; and “Pesto 3 Ways” on Thursday, August 12. Participants are invited to register for one, two or all three sessions.
Women Working Wonders Fund Seeks Request for Proposals
The Women Working Wonders Fund (WWWF), a permanently endowed fund of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, requests proposals for this year’s grant cycle that opens on May 13. The Women Working Wonders Fund announced earlier this year that funding has been increased to award five grants at $10,000 each to program/projects that impact the lives of women and girls while advancing your organization’s mission.
To apply for the 2021 Women Working Wonders Fund grant, visit here. The deadline to submit an application is Thursday, June 17, at noon. For more information, visit here or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, Announces Two New Team Members and Two Promotions
Grant Alois joins as Vice President – Technology Operations
Alois has an extensive background in network and technical services and is a seasoned information technology professional with a track record of strong leadership and results. Grant received his A.S. in Computer Information Systems from New Hampshire Technical Institute and his B.S. in cloud computing from Western Governors University. Grant lives in Concord, N.H., with his fiancee.
Philip Manuel joins as Vice President – Loan Servicing
Manuel joins the JDCU with more than twenty years of experience at financial institutes. His expertise lies in residential, commercial and home equity operating procedures as well as accounting and finance. Manuel holds multiple degrees, certifications and licenses including; MBA, finance, Bentley College; certificate in management information systems from New England Banking Institute, B. Ed in English from University of Kerala, South India; M.A. in English language and literature, University of Calicut, South India; and B.A. in English language and literature, University of Madras, South India. Manuel lives in Billerica with his wife and two daughters.
George Villaras promoted to Vice President – Compliance
Villaras recently celebrated 30 years with JDCU where he has served in multiple areas including mortgage processing, operations, and as CRA cfficer. Villaras currently serves as the chairman of the board with the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce and is actively involved in the community. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from UMass Lowell. He lives in Lowell with his wife and has two daughters.
Meike Doyle promoted to Assistant Treasurer – Financial Risk Management
Doyle joined JDCU in 2007 as a loan servicing representative and title clerk. She attended the University of Florida and UMass Lowell, and receiver her bachelor’s degree in Economics. Doyle is a member of the Walter F. Lewis Community Garden and often volunteers with the Middlesex Conservation District. She lives in Chelmsford and enjoys volunteering in her community.
Covenant Health Welcomes New Chief Medical Information Officer
Ivan Ip, M.D., will spearhead the development and implementation of clinical information systems to assist providers in delivering high-quality patient care. He’ll also readily engage with informatics and clinical teams to support and promote the use of information technology in a clinical setting.
Two Trinity EMS Exemplary Mobile Healthcare Professionals to be Recognized at Massachusetts Ambulance Association Stars of Life Event
Shawn Hunter has been an EMT-B with Trinity EMS since 2016. Quickly moving up the ranks, Hunter became the education manager for Trinity in 2018. Hunter is involved in all facets of the Operations and IT department and leads on many new projects within Trinity, including most recently, Trinity’s efforts in battling the COVID 19 pandemic. Hunter made enormous sacrifices to keep up with the ever-changing regulations in EMS and informing the Trinity team. Hunter followed up with all employees who had potential exposure as well as the contact tracing and leapt into the COVID 19 mobile testing sites and later the COVID 19 vaccination sites. Hunter continually goes above and beyond his day-to-day efforts to help all members of the Trinity team.
Lana Poirier started at Trinity EMS in September of 2019 as an advanced EMT and quickly obtained her paramedic license. Since then, she strives to better herself clinically and operationally whether it’s reviewing protocols with her peers or learning more about the ICS system with the supervisors. Poirier is also a strong employee advocate for Trinity always taking the time to encourage and teach new EMTs and fellow new paramedics, treating her peers as family. Since joining Trinity, Poirier has been a valuable addition to Trinity EMS and is top of the list when recruiting new EMT or paramedics to come join the team.