UMass Boston holds Beacon Student Success Fellowship Symposium

Adrienne Harris-Fried presenting at the 2021 Beacon Student Success Fellowship Symposium.

Posters lined the first floor terrace of Campus Center briefly on a bright Wednesday, Nov. 10. The posters were summaries of research that were completed by students who were a part of the Beacon Student Success Fellowship. The Beacon Student Success Fellowship is a funding opportunity for undergraduate students who engaged in underfunded or unpaid internships, volunteer experiences, study-abroad programs and faculty-led research projects. 

This year was the eighth year for the BSSF symposium, with 43 students receiving the BSSF. Projects from students ranged across different majors and departments, from the College of Liberal Arts to Nursing.

The symposium started at 11 a.m. and concluded at 2 p.m., and included speeches from the Vice Provost of Academic Support Services and Undergraduate Studies, Liya Escalera, and Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco. 

Many of the students who received the scholarship were seen giving presentations to other students and faculty about their research projects. 

One of these students was Farrin Khan, a senior majoring in Political Science. Her project was on Delayed Prenatal Care of Pregnant Women by Socioeconomic Status. Khan worked over the summer of 2021 in community-based research and focused on the disparities in women’s healthcare. She focused her work on prenatal care that women received, and whether or not socioeconomic status and race played a role in that care.

Khan first heard about the BSSF through a friend who received it the previous year and learned more about it through the Honors College. According to Khan, the scholarship “really helped me because it allowed me to buy my textbooks, it allowed me to buy a lot of research things. And research programs, like the actual data software, is actually really expensive, so it allowed me to have that as well. It gave me the security I needed to focus on this research.” 

Adrienne Harris-Fried, a senior and Political Science and Sociology major, gave a speech about her experience with the fellowship and how she got started. 

Harris-Fried worked as a campaign manager in the summer of 2021 to elect Abigail Dickson to the Medford City Council after having been an intern in the spring of that year. She first heard of the BSSF through an email that was sent out by the Political Science Department. The fellowship allowed for her to be able to continue working on the campaign without having to worry about the costs, since the position as campaign manager was a volunteer position. 

“The fellowship paid for my hours, transportation, accommodations, everything. I was able to spend my summer working in a position related to my major and intended career path,” stated Harris-Fried. 

“The Beacon Student Success Fellowship made this possible for me by allowing me to pursue my interests without worrying about the financial responsibilities of it all,” stated Harris-Fried as she ended her speech. “This isn’t something to take for granted. We live in an expensive world where the price of college and getting an education is rising all the time, and all the while internships or minimum wage entry level jobs are the new norm for college students who can barely afford to build up experience in their chosen field. The BSSF is, in my opinion, an incredible opportunity that all students should look into. Spend your summers studying abroad or researching a project you're interested in or volunteering for a local city council campaign and let this fellowship pay for it; you will gain tremendous experience and learn a lot about yourself while doing it.”

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