UMass Lowell to Honor Outstanding Alumni

LOWELL, Mass. – James Costos, a Lowell native who went on to serve as U.S. ambassador to Spain and Andorra, and Norm Bazin, who has turned UMass Lowell’s ice hockey team into a Division I powerhouse, are among eight distinguished UMass Lowell graduates who will receive this year’s University Alumni Awards.

“Through their professional achievements, public service and personal character, Ambassador Costos, Coach Bazin and our other honorees exemplify the very best of UMass Lowell,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney. “They are all wonderful ambassadors for our university, and a powerful inspiration for our students.” 

A ceremony honoring the alumni award recipients will be held Thursday, April 20 at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center. The honorees are selected from graduates of each of UMass Lowell’s six schools and colleges, as well as the university’s athletics program. One recent graduate who is already having a positive impact is also recognized. 

Costos, this year’s College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences honoree, grew up in Lowell, a second-generation Greek-American whose father served as a U.S. Marine. The first in his family to graduate from college, Costos earned a degree in political science in 1985 and went on to a successful career as an international corporate leader in the entertainment and retail industries, most notably with HBO and Tod’s. In 2013, President Barack Obama appointed him ambassador to Spain and Andorra, a position Costos held until earlier this year. 

Bazin is one of the most-decorated coaches in the history of UMass Lowell’s hockey program. Now in his sixth season as head coach, Bazin has led the River Hawks to four consecutive appearances in the Hockey East championship game and two tournament and regular-season championships, as well as four NCAA Division I tournament bids and the program’s first-ever Frozen Four appearance. In 2013, he was honored with the NCAA Division I Spencer Penrose National Coach of the Year Award. As a UMass Lowell student, the Manitoba native played for the River Hawks from 1990 to 1994. A dean’s list student, Bazin received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 1994 and a master’s degree in education administration in 1999. He is being recognized as this year’s School of Education honoree.

The other 2017 University Alumni Award honorees are Lorna Boucher ’86 of New York, chief marketing officer of Instinet (Manning School of Business); Robert Bushong ’67 of Bluffton, S.C., founder of Bushong Industrials Inc. (Athletics); William C. Geary III ’80 of Andover, an attorney with Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. (Francis College of Engineering); Emmanuel Lamour ’05, ’16 of Canton, a program manager with Raytheon (Young Alumnus); Russell LeClaire ’67, ’74 of Plano, Texas, retired vice president of development, CA Technologies (Kennedy College of Sciences); and Jerry St. Peter ’89 of Fort Worth, Texas, vice president and head of ophthalmic business with Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc. (College of Health Sciences).

“We look forward to celebrating these outstanding alumni who have used the education they received at UMass Lowell to make a lasting impact in their professions, for their communities and at the university,” said Executive Director of Alumni and Donor Relations Heather Makrez ’06, ’08.

For more information on this year’s event, including how to purchase tickets, visit

Middlesex Student Receives Hurst Review NCLEX Scholarship

Middlesex Community College Nursing student Diane Vazquez-Baez, of Lowell, has recently been named a Hurst Review NCLEX Scholar. This scholarship is designed to assist nursing students who are also members of Phi Theta Kappa – the national honor society for two-year colleges – prepare for and take the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) nursing exam.

Vazquez-Baez was one of 10 students selected from 470 applicants to receive this scholarship. She will receive free access to the Hurst Review study materials for the exam (a $300 value), as well as a $250 scholarship award to pay for the NCLEX exam fees.

“I am very grateful to have received this award,” said Vazquez-Baez. “I made a commitment to become a nurse because I know it’s the best choice for myself and my family. My time at Middlesex has been life changing – I have never felt out of place, even as an adult learner. The teachers here have pushed me to become the best student, and the best nurse, I can be.”

After graduating in May, Vazquez-Baez plans to continue her education at a four-year institution for a career as a critical care nurse.

MCC’s Nursing Program is designed to prepare students to take the NCLEX-RN. The program provides a sound background in field-related science, technical skills, and general education with learning experiences in the classroom, nursing laboratory and clinical practicums.

For more information about MCC’s Nursing Program, visit or call 1-800-818-3434.

Local Teens Coordinate First LHS Environmental Youth Conference

Lowell, MA – Students from Lowell High School will present the first Environmental Youth Conference, hosted this Saturday, March 11, 2017 at Lowell High School’s Freshman Academy.  The students are part of an after-school program run in in partnership with Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust and Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary.  The program, called TREES (Teens Representing Environmental Excellency and Stewardship), includes an ambitious group of young people who wanted to find out what other high school environmental clubs in the Merrimack River Watershed and the SuAsCo (Sudbury, Assabet and Concord rivers) Watershed have been doing to protect our shared environment.  “We felt that a conference would be the best setting, giving students an opportunity to meet, share their work, and learn more about our watershed,” said Sarah Silva, a Lowell High senior.  And so, the Lowell High School Environmental Youth Conference was born.

The conference focuses on sharing student projects, but will also include four rotating workshops covering topics including water quality, watershed pollution, urban outdoor spaces, and environmentally-related careers.  Another student group from the Compass program, WILD, run by LHS teacher Donna Newcomb, will be leading the workshop on urban outdoor spaces, and professionals from the area are generously donating their time to speak on the environmental career panel.  Groups that will be in attendance include: Concord Carlisle High School Environmental Field Studies Club, Groundworks Lawrence Green Team, Maynard High School Green Committee, LHS Compass Environmental Adventures, and Girls Go Green from YWCA Lowell.

TREES was founded by a group of students who participated in the LHS Compass program, a 21st-Century after-school program for freshman. Hoping to continue environmental service projects after their freshman year, the group continued to meet weekly after-school. Since their founding, these teens have started a recycling program at the Freshman Academy, raised threatened Blandings turtles, designed a project to promote Lowell’s parks, and volunteered monthly at a food pantry. 

This conference is partially funded by the SuAsCo Wild and Scenic Rivers Community Grant Program.

The Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust (LP&CT) is a private, non-profit land trust located in Lowell, Massachusetts that was founded in 1990.  LP&CT provides conservation leadership and programs which focus on four major areas: land protection, stewardship, environmental education, and special places.  LP&CT has a dedicated board of directors, a small staff, and over 300 volunteers who assist us in meeting our mission and stewarding our properties.  Annually, we offer over 40 programs to people of all ages, including after-school programming for urban youth, natural history programs, historic preservation initiatives, park stewardship, and tree-planting projects.  Check out our calendar of events for upcoming programs!

Middlesex Community College Opens Asian-American Student Center

Middlesex Community College celebrated the opening of its new Asian American Connections Center on the Lowell campus.

MCC President James C. Mabry cut the ribbon to open the center, along with special guests State Senator Eileen Donahue, State Rep. Rady Mom, Bopha Malone, Vice President, Regional Business Advisor, for Enterprise Bank, and member of the MCC Board of Trustees, Virak Uy, Director of MCC’s Asian American Student Advancement Program, and other members of the MCC community.

MCC’s Asian American Connections Center is made possible by a recent five-year, $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) program.

Under the grant, Asian-American students attending Middlesex will receive a range of support services and co-curricular activities designed to improve their college-going experience, as well as their completion and transfer outcomes.

In addition to the Asian American Connections Center, the college will create a peer-support program, titled The Asian American Student Advancement Program, to increase a sense of connection and belonging to the college.

The program will also include personalized support to better navigate college processes; interventions focused on continued support for writing skills to aid ELL students as they transition to college; and the development of academic curriculum related to the cultural heritage of Asian-American students.

More than 11 percent of MCC credit students are Asian American, primarily Southeast Asian. Among that cohort, 70 percent apply for financial aid, and the majority are also from families in which they are the first to attend college.

Call For Entries

The Brush Art Gallery & Studios and Hellenic Culture and Heritage Society

Seek entries for “Contemporary Visions of Greece’s Golden Age”

The winner of Best in Show will receive a $1000 cash prize.

Art work accepted will be inspired by artistic ideals and achievements of the classical (500-323 BC) and Hellenistic (323-146 BC) periods in Greek history as an imaginative springboard for a contemporary twist on Greek sculpture, low and high relief, painting, pottery, frescoes, mosaics, and architecture. Consider the definition of beauty in human terms, with an emphasis on harmony, balance, order and moderation, vitality of life, clarity, and depictions of everyday life as well as mythology.

All entries must be submitted online in jpeg format (300 dpi, no more than 6 inches in either direction). Please provide files of the highest available resolution and quality. Follow this link for entry form:

For More Information on the Exhibit:


Middlesex Nursing Program Ranked Among Best in Massachusetts

Middlesex Community College’s Nursing Program has been ranked 14th out of 42 nursing schools in Massachusetts by, an online guide to education, careers and jobs, created by registered nurses.

“We are very proud of our Nursing Program at Middlesex and our ability to contribute to a diverse nursing workforce,” said Katherine Gehly, Dean of Nursing and Allied Health. “A combination of a strong curriculum, dedicated faculty, and collaborative partnerships with our clinical affiliations provides a quality educational experience that prepares our students to not only pass the licensure examination, but also to be successful when employed as a Registered Nurse.”

MCC’s Nursing Program is designed to prepare nurses at the associate degree level and provide eligibility to take the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses. The curriculum provides a sound background in field-related science, technical skills and general education, with learning experiences in the classroom, nursing laboratory, and clinical settings.

Offered during the days, as well as evenings and weekends, the program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. and approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing.

To learn more about MCC’s Nursing Program, visit or call 1-800-818-3434.

SpaceX to Launch Device Built at UMass Lowell to Study Earth’s Atmosphere

A SpaceX rocket carrying technology built at UMass Lowell is expected to blast off on Saturday, Feb. 18 for the International Space Station (ISS), where the device will take pictures of the Earth’s atmosphere for future study.

Called the Limb-Imaging Ionospheric and Thermospheric Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrograph (LITES), the device is designed to take images of different wavelengths of ultraviolet light and make visible the atoms and molecules in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, what scientists know as the “ionosphere.” By studying these images, scientists hope to learn how the ionosphere’s irregularities affect radio signals, as a way to improve how satellites and GPS navigational tools function.

Leading the project is UMass Lowell Physics Prof. Supriya Chakrabarti, who directs the university’s Lowell Center for Space, Science and Technology (LOCSST) and is the Kennedy College of Sciences associate dean of graduate studies and research. LITES was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The device will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Fla., and remain mounted to the ISS for the next one to two years.

M2D2 kicks off sixth annual $100K Challenge

LOWELL, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) is kicking off its sixth annual M2D2 $100K Challenge, a nationwide competition that showcases the innovative ideas of early-stage medical device, diagnostic and biotech companies.

“Our goal is to help startups gain valuable services needed during the tenuous beginning stages of product development,” said Stephen McCarthy, UMass Lowell professor and director of M2D2. “Access to premium labs and other resources, along with experts and mentors can make the difference between failure and success. We hope emerging companies from across the country will enter the M2D2 $100K Challenge.” 

M2D2 assists entrepreneurs in the medical-device and biotech sector with all aspects of the process of moving new products from concept to commercialization. It is a joint venture of UMass Worcester, which provides medical expertise and assistance with clinical trials, and UMass Lowell, which offers expertise in business and engineering, and is home to M2D2’s innovation incubator for emerging companies. 

Since it was founded in 2007, M2D2 has worked with more than 100 client companies, which in turn have secured more than $40 million in external funding for their ventures.

Sponsors of this year’s M2D2 Challenge have donated a total of $100,000 in services for the winning companies. The sponsors are Boston Scientific, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, MPR Product Development, Mintz Levin, Omni Components and R&Q (Regulatory & Quality Solutions). Companies selected through the competition will receive use of facilities including lab and meeting space, as well as engineering, product development, legal, regulatory, clinical and business services.

“Participating in the $100K Challenge and partnering with M2D2 provides Boston Scientific with access to new solutions in health care,” said Mark Boden, Boston Scientific’s vice president of research and development. “We get a look at the cutting-edge technologies emerging companies are working on and we are able to provide them with Boston Scientific’s world-class expertise.”

“The prize awarded to us through the M2D2 competition has increased the profile of our project nationally and has allowed us to meet milestones more quickly. Also, it was a great personal achievement for our small team, which has worked on this project relentlessly,” said Renee Carder of PixelExx, a past participant in the M2D2 Challenge.

The competition’s finalists will present before a panel of expert judges at UMass Lowell on Wednesday, March 22.

Companies interested in competing in the M2D2 $100K Challenge 2017 should submit an application by Monday, Feb. 13. Finalists will be announced Friday, March 3 and winners on Wednesday, April 5. Full details on the competition are available at

MCC Awarded Grant to Help Refugees Earn Health Credentials

Middlesex Community College has been awarded a one-year, $79,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Bridges to College Program to support the college’s new Health Career Credentialing for Adult Refugees (HCCAR) program.

HCCAR is designed to help the employment outlook for Lowell’s significant adult refugee population, explained Denise Garrow-Pruitt, Assistant Dean of Allied Health.

“Many adult learners entering the country have previous experience in the health care field, but do not have credentials recognized by the U.S. government,” said Garrow-Pruitt.

“This new initiative will enable low-income refugees to receive certification through our Academy of Health Professions (AHP), which offers short-term training and college-credit courses that prepare students for entry-level health care jobs,” she explained. “This training can enhance the adult-refugee students’ employability at higher wages in local hospitals, offices, nursing homes or clinics.”

HCCAR will provide intensive student supports to 30 adult learners of diverse ethnicities, and give them access to academic coaching and a bilingual advisor. Students can enroll in one of three AHP programs: Nursing Assistant, Phlebotomist, and Medical Office Assistant.

Student refugees completing the AHP programs will be able to register and take national certification exams in their fields, added Garrow-Pruitt. Certifications are also stackable and can be applied toward associate degrees at MCC, and enable students to transfer in pursuit of bachelor’s degrees.

For further information about MCC’s Health Career Credentialing for Adult Refugees program, contact Denise Garrow-Pruitt, Assistant Dean of Allied Health, at or 978-322-8407.

Lowell National Historical Park receives Active Trails Grant

Lowell, MA – Lowell National Historical Park in partnership with Lowell Community Health Center, Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association, City of Lowell Senior Center, Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School, and YWCA of Lowell has been selected to receive a 2017 Active Trails grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. The partnership will continuously engage over 250 youth, adults, and elders in trail-related activities throughout the city, such as hiking, birding, photography, canal cleanups, learning about botany and ecology, and engaging in de-stressing activities such as yoga, meditation, and more.

Lowell National Historical Park’s canalway trails weave through Lowell’s industrial urban core to the mighty Merrimack River and connect the city’s most densely populated and socio-economically diverse communities to the park. While a majority of neighborhood residents live less than a mile from the canalway trails, only a fraction are frequent users. The Discover Lowell’s Urban Trails initiative will offer new outdoor recreational programming to Lowell’s canalway trails and will be targeted toward non-users in adjacent neighborhoods.

Celeste Bernardo, superintendent of Lowell National Historical Park offered her thoughts on the project, “Lowell’s canal system is a national treasure to be enjoyed by all. We look forward to working with our partners to provide programming and activities to introduce our community to this unique resource.” Ruth Ogembo, Teen BLOCK Manager, Lowell Community Health Center added, “We are thrilled to serve as a partner on the Active Trails Grant with Lowell National Historical Park. The Discover Lowell’s Urban Trails initiative will provide additional opportunities for our youth to explore their great city!”

Activities developed for and targeted to the Discover Lowell’s Urban Trails partners will encourage park neighbors to discover and explore its canalway trails in a variety of new ways. Activities will be developed with partners to meet shared program goals and interest. Products developed by participants and partners, such as exhibits, blogs, printed media, and events will be offered to all park visitors.

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