Chancellor Newman Unveils Professional Apprenticeship and Career Enhancement Program at Convocation

Crystal Valencia | Sat Oct 5, 2019

Officially launching the new academic year with her convocation address, Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman unveiled an ambitious new program on Wednesday aimed at helping undergraduate students gain professional experience before graduation.

The PACE: Professional Apprenticeship and Career Enhancement program will include on-campus apprenticeships for first and second year students, pairing students with staff volunteers who will enable them to gain supervised work experience in fields like IT, finance, communications, and health services.

Students will also have the chance to participate in “industry clusters,” placing them in the same room with Boston’s top business executives for a half-day of networking, leading to jobs, internships, and mentoring opportunities.

Newman called this innovative model “a public education competitor” to private universities’ co-op programs.

“The time has come for a major public university to develop its own form of professional, experiential education as a complement to what our students learn in the classroom,” Newman said. “If we can do this on campus and help our working students gain professional experience in ways that lessen the burdens of commuting, we will all be so much the better.”

Watch UMass Boston’s 2019 Convocation.

Newman talked about improving the student experience by continuing to create more beautiful spaces on campus.

“By December of 2021, this beautiful landscape, with its picnic grove and basketball court, open lawns and intimate groves of trees will look out to the water toward our neighbors at the Kennedy Library and the Edward M Kennedy Institute,” she said, pointing to the Substructure, Science Center, and Pool Building Demolition and Quadrangle Development project.

Newman updated the campus community on the restoration of the Calf Pasture Pump House, saying the UMass Board of Trustees has authorized the Building Authority to solicit proposals for the project. She envisions a pub and restaurant, additional housing, and an environmentally responsible landscape in that space. UMass Boston is also collaborating with its neighboring institutions on the point to see Fallon Pier, just behind the JFK Library, become a regular stop on the harbor ferry system linking downtown Boston to Quincy.

Chancellor Newman poses with students Urwah Kanwal and Joseph Farah.

She honored two students at convocation — Urwah Kanwal and Joseph Farah. Kanwal, a biology major and student in the Honors College, is this year’s winner of the John W. Ryan Award, an honor bestowed annually on the junior with the highest grade point average at the university.  Farah is a member of the Harvard astrophysics team that won the 2019 “Breakthrough Prize” in Physics, sometimes referred to as “the second Nobel,” for their work photographing the very first image of a black hole.

Earlier in the program, the university welcomed 20 new tenure-track faculty members recruited to campus this year through national searches. Another 58 faculty members were recognized for being promoted to the rank of associate professor, full professor, senior lecturer, and senior lecturer II.

In her second convocation at UMass Boston, Newman also started a tradition of recognizing a special member of the alumni community, introducing the campus community to people who have made a significant contribution to the improvement of the university after they graduated.  

Talita Guerrero ‘15 graduated from the College of Managements, and only a few short years later, founded her own company, Right Key Mortgage, a lender who provides loans to homeowners in several states. While a student, Guerrero was a recipient of the Charles J. Hoff Leadership Scholarship. After graduating, she returned the favor to the university by endowing a scholarship for students who are just like her — The Talita Guerrero You CAN Scholarship program. Read about Guerrero’s speech at convocation.

Talita Guerrero speaks at convocation.

“The most important part that I took from UMass Boston is believing that I can do it. The faculty here make you believe that you can do it. The act of discipline, perseverance… all of those tools, I took it from here and put it out in the world,” Guerrero said. “I never, ever thought I could live this life. It’s beyond my wildest dreams.”

Also speaking at the convocation was Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who shared his personal story and offered advice for students.

“Stay focused. Stay mission driven. Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” he said.

Mayor Marty Walsh speaks at convocation.

“Follow your dreams, because trust me, I followed my dream. I love what I do every single day,” he said. “I grew up across the street, I grew up in Dorchester. I went to night school at Boston College. My parents are from another country. And I’m the mayor of the City of Boston.”

About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city’s history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 10 colleges and graduate schools serve 16,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit