Graduate Student Success Stories
Pei-Hsuan Lu, MS Degree in Family Therapy in 2012
A native of Taiwan, Pei-Hsuan is the 2012 recipient of the Book Award for Outstanding Achievement in Family Therapy, thanks to her outstanding academic achievement, leadership, and distinguished work with families living in urban communities. Viewed by her graduate program faculty as an emerging leader in the field of family therapy, she is currently seeking election as a representative for the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
Pei-Hsuan is committed to broadening the field of family therapy to include communities outside of the United States. She has proven her commitment to the profession through her academic record, commitment to social justice, and involvement at the department and university levels. She has co-led the Counseling and School Psychology Mentoring Program, been involved in campus activities connected to the Multicultural Show, Global Leadership Club, and the Red Cross, and distinguished herself as a family therapist through her internship at Safe at Home, an agency which focuses on families in urban communities. At her internship site, Pei-Hsuan integrated her theoretical knowledge of family systems, understanding of social justice issues, and applied knowledge of self of the therapist to support families in need.
Jillian Furman, MA Degree in Conflict Resolution in 2012
Jillian is the 2012 recipient of the Convocation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Conflict Resolution. She brings both intellectual curiosity and analytical thinking to her study of conflict resolution. Jillian has taken the initiative to extend her learning beyond the classroom, working as an intern in the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration and as a research assistant for Communities for Restorative Justice, a community-police partnership that offers restorative justice to those affected by crime. She is currently making a major contribution to the field by conducting a cost/benefit analysis of restorative justice programs.
Jillian has also been actively engaged in working with and supporting her fellow students. As president of the Conflict Resolution Student Council, she has planned social events to build a sense of community; organized a forum where second-year students who are completing the Conflict Resolution program can share insights and tips with first-year students embarking on their capstone and thesis projects, and convened a student-planning committee for the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance’s biennial Conflict Studies Conference as a means to encourage student participation.
Stephanie Carmen Schmidt, MS in Human Services in 2012
Stephanie is the 2012 recipient of the Award for Outstanding Human Achievement in Human Services. She is honored for her commitment to academic excellence and her dedication to the field of human services. Stephanie graduated with a BA in Art Education (K-12) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Since 1997, she has worked for Gateway Arts/Vinfen Corporation, starting out as the pottery studio supervisor. She has successfully taken on greater responsibilities for Gateway, a world-renowned arts center, serving as a program specialist/clinical coordinator, assistant program director, and was recently promoted to program director. In her new role, Stephanie works to assure that Gateway clients with disabilities receive individualized services, supervises staff and student interns, and, thanks to her expertise American Sign Language, coordinates interpretation services for the deaf at Gateway.
Marla Tipping, PhD Degree in Biology in 2012
Currently a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School, Marla is the 2012 recipient of the Bettina Hall Harrison Teaching Award. She was an exemplary teacher for the UMass Boston Department of Biology, and routinely received the best student evaluations during her five semesters as a teaching assistant.
In addition to her outstanding success as a teaching assistant, Marla took part in other departmental teaching. She led three facilitated study groups for cell biology designed to equip students with study skills and provide assistance with the course. Marla also co-taught the Biotechniques Workshop for summer research students in the UMass Boston Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program sponsored by the National Science Foundation as well as the Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity in the Biomedical Sciences Program sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Her work in these programs gave students a boost in lab skills before entering a research lab.
As a PhD student in Assistant Professor Alexey Veraksa’s lab, Marla focused on understanding how signaling pathways function in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. She studied proteins that serve as molecular hubs for integrating and routing signals that cells receive from their neighbors. Her research resulted in a discovery of new mechanisms of signaling that involve pathways important for human development and disease. In the Veraksa lab, Marla served as a research mentor for four UMass Boston students.