Meet the Staff
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Director of Programs
Kunthary Thai-Johnson brings significant experience from her 13 years in pre-collegiate programs at UMass Boston, including over two years at Upward Bound, to her new role as director. Previous to coming back to UMass Boston, she was The Students Support Services Coordinator at one of the program's partner high schools, Dorchester Academy, where she has developed key relationships with administrators, guidance counselors, and teachers. A Dorchester resident, she also has strong ties to the community and relationships with community organizations. An alumna of the Urban Scholars program (an educational opportunity project at UMass Boston similar to Upward Bound) and a graduate of one of the program’s target schools, Kunthary understands firsthand the needs and challenges of the Upward Bound student population. She is bilingual (English-Khmer, Cambodian language) and has strong cross-cultural experience and competence. She has spoken on many occasions in undergraduate and graduate Asian American Studies courses as well as in high school classes. Kunthary holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Simmons College as well as a master’s degree in education from UMass Boston.
Rachel began working for the Upward Bound program during the summer of 2009 as a summer residential staff. Upon receiving her BA in Anthropology from Davidson College in Davidson, NC she began working for the program as the Assistant Director. Rachel is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics from UMass Boston. In her role as Assistant Director, Rachel is interested in creating curriculum that is culturally and critically diverse. In her spare time she enjoys running, hiking and cooking. Additionally she loves traveling and has visited places like Romania and Mexico.
Having served as an interim student recruiter for the past six months, Frantzy Suffrard is already a familiar face at our target high schools, where he has been developing relationships with teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators. He is a former participant and graduate of the UMass Boston Upward Bound Program, so he understands firsthand the mission of the program and the commitment it requires from participants. Frantzy has an excellent rapport with our program participants and serves as a much-needed mentor for many of them. As a first-generation college graduate, he has a clear understanding of the challenges that many students encounter with the college-application process. Frantzy received his BA in Psychology at Saint Michael’s College in Vt. In his spare time, Frantzy enjoys basketball, music, and playing the piano.
Eileen Dranetz joined the Upward Bound Program as Administrative Assistant in August, 2006. She has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Gwynedd-Mercy University. Eileen has dedicated her life to public service working for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for 24 years both at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the Department of Environmental Protection. Eileen enjoys photography, computers, social media and Star Trek in her spare time.