When Christian Thaxton graduates from UMass Boston’s College of Management in December, he’ll graduate debt-free and prepared to pursue his dream of becoming a business analyst, focusing on information systems.
Christian Thaxton and Dawn DeRossette are the first two recipients of a Next Century Scholarship from Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), the largest employer association in the state.
“Workforce and education is an important issue for the members in AIM,” said Richard Lord, president and CEO of AIM. “UMass Boston serves a population of young people who have financial need. We thought we could make the biggest difference by providing a scholarship here.”
The scholarship covers 50-75 percent of a student's cost of attendance, and is designed to supplement other funds that students receive. This model ensures that talented students have the opportunity to pursue their academic and career goals unhindered. The remaining funds are put toward an endowment that will sustain the scholarship fund. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be juniors or seniors in the College of Management with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
DeRossette is a double major in management and anthropology from La Crosse, WI. She is a 9-year veteran of the U.S. Army, and her experiences in the military inspired her to pursue a career in organizational change. After graduating in 2019, she hopes to work on organizational solutions for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and improve its services to fellow veterans.
“I don’t want to be a boss, I want to be a leader,” DeRossette said. “So many of our classes focus on ethics, integrity, sustainability, and true leadership. I’m definitely being set up for success.”
Thaxton, who is legally blind, says that he finds UMass Boston’s culture of diversity and inclusion to be very empowering. Thanks to the AIM scholarship, he has been able to take bigger risks in the jobs and internships he takes on, which he sees as vital to his career in business.
“I enjoy testing the limits of systems and boundaries and seeing how things can be improved,” Thaxton said.
DeRossette has been able focus on her education and professional development without worrying about her family’s financial stability thanks to the AIM scholarship.
“What an impressive organization. They do so much for the state and for the community, and now to help out college students like us is just phenomenal,” she said.