When Fiona Bruce-Baiden ’21, nonetheless sporting her commencement robe, walked right into a restaurant to have fun together with her household shortly after Commencement, different prospects joined within the applause and cheers.

Little did they understand how a lot she had completed past incomes a level.

For her selfless and considerate management in pupil organizations and her advocacy for college students of coloration, Bruce-Baiden was acknowledged by the Massachusetts Division of Increased Training as considered one of “29 Who Shine,” an award given yearly to 1 pupil from every of the state’s 29 public faculties and universities. Bruce-Baiden was nominated by Amy Liss, senior affiliate director of Multicultural Affairs, and backed by college leaders.

“I used to be actually stunned and honored to get the award,” Bruce-Baiden says. “It’s good to know that individuals see that potential in you and consider in you.”

A primary-generation faculty pupil whose dad and mom immigrated from Ghana, Bruce-Baiden majored in political science and minored in graphic design after finding out graphic communications at Blue Hills Regional Technical Faculty in Canton, Massachusetts. She got here to UMass Lowell as a result of it had sturdy applications in each disciplines. 
As soon as on campus, she obtained a work-study job on the Lowell TeleMedia Heart, the place she helped with graphics and promotion. Throughout her junior and senior years, she labored within the college’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, the place she served as a peer liaison to pupil organizations after present process coaching as a diversity peer educator.
She additionally served on the chief board of the Association of Students of African Origin all 4 years and as president her final two years. She says the membership, which incorporates college students with ties to Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Burundi, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Haiti and different international locations, turned a house on campus for her.

“I’m Ghanaian, and having the chance to specific that tradition at college, I by no means had that earlier than,” says Bruce-Baiden, who grew up in Randolph, Massachusetts. “It was extraordinarily impactful for me to fulfill so many individuals with comparable backgrounds and cultures and tales and to be a part of a group. I used to be simply actually devoted to the group and I felt so linked with the entire college students.”

“I needed to get the Black-identified teams to hitch collectively and have a city corridor, Uniting Our Voices, to see how college students have been feeling and the way we might assist,” she says. “And from there, we simply saved going.”

Fiona Bruce-Baiden with two other students in Multicultural AffairsPicture by Courtesy

Bruce-Baiden with two mates from Multicultural Affairs: Rabia Haider, left, and Deepshi Ananthaswamy, middle

BLAC developed a strategic plan and arrange 4 activity forces to work on bringing extra range to the curriculum and school hiring, amongst different points. Its leaders meet usually with Brenda Evans, dean of Pupil Affairs and Occasion Companies, and Leslie Wong, director of Multicultural Affairs, and so they additionally serve on the college’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force.

Serving to to ascertain BLAC was the end result of Bruce-Baiden’s development on the college. She got here to UMass Lowell intent on changing into a lawyer. However as a lot of her classmates started to check for the Legislation Faculty Admission Check and pursue a focus in authorized research, she hesitated.

“I felt like I couldn’t decide to it absolutely, and I needed to cease and mirror and take into consideration why. I spotted I used to be curious about how communities will be improved by means of public coverage and group engagement,” she says. “And the extra time I spent on campus as a pupil chief and listening to college students and tales about their lives, I believed possibly this may be a route I might go.”

She switched her focus to American politics. Then, desirous to be taught extra about coverage and the legislative course of, she utilized for and obtained an internship within the workplace of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. She spent fall 2020, through the COVID-19 pandemic, doing analysis on nonprofits and responding to constituents attempting to entry enterprise, housing, unemployment and immigration help.

“It was a really attempting time to work in that workplace,” she says. “However I undoubtedly discovered lots about how the totally different roles and obligations throughout the workplace come collectively.”

Already a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a nationwide management honor society, Bruce-Baiden capped her senior 12 months by being inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha, a political science honor society. Now, she’s making use of for summer season internships and full-time jobs whereas researching graduate applications in public coverage. She plans to work as a coverage analyst. 

At UMass Lowell, she says, she gained the talents and confidence to be a considerate chief, due to Liss and different mentors in Multicultural Affairs. She’s additionally grateful to a lot of her political science professors, who suggested her as her pursuits modified and she or he started to contemplate graduate faculty.

“It helps lots to discover a mentor,” she says. “Amy is fantastic. I feel a number of alternatives opened up for me after getting to fulfill her. I’m actually so appreciative and grateful for every thing she’s achieved for me, and for my political science professors for serving to me perceive what I might do subsequent.”

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