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WPI announces speakers for dual commencements May 12, 14
Worcester Polytechnic Institute announced that for the first time in its 151-year history, the university will host two commencement exercises this May. To celebrate undergraduate and graduate students, WPI has invited two trailblazers in their respective fields to speak to the class of 2016.
Reshma Saujani, founder and president of Girls Who Code, will deliver the undergraduate commencement address on Saturday, May 14. Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit that aims to support and increase the number of women in computer science, has grown from 20 members in 2012 to 40,000 in 2016 under Saujani’s leadership. Saujani will also receive an honorary doctor of science degree.France A. Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), will deliver the graduate commencement address on Thursday, May 12. As NSF director, Córdova oversees the only government science agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. WPI will also bestow upon Córdova an honorary doctor of science degree.
People’s United awards $32,500 to six Worcester nonprofits
The Nativity School of Worcester is one of six local nonprofits recently awarded money by the People’s United Community Foundation.
The Nativity School received $10,000. The foundation gave $5,000 each to the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester, the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts, Rainbow Child Development Center and Worcester Interfaith. Jeremiah’s Inn received $2,500.
One hundred thirty organizations received funding in support of activities that ranged from basic needs services and affordable housing initiatives, to education, workforce development, and life skills training programs. The funding was distributed within the foundation’s three areas of focus: community development, youth development and affordable housing initiatives.
Clark awards $5K to students with big ideas
From solar power to soccer, the winners of this year’s Clark University Ureka Big Idea Challenge are set to energize the world, quite literally, with their entrepreneurial ideas. The students — who range from a first-year to a graduate student — had five minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of accomplished alumni judges at the program’s annual Pitch Night, held recently in the Higgins Lounge in Dana Commons.
Krissy Truesdale (’19) took the top $2,500 prize for her nonprofit Solar for Our Superheroes, which thanks local leaders, like veterans, teachers, firefighters and police officers, for their service with solar panels for their homes. Her goal is to help people save money each month while showing the positive potential uses for renewable energy in Massachusetts.
Lelani Williams, a graduate student pursuing a dual M.B.A./M.A. in Community Development and Planning, won $1,250 for Sun Top Solar Cookers, a woman-managed solar cooker production business in rural Haiti.
Mohamed Elmaola (’18) also won $1,250 for his organization, the Worcester Soccer House, which works with schools and nonprofits in the city to offer free soccer activities to children ages 3 through 13 who otherwise couldn’t afford to play. Elmaola, a 2014 graduate of St. Peter-Marian High School, founded the grassroots organization with another Worcester student — Dimitri Savidis, who attends the College of the Holy Cross — to empower young people through athletic development and character building while highlighting Worcester’s diversity.
Local insurance producer recognized among the best
A Worcester insurance producer has been included in a list of the top producers across the country.
Laura Strohecker of Insurance Marketing Agencies has been named as one of Insurance Business America (IBA) magazine’s Top Producers for 2016. This list shines the spotlight on 111 leading performers in the U.S. insurance industry.
IBA received a high number of nominations. To be eligible for inclusion, nominees had to meet certain criteria including a book of business exceeding $750,000 in 2015.