Profiles of Change
Change the Conversation
Change of Plans
Change Your Mind
Change the Story
Change Lives
Change the Conversation

Keith Darrow, Ph.D., CCC-A

Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Maryanna Owoc ’14 wanted to be a medical doctor. That is, until she started doing research with Professor Keith Darrow in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at his lab at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

“We’re working on next-generation implant technology for the hearing impaired that uses light instead of electronic stimulation,” Darrow explains.

Thanks to research grants funded by the Worcester State Foundation, Maryanna and another student were able to work alongside Darrow. “Research is a game changer,” he notes. “Students can take what they learn in class and see it in real time in the laboratory. Then, they can see how that research changes patient care.”

This research also changed Maryanna’s life. “She’s been accepted at the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University,” Darrow says. “Research is her passion.”

Change of Plans

Deb Dias ’14

English Teacher, South High Community School, Worcester, Mass.

Deb Dias ’14 began college as a vocal performance major at a school in Boston, but after a semester, decided it wasn’t for her. She came to Worcester State, changed her major to English and secondary education, and never looked back.

Today, she teaches high school English. “I would never be able to do this without Worcester State,” she says. Dias’ family emigrated from Brazil in 1999; she’s the first in her family to graduate from college.

“My life was changed at Worcester State,” she explains. “I was empowered through the support of professors who believed in me and through scholarships. I think all students should be able to have this experience.”

Change Your Mind

Jacob Macomber ’14

Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps

Jacob Macomber ’14 never thought college was in the cards. “I was a poor student in high school,” he explains. “I earned a GED and enlisted in the Marines.”

There, he progressed quickly through the ranks, realizing “I was capable of more than I thought,” he reflects. To become an officer, however, he knew he’d need a college degree.

Macomber was accepted to the ultra-competitive Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Educational Program, which creates a pathway to college.

“I was able to come to Worcester State thanks to a series of grants and scholarships,” he says. “It felt good to know people thought I could do it.” And do it, he did. At graduation, Macomber was honored as the transfer student with the highest GPA. “My life was changed at Worcester State,” he explains. “I was empowered through the support of professors who believed in me and through scholarships. I think all students should be able to have this experience.”

Change the Story

Larry Anthony Lopez ’05

Director of Scheduling, Office of U.S. Senator Maize Hirono, Washington, D.C.

Worcester State sparked a light-bulb moment for Larry Anthony Lopez ’05 that led him to a career on Capitol Hill. As WSU student body president, Lopez had the opportunity to go to the Massachusetts State House to speak with legislators about investing in education. He was hooked. “How can I do this for a living?” he remembers thinking.

As a senior, Lopez interned for former U.S. Sen. John Kerry, which led to a position with former U.S. Rep. Marty Meehan. He eventually landed in Washington, D.C., where he now works for a member of the Hawaii Congressional Delegation.

“Worcester State opened my eyes, introducing me to new people and ideas and giving me the foundational skills to get started,” he says. “From there, I’ve built my career.”

Change Lives

Shannen Curtin ’17

Nursing Major

Shannen Curtin ’17 came to WSU with a goal. A volunteer at Camp Sunshine in Maine, where she works with terminally ill children, “I hope to become a pediatric oncology nurse,” she explains.

Donor-funded scholarships from the Worcester State Foundation are helping Curtin pursue that dream. This year, she received two, which she calls “incredible.” “Because of these scholarships, I’m working one less job. That means a lot when you’re looking at a pile of bills and an even bigger pile of homework,” she says.

“These scholarships say that someone believes in me. There are no words other than ‘thank you.’ Because of you, I can be a student. Because of you, I can work hard to become the successful person I dream to be.”

Campaign Momentum

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