UMass Dartmouth announces 2015 Student Commencement Speakers

Student speakers reflect diverse excellence of Class of 2015

UMass Dartmouth announced today its student commencement speakers for the University's 115th Commencement Exercises taking place May 15-18, 2015. Heather Fatcheric of the College of Arts & Sciences, Brittany Raposa of the UMass School of Law, Tejendra Patel of the College of Engineering, and Sapna Jawid Piracha of the Charlton College of Business have been chosen to address their fellow graduates of the UMass Dartmouth Class of 2015. 

"We are honored to have students whose story represents the diverse excellence of the Class of 2015," Chancellor Divina Grossman said. "Their journeys, while separate, create a narrative that holds true for our graduating class -- one of civic and academic engagement and achievement with regional, national, and international impact." 

Heather Fatcheric 
College of Arts and Sciences 

Heather Fatcheric has been a shining star during her time at UMass Dartmouth--academically as a History major, and in numerous student leadership roles. Recently she served as one of only two Orientation Coordinators. Heather, from Princeton, Massachusetts, completed her bachelor's degree requirements in January, including an Honors Thesis with Professor Robin Robinson of the Department of Sociology & Anthropology. She is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at UMass Dartmouth. Heather was a member of the women's field hockey team, an Iota Delta Nu sorority sister, a Peer Tutor at the Writing and Reading Center, an Orientation Leader, and a Greek Coordinator. She plans to teach History in the Massachusetts Public School System. Heather will be recognized on May 14 at the Massachusetts State House as one of "29 Who Shine"--an elite group of students representing the Commonwealth's 29 public colleges and universities who have excelled in academic and civic pursuits. 

Brittany L. Raposa 
UMass School of Law 

Brittany Raposa is a local student from Somerset, Massachusetts. Brittany earned a BA in Literature and a BA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Communications from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2012. At the law school, Brittany served as the Student Bar Association Secretary and as the Executive Notes Editor on the University of Massachusetts Law Review. She was also an instructional assistant and a Dean's Fellow tutor. Brittany has had three notes published while in law school, all of them focusing on health law and healthcare policy, areas in which she hopes to practice. For one of the notes she won the American Bar Association's Health Law Student Writing Competition. 

Tejendra Patel 
College of Engineering 

Tejendra Patel's unyielding positive spirit has allowed him to excel inside and outside the classroom. Tejendra, from New Bedford, Massachusetts, is a Computer Engineering major with a minor in Mathematics who put his education to work throughout his time at UMass Dartmouth. During his freshman and sophomore year, he interned at software design and development company Nextdrift Technologies as a full stack web developer. The Commonwealth Scholar was also a member of the Indian Student Association his sophomore year, helping organize the annual Diwali celebration on campus. In his junior and senior years he continued on the experiential learning track with a co-op at EMC and an internship at Akamai Technologies as a user experience engineer. After completing his summer internship at Akamai Technologies, Tejendra accepted their offer of a full-time position as an interaction engineer. 

Sapna Jawid Piracha 
Charlton College of Business 

Sapna Jawid Piracha's experience at UMass Dartmouth embodies a true spirit of passion and hard work. Sapna, originally from Pakistan, earned her undergraduate degree in Robotics and Automation Engineering from Air University Islamabad. Soon after she became Pakistan's only female to sit on a panel of design engineers for the construction of the Gandhara International Airport, which upon completion will be one of the world's largest airports. Sapna has earned her MBA degree with special interests in big data and supply chain management. She is currently in the process of publishing her first paper on Data Mining and Artificial Intelligence. Sapna is very passionate about traveling the world, mountain climbing and exploring nature. She is planning an expedition to climb Mount Everest in 2017. Her ultimate goal is to raise the literacy rate of Pakistan by empowering women and youth. 

UMass Dartmouth distinguishes itself as a vibrant public university actively engaged in personalized teaching and innovative research, and acting as an intellectual catalyst for regional economic, social, and cultural development. UMass Dartmouth's mandate to serve its community is realized through countless partnerships, programs, and other outreach efforts to engage the community, and apply its knowledge to help address local issues and empower others to facilitate change for all.


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