Feature Stories 2023: UMass Dartmouth welcomes class of high achievers: Why the region’s top-ranked students chose UMassD

Photo grid containing portraits of some members of the class of 2027
Top row, from left: Amber Hooda, Jamsin Lux, Vanessa Mateus Bottom row from left: Ethan Medeiros, Lily Mercer, Alexander Luis Pires, Kelsey Urel
Feature Stories 2023: UMass Dartmouth welcomes class of high achievers: Why the region’s top-ranked students chose UMassD
UMass Dartmouth welcomes class of high achievers: Why the region’s top-ranked students chose UMassD

The class of 2027 includes students who graduated at the top of their high school class. Here's what they hope to achieve over the next 4 years.

UMass Dartmouth’s incoming class is full of academically talented students, including several who placed in the top 10 of their high school class. Some of our incoming students shared their high school accomplishments, their hopes for their futures, and why they chose UMassD. 

Amber Hooda, bioengineering 

In high school, Hooda was a member of the National Honor Society, the Business Professionals of America, and the Student Mentorship Program. She was enrolled in the Visual Design and Communications program at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School and has won awards in graphic design at both state and national levels.  

“I chose to attend UMass Dartmouth because it’s cost-efficient and well known for its STEM programs. I wanted to attend a school that is both nearby and that offers a good education. I’m looking forward to conducting research and making friends that share similar interests as me. 

“My dream job is to become a researcher in the field of genetic engineering/immunology. I dream to make a change in the world through helping those who suffer from autoimmune diseases.”  

Jasmin Lux, biology 

Lux graduated from the Dental Assisting program at New Bedford Technical High School as one of the top five students in her class and received highest honors. She was also a member of the National Honor Society. She dreams of becoming an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.  

“My sister inspired me to be a part of the dental community, and she has been my role model throughout life. She graduated from UMassD, which is part of why I chose to come here.” 

“As for my time at UMassD, I am looking forward to meeting new friends and adapting to a new environment. I’m excited to live with more independence.”  

Vanessa Mateus, political science – pre-law 

Mateus graduated from Bristol County Agricultural High School with a 4.026 GPA on a 5-point scale and received high honors throughout her four years.   

“I am very fortunate to have an amazing school that provides incredible opportunities and resources to help aid students in their educational and professional careers so close to home.” 

“I am looking forward to enhancing my knowledge and capabilities. I want to see how far I can go, and I am hopeful that UMassD is the right place for me to explore and discover the best course of action for my future. As of right now, my dream is to obtain a law degree.  At this time, whatever I choose to pursue, I believe that UMassD is the right school to help me on my journey.” 

Ethan Medeiros, accounting 

Medeiros graduated with a 4.39 GPA on a 5-point from Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School’s Business Technology program. His achievements during his time at Greater New Bedford include placing fifth in MA and seventh in the U.S. at a Business Professionals of America competition for fundamental spreadsheet applications. He also won third place in the state for his Microsoft Excel Certification score.  

“I chose UMassD because it’s not only affordable and convenient, but also because I know many students who have attended or graduated from here and have had nothing but positive experiences.” 

Medeiros is looking forward to meeting people with similar interests during his time at UMassD. His dream job is to work as an accountant at a large company so that he can help people efficiently manage their finances. 

Lily Mercer, political science – pre-law 

Mercer graduated from Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School’s Legal and Protective Services program with a 4.38 GPA on a 5-point scale—seventh in her class overall. She achieved highest honors and was a member of the National Honor Society. She also received a scholarship for her volunteer work at Onstage Performing Arts, a local dance studio. 

"I chose to attend UMassD because of the immense opportunity the school holds. Plus, as a commuter, the school being so close was just a no-brainer. I am looking forward to this new chapter of my life in which I get to study in a more individualized way than ever before. I’m extremely excited to meet new people and join clubs with people with similar interests as me.” 

“My goal is to become an attorney, and attending UMass Law to become a  licensed attorney would be my ultimate dream. I am excited to begin my journey at UMassD, and can’t wait to see what the school has to offer.” 

Alexander Luis Pires, computer science – game design 

Pires graduated from Global Learning Charter School with a 3.9 GPA on a 4-point scale.  

“I chose UMassD because of the proximity to home, but also because of its cost effectiveness. I found that, in comparison with other schools, UMassD has great programs at a reasonable price.” 

“I am looking forward to learning more about designing games, as my dream job is to be a game designer for Blizzard or Epic Games. I heard that a UMassD student got an internship at Blizzard, so I am hoping that I can do the same!”  

Kelsey Urel, biology 

Urel graduated from Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School’s Dental Assistant Program with a 4.46 GPA on a 5-point scale. She received multiple awards including the Outstanding Student Award for Dental Assisting, the Salutatorian Award, and the Vocational Technical Student Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Career and Technical Educators Organization.  

In addition, Urel also received athletic and sportsmanship awards throughout her four years of high school, as she was on the soccer team and served as captain of the varsity team during her senior year.  

Throughout her junior and senior years, Urel competed in SkillsUSA for dental assisting, winning gold in the district competition and silver in the state competition. 

“I chose UMassD because it has everything I was looking for in a school: amazing programs, lots of clubs, internship and research opportunities, and a fantastic science college. I am looking forward to starting my classes and participating in as many clubs and activities as I can.” 

This story was written by Kamryn Kobel '24, English major and University Marketing assistant.