Inaugural Founders' Scholarships awarded to two incoming students

Scholarships cover high-achieving Massachusetts residents' tuition, fees, food, and housing for four years

Inaugural Founders' Scholars Olivia DeSimone (left) and Kailey Sousa (right)
Inaugural Founders' Scholars Olivia DeSimone (left) and Kailey Sousa (right)

Incoming UMass Dartmouth first-years Olivia DeSimone (Attleboro) and Kailey Sousa (Acushnet) were recently selected as the inaugural winners of the Founders' Scholarship, a new "full-ride" scholarship at UMassD that will cover full tuition and fees, as well as food and housing for four years for high-achieving Massachusetts residents. 

"Receiving the Founders' Scholarship means everything to me! My family has instilled the value and importance of education in me, so I am truly grateful for the opportunity to continue my education at UMass Dartmouth," said DeSimone, who will major in health & society when she arrives at UMassD in the fall.

Incoming Health & Society major Olivia DeSimone, from Attleboro, MA
Incoming Health & Society major Olivia DeSimone, from Attleboro, MA

"Because of this scholarship, I will be able to pursue a graduate degree after college with far less of a financial burden. I'm incredibly proud of this accomplishment, as it affirms all of the hard work and dedication I have put into my schooling and extracurricular activities." 

To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must be a Massachusetts resident with a cumulative 4.0 GPA, minimum 1200 SAT or 24 ACT (if submitting test scores), rank in the top 10 of their graduating class, and live on campus at UMassD. Over 160 admitted students applied for the awards. 

"While the money allows me to follow my dreams and focus on everything else besides the financial aspect, the support and encouragement from the committee members I spoke to lets me know there is a support system on my side and a team of leaders that I will one day be a part of," said Sousa, who will study bioengineering in the fall. "I promise to make a difference and impact at UMassD." 

Incoming first-year Kailey Sousa pictured at UMassD's sign at the campus entrance
Incoming first-year bioengineering major Kailey Sousa (Achushnet) pictured at UMassD's sign at the campus entrance

"When my brother was diagnosed at 17 months old with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma Cancer, I admired the drive and passion everyone on his team had to make a difference. While cancer researchers are behind the scenes, the research being done usually goes a long way, and I knew that was where my heart always was. Bioengineering is the beginning block to a great path that will give me all of the qualities and academic knowledge that I will need to step forward 10 years from now."

"All the Founders Scholarship candidates were so impressive – as scholars and as people," said Honors College Director and Professor Amy Shapiro. "I am so proud to count our two winners among the newest Corsairs and feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work with them in the Honors College. Congratulations, and welcome, Kailey and Olivia!"

How to apply 

The application for students enrolling in the fall of 2023 has closed, but the class of 2028 may apply for the Founders' Scholarship by applying to UMassD via the Common App. Then, you’ll complete the Founders’ Scholarship application, which includes providing: 

  • your high school transcript 
  • a short essay statement on why you’re a good candidate 
  • a list of your extracurricular activities and accomplishments 

Admissions, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Engineering, College of Engineering - Home, Date: Year 2023, Departments College of Arts Sciences, Departments College of Engineering, Departments Financial Aid, Features Student Story, News and Public Information, Scholarships, Women in STEM