News 2024: Future biologist and bioengineer receive 2024 Founders' Scholarship

News 2024: Future biologist and bioengineer receive 2024 Founders' Scholarship
Future biologist and bioengineer receive 2024 Founders' Scholarship

Scholarship offers a four-year "full ride" for two high-achieving Massachusetts residents

An avid environmentalist and an aspiring engineer are the recipients of the 2024 Founders’ Scholarship.  

Molly Gedutis of South Dennis and Zachary Gay of Taunton are this year's UMass Dartmouth Founders' Scholars. They will join the Honors College and graduate as Commonwealth Scholars. 

Now in its second year, the UMass Dartmouth Founders' Scholarship offers high-achieving Massachusetts residents a "full ride" at UMassD. To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must have a cumulative 4.0 GPA, a minimum 1200 SAT or 24 ACT (if submitting test scores), and reside on the UMassD campus.   

Gedutis and Gay were formally awarded their scholarships during ceremonies at their respective high schools on March 18. They were joined by their current and future support systemstheir families, high school and UMassD staff, and the inaugural Founders' Scholars who were all in attendance. 

Applications doubled from last year's pool of high school seniors vying for the scholarship that covers tuition, fees, food, and housing for four years. 

"This year's Founders' Scholarship was very competitive, with over 300 applicants from across the state," said Honors College Dean Amy Shapiro. "We are thrilled to have Molly and Zachary join our Honors College family and growing Founders' Scholar community. They are both outstanding students."

2024 Founders' Scholar

Molly Gedutis 

"Being selected as a Founders' Scholar means more to me than words can ever describe. As the first person in my family to go to college, I feared how I was going to afford college and was terrified that I wouldn't find the right school for me," Gedutis said. "Now my future is much more certain; I know where I'm going, how it's being paid for, and, most importantly, that I'll receive all the support I need."

Describing herself as a "people person," Gedutis thrived in close-knit communities in high school like the indoor percussion ensemble and marching band, where she was the drum major last fall.  

"From the moment I stepped onto campus, I knew I could find the home I desire here and that the faculty and other students were my people, my future family," Gedutis said. "I toured other colleges, some among the best private schools in the country, and none of them gave me the feeling that UMassD gave me—the same feeling I get being in my high school's band room." 
Gedutis enjoys learning about other cultures and studied German for 6 years. She participated in two exchange programs to Germany while in high school. 

For Gedutis, "there is nothing more interesting than learning about what makes up life. I'm proud to be entering UMassD as a cell and molecular biology major."  Having worked with the Dennis Conservation Land Trust studying mosquitos, she said, "This was my first real experience with research, and it showed me that it's something I'd love to do as a career!"
"I'm grateful for this opportunity," Gedutis added. "Thank you to everyone who has made this happen!" 

2024 Founders' Scholar

Zachary Gay 

From the beginning of his college search, Zachary Gay knew that UMass Dartmouth was a great option for him. Seeing his sister, Marisa, happy and successful here pushed him to explore UMassD.   

"I saw that UMass Dartmouth has everything I want in a school, from biomedical engineering and music programs to great culture and praiseworthy food, in addition to many research and internship opportunities. After visiting, I was very impressed by the support given to students and am excited to call UMass Dartmouth my new home!" 

Gay said he was "ecstatic" when he learned he received the Founders' Scholarship. "It was the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. As one of four children, this scholarship is extremely helpful for my family and ensures that I will graduate in the best position possible to be successful in my future endeavors." 

 He has participated in a range of extracurricular activities, including sports, band, and clubs. For the past five years, Gay served as a teacher's assistant at Hebrew School. He is a peer mentor for eighth- and ninth-graders, helping them with everything from homework to feeling welcome at school. "I hope that, at UMass Dartmouth, I will have similar opportunities to make a difference in the lives of my peers." 

Gay says he always wanted to become an engineer. He will combine his love of building with his interest in medicine by majoring in biomedical engineering. "I hope that I can positively impact the lives of many through work on biomedical instruments," he said.