UMassD Alumni Association presents awards

Martins, Bonoan and Knodler honored for their service and career accomplishments

2018 UMassD Alumni award recipients
Chancellor Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D., left, with honorees (l-r) Rachael Bonoan '13, Beth Knodler '00, and Steven Martins '07

On April 26, 2018, the UMassD Alumni Association honored three distinguished alumni at the 47th Annual Alumni Awards Ceremony. Joined by Chancellor Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D., and Alumni Association board members, award recipients Steven Martins ’07, Rachael Bonoan ’13, and Beth Knodler ’00 accepted recognition for their service to UMassD and outstanding career accomplishments

“We are proud to celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni,” Chancellor Johnson said. “Tonight’s honorees embody the best that UMassD has to offer and make a difference in their industries and communities.”

“Our award recipients are prime examples of how our alumni continue to represent UMassD in their industries and communities,” said Nancy Vanasse, director of alumni relations.

Alumni Association Vice President Greg McCarthy ’13 and Board member Matt Witzgall ’15 presented the Alumni Volunteer Service Award, Young Alumni Award, and the Alumni Achievement Award.

Alumni Volunteer Service Award: Steven Martins '07

Steven Martins ’07 received the Alumni Volunteer Service Award, given to a “dynamic and purposeful alumni volunteer who is loyal, unselfish, and demonstrates consistent service to Umass Dartmouth and the Alumni Association.” Martins is a first-generation college graduate, earning a degree in political science from UMassD in 2007. He has been a steadfast supporter of the local community and of UMassD, holding several positions in the City of New Bedford that have allowed him to contribute to improving the lives of its residents. He was elected to City Council in 2007 and served as president, vice president and second vice president. Martins was also a member of the UMassD Alumni Association Board from 2009-2015.

Yound Alumni Award: Rachael E. Bonoan '13

This year’s recipient of the Young Alumni Award is Rachael Bonoan ’13. This award celebrates the achievement of a UMassD graduate of the past ten years, whose exceptional achievements in career, public service or volunteer activities bring honor to UMass Dartmouth. “Rachael is an example of the success our alumni have as a result of working on undergraduate research projects with the world-class faculty we have here at UMassD,” Witzgall said. Since graduating, Bonoan has built a fascinating research career involving ecology, social insects, and insect pollinators. She is currently a post-doctoral researcher at Tufts University and at Washington State University studying ant-butterfly interactions in the South Puget Sound, WA. Bonoan recently defended her Ph.D. research on honey bee behavioral ecology, nutritional ecology, and ecological immunity at Tufts University.

Bonoan credits much of her success to her time at UMassD. “I received an unrivaled science education at UMass Dartmouth.”

Alumni Achievement Award: Beth Knodler '00

Beth Knodler ’00 received the Alumni Achievement Award, given to a “member of the Umass Dartmouth alumni community who, because of distinguished stature in a chosen profession, has attained great respect on a local, regional, and/or national level, and whose notable achievements have not only and a strong impact on their field and brought personal recognition as a leader in their profession.” Knodler is the president of Innovative Data, LLC, a data collection firm that provides data for infrastructure projects by engineering firms, developers, and cities and towns. In her local region of Western Massachusetts, Knodler is known as a community supporter and role model for women in business.

“UMass Dartmouth helped me to learn and adapt, which I do every day in my job,” Knodler said.

For more information on how to submit a nomination for a UMassD alumni award, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at