Seniors Hannon and Keezer win new Crowley-Nowick Award for iCons Student Philanthropy and Leadership

Featured in the CNS Newsletter: Issue 15 - August 2017

Photo of Phoebe Hannon and Andrew Keezer receiving award

A new prize established with a gift from alumna Peg Crowley-Nowick ’86 recognizes student leaders in the CNS Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons) program. The inaugural Crowley-Nowick Award for iCons Student Philanthropy and Leadership was awarded to rising seniors Phoebe Hannon, a Psychology major, and Andrew Keezer, a Biochemistry & Molecular Biology major, during the program’s senior celebration in May. The two were chosen by their classmates for the award in recognition of their leadership and commitment to community. Each student received a cash award and a plaque.

“Community is such a vital part of the iCons program,” said Dr. Crowley-Nowick, founder and president of Zipher Medical Affairs. “I created this award to recognize students who are leaders among their peers and can inspire a culture of philanthropy and community in their class.”  

The iCons program was established in 2011 to produce a new generation of leaders who integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to solve the inherently multi-faceted problems facing our world.

As recipients of the award, Hannon and Keezer will organize the senior class gift, to go toward a scholarship for a rising iCons sophomore, with Dr. Crowley-Nowick committed to matching all student contributions. The award winners will also serve as leaders in fostering a sense of community among their classmates, both while at UMass and after graduation.

Community engagement is an integral part of the iCons experience, something that alumni have carried into their post-graduation lives. Graduates of the program have formed the iCons Alumni Network (iCAN), applying the iCons approach to volunteer community service, including working to improve STEM education in the Boston area through outreach and work with programs such as Junior Achievement and the Girl Scouts. iCAN members also mentor current iCons students in on-campus workshops.

CNS alumni play a vital role in supporting iCons as well, among them Crowley-Nowick, a member of the CNS Advisory Board and the iCons Task Force. A mentoring program piloted this spring with the guidance of Robert Mahoney ’70 offered students career-development support and helped many secure summer internships. In addition, Waters Corporation and Anika Therapeutics, both iCons sponsors, offer competitive internships to iCons students. Such opportunities to learn from industry leaders is an important part of the program: 80 percent of iCons students graduate with internship experience.

Hannon, one of the student award winners, is interning this summer at Anika Therapeutics and is mentored by Charles Sherwood ’72 MS, ’77 PhD, the company’s CEO. Sherwood’s mentorship has helped her define her career goals—originally interested in going to graduate school to pursue research, she’s now decided to go into medicine, so she can work directly with patients—and bolstered her confidence in her ability to achieve those goals. “His presence in my life and his investment in me mean so much,” Hannon said. “Having someone else believe in you makes you believe in yourself.”

Likewise, she added, Dr. Crowley-Nowick’s commitment to iCons underscores alumni’s belief in its students and their abilities. “This program is empowering us, because these successful people expect great things from us,” Hannon said. “And we can do great things.”

In the coming year, a new prize will also be awarded to recognize alumni of the program for their continuing engagement with the iCons community. The Mahoney iCons Alumni Award will recognize a graduate of the program who applies the iCons approach in the workplace in exceptional ways. Recipients will be selected based on their real-life application of the attitudes, knowledge, and skills they developed in the program, as well as their engagement with and support of the iCons community since graduation. The awardee will receive a cash award and a trophy, to be formally presented at the 2018 iCons graduation celebration.