By Dan Magazu (Framingham State University)
FRAMINGHAM – Like many high school students during their college search, Olivia Renda spent a lot of time talking with her family about the debt she would face after earning her degree. So it was a surreal moment for her when she learned that she would have the opportunity to earn her degree at Framingham State for free, as one of the inaugural recipients
of the Mancuso English, Humanities and Social & Behavioral Sciences Scholarships.
Renda, who is from Westminster, and Meeghan Bresnahan of Peabody, will enroll at Framingham State this fall with 100 percent of their tuition, fees, room and board covered by the scholarship during their freshman year.
The two students will have the opportunity to take all four years at Framingham State at no cost, but must meet certain scholarship requirements in order to have it renewed each year.
“Finding out that I have the opportunity to graduate without any debt was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” said Renda, who will major in English and plans to become a teacher.
English Professor Halcyon Mancuso created the scholarships through a $2.5 million financial commitment to FSU that was announced in 2018.
There will be two Mancuso Scholarships awarded at Framingham State every year moving forward.
One will always be reserved for an English major, which is the subject Mancuso has taught for many years, and the second will rotate each year between majors in the humanities and social sciences.
Mancuso designed the scholarship opportunity with an emphasis on career-readiness.
Mancuso scholars will be required to participate in at least two meaningful internships prior to graduation and also will need to complete a curriculum offered by the Office of Career Services and Employer Relations.
“We know the humanities provide the soft skills that are sought after by employers,” she said “Our humanities majors need to understand this and learn how to talk about these skills in the language of business.”
Bresnahan, who will major in History and is interested in one day working in a museum or library, says the career component of the scholarship is exciting.
“Obviously the fact that it’s a full-ride scholarship is amazing, but I also see myself really benefiting from the career preparation and extracurricular requirements,” she said.
Mancuso scholars must also maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher, participate in at least one extracurricular activity each semester, and write a paper at the end of each academic year reflecting on their career and academic growth.
“These are students who might otherwise have to work at a job 25 hour a week to get by and would still graduate in debt,” Mancuso said. “My hope with the scholarship is that it will free them up to experience a robust college life, where they can take advantage of the many extracurricular activities that are available.”
Mancuso hopes every scholar will pay it forward after graduation, by remaining engaged with their academic departments as mentors to future students.
To learn more about the Mancuso English, Humanities, and Social & Behavioral Sciences Scholarships, visit www.framingham.edu/mancuso-scholarships.