FSU Valedictorian Stephanie Billingsley Honored by State as one of ‘29 Who Shine’

FSU Valedictorian Stephanie Billingsley Honored by State as one of ‘29 Who Shine’

Jul 14, 2015

Framingham State University psychology major Stephanie Billingsley ‘15 was honored by Governor Charlie Baker and other state officials earlier this month during the 29 Who Shine Ceremony at the Massachusetts State House.

"I want to congratulate all 29 of these outstanding Class of 2015 graduates for the recognition they have received and thank them for their substantial contributions to their local communities," said Governor Baker. "Each of the 29 Who Shine honorees, in addition to being an accomplished student, is civically engaged in ways that improve the quality of life in Massachusetts.”

Billingsley is an outstanding student and a leader among her peers. She finished her degree at Framingham State with a perfect 4.0 GPA and served as a teaching assistant in a combined course with 39 students. Billingsley completed a thesis on socially inappropriate language when referring to non-heterosexuals as one of her capstone experiences in the fall, and this spring she completed a second major research project. The manuscripts for both were submitted to the UMass Undergraduate Conference in April, as well as to the New England Psychological Association.

“During her time at FSU, Stephanie has excelled academically and demonstrated a deep commitment to community service and civic engagement,” said Framingham State President F. Javier Cevallos. “She is truly deserving of this recognition from Framingham State and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

Outside the classroom, Stephanie is very involved in giving her time and energy to great causes. In fall 2014, she volunteered with the Muscular Dystrophy Association on a major fundraiser in Massachusetts. As part of her senior seminar that year, she organized a class project that resulted in the sponsorship of an underprivileged local family for Christmas. Stephanie is an ongoing “Live Blue” volunteer for the New England Aquarium, where she participates in field service events such as beach cleanups, and removing invasive water chestnuts from the Charles River.

Her volunteerism extends outside of Massachusetts as well. She recently traveled to Costa Rica in order to work at a school, nursing home and with a conservation organization that was planting trees in the rain forest.

FSU Psychology Professor Devin Burns was also honored at the 29 Who Shine ceremony for being Billingsley’s faculty mentor.

“We know that nine of every ten public college and university students remain in Massachusetts one year after graduation, working or pursuing further studies,” said Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education. “These awards are a reminder that our public higher education graduates truly are the future citizenry and workforce of the Commonwealth.”

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.