Whether you are the first in your family to attend college, or the valedictorian of your high school, Framingham State meets you where you are, and provides the support you need to thrive.
Student Spotlights

Student Spotlights

Jennifer Melara-Valle

Jennifer Merlara-Valle

Earth Science major Jennifer Melara-Valle has researched Marine Ecosystems from two archeology sites in the Gulf of Maine, performed data analysis with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) scientists at Princeton University, and mentored fellow first-generation students about the college experience – all while pursuing her bachelor’s degree at FSU.

Not bad for a kid who had to navigate school while at the same time learning English after her family moved to the United States from El Salvador when she was 8-years-old. Despite this challenge Melara-Valle, who is a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) student, was already taking college level dual enrollment courses at Framingham State University when she was in high school.

“I really enjoyed my dual enrollment experience at FSU, so coming here for my bachelor’s degree made a lot of sense,” she says. “The University has been extremely supportive throughout my time here.”

Today, Melara-Valle is a peer mentor and takes a lot of joy in mentoring other first-generation students, including her younger brother who just enrolled at FSU.

“A lot of first-generation students come in and feel pretty lost and overwhelmed their first semester,” she says. “It’s nice to be able to help them anyway I can, whether it’s with their studies, or just navigating college life.”

Gwen Carpenter

Gwen Carpenter in the Science Lab

There are students who need extra support to keep up, and then there are those seeking to challenge themselves in ways that will enrich their educational experience and stand out after graduation. That is where the Commonwealth Honors Program comes in. 

It was a perfect choice for Gwen Carpenter, who was valedictorian of her high school, and would have been accepted to any number of elite schools. She chose Framingham State and the Commonwealth Honors Program because it was affordable, rigorous, and enabled her to enjoy the camaraderie of participating in softball and basketball at the NCAA Division III level.

Carpenter is a Biology major with a Pre-Health concentration. She has already applied to graduate physician assistant programs and is interested in orthopedic medicine and working with athletes. 

“I’ve had amazing professors who are very supportive,” she says. “They are interested in game results and in tune with what I have going on outside the class. I played three sports in high school, so I am used to having very little extra time. It forces me to get my work done and not procrastinate.”

Carpenter says her overall experience at FSU has exceeded her expectations, and she is confident that she has made lifelong relationships.

“You don’t realize the impact a place is having on you in the moment, but I have met my best friends at FSU,” she says. “The people are the reason I ended up here, and I’m just lucky to have found a place that fit so perfectly.”

Mandip Singh

Mandip Singh

As a young child in India, Accounting alum Mandip Singh watched his father head off to America hoping to set up a new life for his loved ones. By the time he turned seven, the family was able to reunite in Melrose, MA, where they have worked extremely hard ever since running a restaurant and living out the American Dream.

“My parents broke their backs so that I could have the opportunity to go to college,” Singh says. “I’ve put pressure on myself to achieve as soon as possible in order to help the ones who have helped me.”
Singh knew early on that one of the best ways to set himself up for a job right out of college was to land a relevant internship, so he quickly sought out the University’s Career Development Office. That led to Singh’s first internship in the Framingham State University Business Office.

“I am constantly in the Career Development Office seeking advice. They helped me get two internships and got me involved in the Suitable Solutions Program, which teaches you about professional skills, provides you with $100 for attire and can help you land internships and jobs at companies like TJX.”

As a sophomore, Singh landed another high-impact internship at the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) firm Paresky Flitt & Co. The experience and contacts he made helped him land a dream job shorty after graduating as a tax supervisor at KLR, a Top 100 Accounting Firm in the country. 

“When I started college, I was really concerned about having a job right after graduation, but by the time I graduated I knew I had the skills and connections to line something up right away,” Singh says.