Isenberg Sophomore's National Scholarship Emphasizes Community Responsibility

April 5, 2013

Stephanie Menezes, an Isenberg sophomore majoring in management, is one of five 2013 national recipients of a $10,000 scholarship from the Liberty Mutual Responsible Scholars program. The scholarships recognize students from four-year colleges who "initiate a service or volunteer program that directly impacts or actively engages their campus community." Menezes earned the scholarship for her successful creation and implementation of Run4Fun, a program that promotes running among children, ages 8-13.



Menezes learned about the scholarship opportunity last fall in Special Topics in Career & Professional Development, a hands-on professional development course for Isenberg sophomores, currently taught by Kim Figueroa, Director of Internships at Isenberg's Chase Career Center. Two recruiters from Liberty Mutual--Kaitlin Kelly and P.J. Macom--were in the classroom to critique student resumes. When they discovered Menezes' involvement with Run4Fun, they urged her to apply for the scholarship.


Last fall, the Isenberg sophomore introduced Run4Fun to 4th graders at Amherst's Crocker Farm Elementary School. During the three-week program, 62 students ran 562 miles; between three to six UMass Amherst students visited the elementary school daily to help motivate and guide the children. By September, Menezes plans to expand the program to include two additional elementary schools and a Run4Fun road race. She credits Tony Lachowetz, a lecturer and director of internships in Isenberg's Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management, as her mentor in the project.


An avid cross-country runner in high-school, Menezes first rolled out Run4Fun in 2009 in her hometown, Amesbury. The initiative included two summers of sessions and a road race that attracted 120 runners. The Isenberg sophomore, who is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, plans to study in Brazil as part of her own Isenberg-University without Walls curriculum, which will emphasize BRIC and other emerging economies.