Profile

Ianna Hondros-McCarthy, Psychology, English (pre-med), Peace and Conflict Studies



Hometown:

Lowell

“Professors here are invested in the students. Those relationships are real, they lead to jobs.”
Ianna Hondros-McCarthy knows that you don’t have to travel far, or mortgage your future, to get an excellent education.

“Coming to UMass Lowell was the best possible decision for me,” she says. “I seriously considered Berkeley, but I’m the third generation at this campus, following my mother and grandfather. My dad attended MassArt. My sister’s at UMass Amherst, and my brother is here, studying plastics engineering.”

Hondros-McCarthy had the help of a Commonwealth Scholarship for all four years. As a pre-med student, she double majored in English and Psychology, and is active in the Commonwealth Honors Program. And she went all the way to Auckland, New Zealand, for a semester in the Study Abroad program.

“I’ve had great opportunities, but the atmosphere here is not one of privilege or entitlement,” she says. “Most students have to work hard, paying for their own tuition. They take their studies seriously and that pushes you to work hard yourself.”

That serious, hard-working student body attracts dedicated, inspirational professors. 

For example, Hondros-McCarthy completed a directed study with Andre Dubus III, renowned author of “House of Sand and Fog” and the new memoir “Townie”. Dubus is a full-time faculty member of the English Department.

She also studies with Prof. Paula Rayman in the Peace and Conflict Studies program. Rayman, says Hondros-McCarthy, “knows peace activists all over the world.”

“At this school, you have lots of opportunities to pursue your interests,” says Hondros-McCarthy. “The classes are small, the departments are small.”

The Emerging Scholars program was just such an opportunity. The program matches advanced undergraduate students with professors conducting ongoing research, for a yearlong fellowship.

“You’re treated like a professional and expected to pull your own weight,” says Hondros-McCarthy, who worked with Psychology Assoc. Prof. Andrew Hostetler to investigate the needs and goals of emerging seniors, aged 55 to 65. “This was research that could affect people’s lives. It gave me a sense of purpose in the community.”

Emerging Scholars is interdisciplinary, something Hondros-McCarthy finds typical of the University, where “faculty have friends across disciplines and there’s more room for innovation.”

Listing all the accomplishments and activities of this dynamic young woman would be mind-boggling. From volunteering for Doctors Without Borders to writing about the Merrimack Valley Food Bank to wrestling rocks for trail building in Acadia National Park, Hondros-McCarthy exudes zest for living.

When she leaves UMass Lowell for medical school, Hondros-McCarthy will look back on a rewarding education.

“Professors here are invested in the students and I have good relationships with lots of the faculty,” she says. “Those relationships are real, they lead to jobs. And professors are happy to help, if you put in the work.”