They didn’t know how much she had accomplished beyond graduation.
“I was really surprised and honored to receive the award,” says Bruce-Baiden. “It’s good to know that people see this potential in you and believe in you. “
“I’m Ghanaian and having the opportunity to express this culture in school I never had before,” says Bruce-Baiden, who grew up in Randolph, Massachusetts. “It has been extremely life-changing for me to meet so many people with similar backgrounds, cultures and histories and to be part of a community. I was really dedicated to the organization and felt so connected with all the students.
“I wanted the groups identified by Blacks to come together and organize a town hall, Uniting Our Voices, to see how the students are feeling and how we can help them,” she says. “And from there, we just kept going. “
Helping to establish BLAC was the culmination of Bruce-Baiden’s growth in college. She came to UMass Lowell with the intention of becoming a lawyer. But as many of her classmates began studying for the law school admission test and pursuing a concentration in legal studies, she hesitated.
“I felt like I couldn’t fully engage in it, and I had to stop, think and think about why. I realized that I was interested in how communities can be improved through public policy and community engagement, ”she says. “And the more time I spent on campus as a student leader and listening to students and their stories about their lives, I thought maybe that would be a direction I could take.”
She focused on American politics. Then, wanting to learn more about politics and the legislative process, she applied and got an internship at the office of US Senator Elizabeth Warren. She spent the fall of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, researching nonprofits and responding to voters trying to access help with businesses, housing, unemployment and immigration.
“It was a very trying time working in this office,” she says. “But I certainly learned a lot about how the different roles and responsibilities in the office come together.”
At UMass Lowell, she says, she gained the skills and confidence to be a thoughtful leader, thanks to Liss and other multicultural business mentors. She is also grateful to many of her political science professors, who advised her as her interests changed and she began to consider graduate school.
“It helps a lot to find a mentor,” she says. “Amy is wonderful. I think a lot of opportunities have opened up for me after meeting her. I am really very grateful and grateful for everything she has done for me, and for my political science professors who have worked with me. ‘helped figure out what I could do next.