AMHERST, Mass. – Olivia Gilligan Corsetti, of Somerville, a member of the Class of 2019 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been chosen to receive the first annual $1,000 scholarship in memory of Hannah Beth Frilot, a member of the UMass Amherst Class of 2015 who died last year.
The UMass Amherst Information Technology office, where Frilot was a student help center consultant for two years, established the scholarship in her memory. While more than $7,000 has been raised so far, fundraising continues towards a goal of $25,000, which will endow the scholarship and honor her in perpetuity.
The Hannah Frilot Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to encourage young women and gender non-binary students to pursue their interests, particularly in majors in which women are underrepresented, like mathematics and engineering.
Corsetti is entering UMass Amherst as a mechanical engineering major in the same department as Frilot. Her personal essay explained that she chose to attend UMass after spending time with Frilot in July 2014. She had not considered a large school until they discussed Frilot’s experience as a student.
“I feel so lucky to have had Hannah there to reassure me that everything would work out … She was far more confident in my own ability than I was,” Corsetti wrote. “I probably would not have applied and decided to go to UMass if it hadn’t been for her. Realizing that a woman can be in the [College of Engineering] and feel like she belonged made me feel like I too could do just that.”
Frilot was entering her senior year as an industrial engineering major in the College of Engineering when her bicycle was struck by a car in Amherst. She is remembered on campus as a hard-working student, devoted friend and involved member of the community. Frilot advocated for the rights of LGBTQIA+ students and spread awareness of the various and intersecting forms of prejudice, discrimination and privilege while promoting equality as treasurer of the UMass Pride Alliance.
“I am incredibly happy that a UMass student whose decision to attend the university and is personally connected with Hannah will be the first winner of Hannah’s scholarship,” Zac Bears, Frilot’s best friend and member of the selection committee, said. “Olivia represents exactly the type of person who deserves Hannah’s scholarship and whose energy and passion so greatly benefits the University, the community and the people who know them.”
Donations to the scholarship can be made at https://minutefund.umass.edu/.