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MIT Federal Credit Union bestows annual scholarships, People Helping People Award

DUSP grad student John Arroyo honored for his service to the community; six high school and college students awarded $1,000 Memorial Scholarships.

Each year, the MIT Federal Credit Union (FCU) presents the People Helping People Award to an FCU member who exemplifies compassion, commitment to helping others, and a sense of social justice within the MIT community. At this year's annual FCU business meeting on April 26, John Arroyo, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, was named as the 2017 winner.

“While in its eleventh year, it continues to amaze me in learning about the contributions and positive impact made by the many members of the MIT Community,” said MIT FCU President and CEO Brian Ducharme. “John’s accomplishments are nothing short of astounding and we are honored to present him with this year’s People Helping People Award.”

During his third year of doctoral studies, Arroyo became a graduate resident tutor (GRT) for undergraduates at MIT’s Simmons Hall. This was his way of improving the well-being of the general student population, and of students with a similar upbringing as his — with particular socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds who may feel alienated, out of place, and misunderstood. Arroyo is strongly committed to teaching, advising, and mentoring students from underrepresented backgrounds, as well as first-generation college students.

Given all that he does for the MIT community, it is clear how Arroyo is able to translate his many academic and personal interests into a passion for helping others. Arroyo has pledged to donate his $2,000 award to the Latino Opportunity Program, an initiative within the Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

In addition to the People Helping People Award, MIT FCU awarded six $1,000 Memorial Scholarships to support members investing in their education. Recipients were selected based on essay content, grades, financial need, and extracurricular and community activities. The 2017 Memorial Scholarship winners are:

  • Brian Leonard, of Rockland, Massachusetts, who is a junior at Framingham State University;
  • Emily Himelrick, of Canton, Massachusetts, who is currently finishing her senior year at Notre Dame Academy and plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh this fall;
  • Giuliana D’India, of Derry, New Hampshire, who is currently finishing her senior year at Pinkerton Academy and plans to attend Southern New Hampshire University this fall;
  • Jesse Hinricher, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who is currently a sophomore at MIT studying chemical engineering;
  • Kayla Nett, of Woburn, Massachusetts, who is currently finishing her senior year at Woburn Memorial High School and plans to attend Framingham State University this fall; and
  • Marina Whitlow, of Salem, Massachusetts, who is currently finishing her senior year at Salem High School and plans to attend Ithaca College this fall.

The MIT Federal Credit Union was founded as a nonprofit financial institution in 1940 to provide basic financial services to employees at MIT. Today, with $525 million in assets, the credit union offers traditional savings and checking accounts as well as lending programs for mortgages, autos, personal and student loans. With locations and ATMs in Cambridge and Lexington, along with mobile, online, and telephone banking services, MIT FCU serves the greater MIT-Kendall Square community, which includes employees of Novartis (Cambridge), Lincoln Laboratory, Draper, the Whitehead Institute, and The Broad Institute. MIT FCU also serves MIT students and alumni. 

MIT FCU is a member-owned, cooperative financial institution whose primary mission is to provide quality financial services that meet the needs of its members while ensuring the financial well-being of the organization.

Originally published May 2, 2017 by Scott Hanna, MIT Federal Credit Union for MIT News.