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Family and Friends of Maia Felisse McDermott

Friends and family of Maia Felisse McDermott contributed to a scholarship in her memory.

Maia Felisse McDermott was born in Bryan, TX in 1988. She and her family relocated to Clinton, MA while she was an infant, and this is where she called home until enrolling at UMass Amherst in 2007. During the fall 2009 semester, Maia began her junior year as a Broadcast Journalism major through the Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC) program. Like many of Maia’s goals and aspirations, Broadcast Journalism was not a traditional major but instead a combination of three majors that she carefully constructed to harness her passions and skills. In Maia’s words, she “sculpted” a major that did not exist, but one that would direct her to a career. Among Maia’s first broadcast reports is one that illustrates the strength of minority women through creativity.

As a UMass student, Maia was well known for her charismatic smile and energetic personality. Although she had the typical ups and downs associated with young adulthood, she always managed to come through every challenging situation with a get-back-on-the-horse attitude and often offered support to her friends during their difficult times as well. She was never daunted by others’ troubles and was always there with a kind word or push of encouragement or shoulder to cry on, sometimes traveling miles at a minute’s notice knowing someone needed her. For this she was widely admired and appreciated.

At a winter solstice celebration in 2009, Maia introduced herself as someone who “can live in ways that inspire other people.” Two months later, on February 20, 2010, Maia’s car crashed into a utility pole as she was heading home after a night out with friends. It was a tragic accident that ended Maia’s physical life but did not end her spirit or ability to inspire other people. To honor and celebrate Maia’s energetic and enduring spirit, Maia’s family, friends and classmates have established the Maia Felisse McDermott Memorial BDIC Scholarship. They continue to be deeply influenced by Maia’s strong will and can-do spirit, and hope that this scholarship will inspire others to embrace Maia’s motto “Carpe Diem” and help make our world a better place.


Please address your thank you letter to the Family and Friends of Maia Felisse McDermott.