Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Westfield State University senior Giana Dean to receive “29 Who Shine” award from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

CONTACT: Troy Watkins,, 413.572.5523

Westfield – Westfield State University senior Giana Dean of Saugus, Mass. has been selected as the University’s recipient of the 29 Who Shine award from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. These awards are presented to 29 graduates throughout the Commonwealth who exemplify the values of community service and academic experience. Each recipient attends a Massachusetts community college, state university, or University of Massachusetts institution and is nominated by a faculty or staff member. This year’s ceremony will take place on Friday, May 3 at 2 p.m. at the Massachusetts State House, hosted by Governor Charlie Baker.

A criminal justice major, Dean has participated in numerous activities and organizations, including volunteer hours at the Boston Marathon and through the American Red Cross. Additionally, she has participated in walks to support research in breast cancer, autism, and Alzheimer’s. Her involvement and leadership in the Westfield State University Student Ambassador Program has been her greatest impact as one of 15 students representing a population of over 5,000.

“Giana took advantage of many social and developmental opportunities available at Westfield State and has become a confident and talented leader, always willing to donate her time to worthwhile causes and help those in need,” said Susan LaMontagne, Westfield State’s dean of Student Affairs.

Dean also mentors students with learning disabilities. She became highly involved with the University’s Fostering A Culture of Empowerment and Success (FACES), a group that supports students within the foster care system. She familiarized herself with the students and their experiences and feelings by attending group meetings, empowering her to act when they expressed a concern for the lack of amenities and sense of community on campus. Dean has continued to attend the group’s meetings, showcasing empathetic leadership while mentoring and being a loyal friend to FACES members.

Dean has worked diligently through her roles on and off campus to attain the spirit of a diverse and inclusive community, where everyone is welcomed, respected, and appreciated.

After graduating from Westfield State, she plans to gain more experience in the field of information technology through an internship or entry-level position. She also plans to pursue a master’s degree and career in cyber security.      

Founded in 1839 by Horace Mann, Westfield State University is an education leader committed to providing every generation of students with a learning experience built on its founding principle as the first public co-educational college in America to offer an education without barrier to race, gender or economic status. This spirit of innovative thinking and social responsibility is forged in a curriculum of liberal arts and professional studies that creates a vital community of engaged learners who become confident, capable individuals prepared for leadership and service to society.

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