What makes you a Difference Maker?
It’s hard to write about what makes me a Difference Maker. What I do on campus and in the community is not meant to highlight me, it’s meant to improve the lives of others around me. In order to answer this question, I had to ask my friends and those who have worked with me on what makes me a Difference Maker. I am committed to giving everything I work on my all. I give 110% whenever I can. I can recognize what is and isn’t working and I can improve upon it, no matter what it is. I am able to do that in all aspects of my life. I am constantly setting new goals for myself, setting new standards that are higher than the last, but I am also kind to myself and those around me when plans may not work out the way they were initially planned to. Despite everything that I manage in my life, I am a strong leader who can inspire others in working toward a common goal while staying true to myself. But I am also a compassionate leader. I work with others so that they can create the projects they want to create while also helping them become the person they want to become. My words are not the words that matter the most in the conversation, but I use them to help inspire others to speak.
Tell us about your leadership experience.
My leadership experience started in elementary school when I served as a peer mediator and was a member of Link Crew, with the goal of the program to welcome students who came from our lower elementary campus to the upper elementary campus. In high school, I was a tutor through my school’s Success Strategies Program. I also was vice president of my National Honor Society and served as president of my school’s Key Club. Around 2016, I volunteered to help in the planning of ConFusion, the longest-running science fiction convention in Southeast Michigan, where I was in charge of planning the events for my peers to enjoy during the course of the weekend. For several years I continued to plan the teen track at ConFusion but over the course of the last few years, I have pivoted to running program operations for the convention the weekend. Around 2017, I also became involved with the planning of Penguicon, a non-profit, volunteer-run, open-source convention also located in Southeast Michigan. Since 2018 I have been the head of volunteers, working to coordinate all volunteers over the course of the weekend and solving any problems as they may arise. I am currently the youngest sitting convention committee member.
What is your dream career or goal?
My long-term life goal is to be happy, to be truly content in the life I build for myself. My career goal is to develop an alternative to organ transplants that is sustainable, affordable, and accessible. After my father received his kidney transplant in 2015, I started learning more about what it means to get an organ transplant, the costs associated with it, and how it completely changes the way you live. During the pandemic, we have seen an increase in the need for organ transplants as caused by the side effects and lasting effects of the COVID-19 virus. The way my dad had to change his habits wouldn’t be sustainable or affordable to a family living on a fixed income. And the necessary medications and rules he has to follow in order to avoid getting sick may not be achievable in an area without clean running water, like Flint, Michigan. My goal is to make it so that families no longer have to sit at the phone waiting for a call that they found a match, a call that may never come. I want to give people options, hope, and a future.
What is your most defining moment?
After high school, I wanted to make sure that no matter what I was doing in college, I was staying true to myself and to my goals. One of my favorite moments that helped get me to my defining moment, was the W.O.W. 2018 trip. That trip opened up my eyes to the possibilities of what I could do during my time at UM-Dearborn, and all I had to do was put one foot in front of the other and not be afraid. In February of 2019, I applied to be an Orientation Leader and went through all of the training necessary, giving small tours around campus, and getting excited to actually start orientations. June 5th, 2019 was the first Freshman Orientation of the season, almost exactly one year later from when I went to my own Freshman Orientation. I was excited, a little too hyped up on energy drinks, and nervous. It was the first time that I would be leading freshmen around campus, and I was concerned that I wasn’t ready and that I wasn’t going to live up to the standards that I set for myself. Then it started raining just before the students were set to arrive. I was picked to welcome students to the building and to direct them inside and how could I do that in the rain? Well, it turns out, it was really easy. And it only really rained up until the program actually started in the IAVS building. I welcomed the rain because it showed me that no matter how much I plan and prepare, life may have other plans, that I have to remember that I am not only more than capable of pivoting and finding a solution but that I should also let myself enjoy dancing in the rain and putting a smile on the student’s faces. I thought I was nervous, but I realized that I had trained and prepared for that moment. I was chosen for a reason. These students were walking into unfamiliar territory and the least I could do was sing a song in the rain and welcome them to campus.