What makes you a Difference Maker?
Since starting my undergraduate career at the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2016, I have strived to live up to what it means to be a Difference Maker. What makes me a Difference Maker is the contributions that I have made through university and campus engagement, while simultaneously striving for academic excellence and my continuous pursuit of opportunities to apply what I have learned and impact my community through service and advocacy.
Through my Health and Human Services courses, I have developed a unique perspective of what it means to be a future public health and healthcare leader that is passionate about using health equity to eliminate health inequalities and empower underserved and diverse communities in southeast Michigan. In the classroom, the group projects, academic service-learning projects, and class assignments have pushed me to think critically and apply a broader, population health approach to the most complex public health issues that we face today.
On-campus, being involved in university-wide events, student organizations, and also connecting with faculty and staff who are doing meaningful work on campus and in the broader community has presented opportunities for leadership development through collaboration. Through my previous and current work experiences, each role, organization, and institution has taught me valuable lessons and refined my vision for what kind of public health professional I want to be as I advance in my academic and professional career.
Being a Difference Maker is more than a title, it is an honor; one that is earned from the dedication and passion for serving others and making an impact. I am a change agent that is committed to utilizing my creativity, knowledge, skills, and abilities to create tangible changes that will improve the health outcomes of communities.
Tell us about your leadership experience.
On-campus, I have had the pleasure of working in various positions throughout the university as a volunteer, student employee, research assistant, and member of several student organizations. I am a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), Black Student Union, and Public Health Society. I have recruited students to apply to the University of Michigan Summer Enrichment Program in Health Management and Policy (UMSEP), UMSEP Ambassador. I was a guest student speaker for the UM-Dearborn Martin Luther King Jr. Engagement Day 2020, where I shared my UMSEP experience with the campus community to highlight the importance of community engagement and public health advocacy. I served as a student volunteer on the CEHHS Academic Integrity Board. I also served as a member of the Wellness Collaborative, focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, and improving students of color's emotional wellbeing, and mental health. I have participated in the Strategic Planning Town Halls to support innovative university initiatives that make a meaningful impact on improving the campus community.
Off-campus, I have been engaged in my communities through activism, getting involved in local politics, and advocating for social change, and racial justice. In 2020 on Juneteenth, I attend the peaceful protest at the Dearborn Police Station with the Black Student Union. We supported the Black Lives Matter movement, by demanding justice, calling for an end to police brutality, and systemic racism. That summer, I also attended another Black Lives Matter peaceful protest that was organized in Sterling Heights, Michigan. In the fall of 2020, I was engaged in local and national politics during the presidential election. I was a phone banking volunteer and I was a Campaign Manager for a neighbor that ran for a local government official position. During that experience, I spoke at community town hall meetings, attended political rallies for progressive change, and partnered with local small businesses to register residents to vote.
What is your dream career or goal?
In the fall of 2021, I will begin my graduate school journey at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. I will be pursuing a Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) in Health Management and Policy. After obtaining my MHSA, I immediately want to begin an administrative fellowship at a leading healthcare organization. As I advance in my career in the fields of health management and policy, I want to continue my pursuit of increasing our healthcare system’s capacity to support health equity initiatives that improve the health status of communities of color. The healthcare leaders and public health professionals with whom I work inspire me to continuously be forward-thinking, putting the health issues that matter the most to me at the forefront of my goals. As a future Chief Executive Officer or C-suite executive, my professional goal is to lead a health care organization that has the mission, vision, and culture of promoting health equity. I want to change the face of healthcare leadership and continuously do more to improve the health of underserved communities in the metro-Detroit area and the state of Michigan.
What is your most defining moment?
My most defining moment at UM-Dearborn was changing my major to public health in 2018 and joining the College of Education, Health and Human Services (CEHHS). When I first started at the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2016, I was a biological sciences major on the pre-medicine track. At that time, I knew I had an interest in clinical care, however, I wanted to make a larger impact by focusing on the social determinants of health and population health. As I explored my interests in public health and healthcare through my courses and other experiences, it became clear that I made the right decision. Now that I have graduated UM-Dearborn, and reflect back on the great memories and experiences, I realize just how great UM-Dearborn and the CEHHS are at developing students to be future leaders and the best in their career fields.