What makes you a Difference Maker?
I believe I was nominated as a Difference Maker because of my dedication to creating friendly and energetic spaces wherever I go. There is something infectious about watching others step out of their comfort zone and giving everything their all, and that is what I strive to do every day. I have realized that engaging myself in my organizations and the student life at UM-Dearborn, in general, has allowed me to create friendships and connections that have made my own life so much more colorful. And I believe I have helped do that for others through my leadership and impact on campus. I also think I have always opened my skills and time up for others and helped whenever I was able. For me, being able to help others understand their passions and skills is just as important as doing it purely for myself. And I have come to learn that the UM-Dearborn community often reflects back to you whatever you put in, and being given this reward is an example of this after years of dedicating myself to our campus.
Tell us about your leadership experience.
When I was 16, I was invited to attend a Michigan Youth Leadership (MYLead) conference in East Lansing. Since then, I have been involved as a volunteer and leading young students in Michigan through workshops and the conference. We introduce and enhance their leadership skills by demonstrating the power of empathy and stepping out of your comfort zone. I was also fortunate enough to have an internship at DTE Energy where I was able to lead a project on my team to develop a FAQ bot in the Microsoft Environment. I also led multiple intern socials virtually to connect with others at DTE. On campus, I have served on the board for Tau Beta Pi and Alpha Omega Epsilon. Some of my highlights for Tau Beta Pi have been working with our board to create a new position, media coordinator, and overseeing the position in Tau Beta Pi. Also, bringing an applied machine learning pair of talks featuring Professor Kas Kasravi. For Alpha Omega Epsilon, my highlights have involved streamlining our processes, designing a new website, and leading recruitment where we opened philanthropic events up to the entire University. Working as TA for differential equations with linear algebra was a standout leadership opportunity for me. I was able to work with Professor Hristova and she gave me the confidence and liberty to take the position where I wanted. I wrote weekly help session supplemental information including practice problems and solutions. Having those sessions with around 10-15 students each week allowed me to put my passion for mathematics and education to work and help others. I have also served as technical specialist for the Michigan Journal and a TA for Maize and Blue Math Circle. Being in a leadership position for the Maize and Blue Math Circle has given me an avenue towards supporting and encouraging young women who often struggle to see themselves in STEM, even with an abundance of talent. I have been able to give them insight about the path I have taken, what I’ve seen others to, and be of mentorship to them. Finally, one of the best experiences in my life was working in ITS on campus. As student workers, we work together to assist students, staff, faculty, and alumnus with an assortment of technical endeavors and issues. This was a great way for me to naturally be a leader in a group setting when we needed to divide and conquer our responsibilities. I also was able to find and cultivate relationships with those above me who served as mentors. I believe having mentors and people around you who believe in you is very important and I always try to find mentors and be a good mentor myself.
What is your dream career or goal?
When I first began working at the Service Desk my freshman year, I really did not know much about IT or the work they did. However, over time I grew to really love helping out people on campus and empower people through comfortable use of their technology. And while I am still not sure what I want to do when I grow up, I think my experiences at the Service Desk have influenced one of my dream careers as a Chief Information Officer. I would love to be a leader and manage the systems put in place at an academic or corporate institution that enables productivity and support! Another long term life goal is to create a non-profit organization that facilitates math circles for students at schools where they may not have a math club or advanced math program. Working with Maize and Blue Math Circle has allowed me to see the power in a math circle and how beneficial it is to students to experience math in a judgement-free zone. I am forever impressed and inspired at the students and would love to give that to more kids and let them know that STEM, specifically engineering and math is an option and possibility for them.
What is your most defining moment?
My most defining moment at UM-Dearborn was just a regular day in the Winter 2020 semester. I only had one class, an electronic circuits lab that day. I got to campus hours before and joined a friend for an early lunch in the University Center. Him and I had taken economics together first semester, freshman year. He had recently changed his major and we talked about his new experiences at CEHHS. I had also added the engineering mathematics dual degree since we last spoke and I updated him on why I was so excited the program existed. After that, I went to lab, which ended up being quite short. I decided to take the extra time to inquire my lab instructor about the research going towards his Ph.D. degree. We spent quite some time and I learned so much about what he was doing. We also talked about my experience as a math TA and his experience as an electrical engineering GSI. After that, I went to the second floor of IAVS and studied for a few hours with three classmates and had an amazing conversation with a girl in my class. We talked about being women in electrical engineering, our childhoods, and other topics like theology and education. To most, this may just sound like I detailed a normal day in my life. And that is what I did, though I remember this day in great detail because of the reflections I made upon coming home that day. It was a day where I was able to connect and learn something new about people in my life. Coming home that day I felt so full of life and inspiration. I realized how lucky I was to be connected to so many extraordinary people and how far one genuine conversation can take you. This also served as a wake up call and reminder to me about the person, student, and leader I was. Being fearless and having the courage to be yourself in all spaces you enter can often be difficult, even if we do not explicitly realize it. But seeing everyone around me be themselves, effortless and unapologetically, gave me the courage to do the same. And I have not looked back since, it was the moment I decided I would always be true to who I am and what I love.