When it comes to involvement on campus, Difference Maker Taranjot Singh Kathuria’s contributions are undeniable. When asked about why he prioritizes community involvement, Taranjot shared it is because he’s a firm believer in the importance of volunteering and helping others, “I will continue volunteering in the community wherever and whenever needed.”
This difference maker has served as a Planet Blue Ambassador, and a peer mentor, and has been an active member of UNICEF, Circle K International, CCJC, Student Sustainability Coalition and Student Government.
“I love volunteering for the community,” he says. “Hence, you will usually find me helping people.”
Taranjot was awarded an Unsung Hero and Commitment to Service certificate from UM-Dearborn in April 2022 and March 2023 respectively for his positive influence on organizations and his commitment to service in the community.
A fashion gala for charity
Pulling from his many community experiences, Taranjot was asked to share a story about a time he felt he made a true difference. The one experience that was top of mind was when he modeled in a fashion gala for an on campus organization.
The event was organized by Circle K International, for which Taranjot served as chair, in February 2022. “As I was the chair for this organization during that time, I had the experience to see both sides of a charity event, i.e., organizing and volunteering,” he says.
Months before the event, the organization was tasked with setting up raffles, gala tickets and sponsorships, booking the venue, and choosing the decorations.
The gala hosted around 350 attendees and raised more than $20,000 for charity. The fundraised money was donated to the Rehmat Foundation—a non-profit organization working to enhance the quality of life of individuals and communities—and was used to help treat mental health illnesses.
“This event felt like I made a difference in the community as I was able to help a cause,” he says. “Moreover, coming from a different country and interacting with people from a different background felt nice.”
Solving complex problems
Taranjot is a graduate student in UM-Dearborn’s computer and information science master’s program. This field of study has allowed Taranjot to combine two of his passions, solving complex problems and helping others.
“I feel like UM-Dearborn provides the right path to all its students and gives endless opportunities by which a student can grow their skills, whether it be hard or soft skills,” he says.
However, he hasn’t waited until graduation to start working in tech. He currently holds a position in IT for Magna Exteriors, an auto parts manufacturing company.
“I am very passionate about solving people's problems, so I would say I am a problem solver,” Taranjot says. “For my future plan, I want to continue working in supporting IT Projects for businesses.”
The impact of volunteering
Among his volunteer work with Circle K International, Taranjot has:
- Volunteered at Play-Place Autism & Special Needs Center in Sterling Heights to paint and redesign a playroom
- Volunteered at the Environmental Interpretive Center (EIC) for Arbor Day to plant trees in Metro Detroit along with the Student Sustainability Coalition
- Recorded a podcast on campus for the Criminology and Criminal Justice Collective (CCJC) called Craving Crimes.
- Volunteered in Detroit for the Trunk or Treat event which was featured on UNICEF's USA website
“I will be graduating with distinction as I have successfully completed 50,000 points for Talent Gateway,” he says. “Wearing the golden distinction stole at my graduation along with the Circle K graduation medal and CCJC cord will be my best moment."