College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters

CASL Chancellor's Medallion Recipients

Two CASL students, Thomaz Carvalhaes and Joseph Gaber, will be honored as Chancellor’s Medallion recipients at the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s commencement ceremony on December 19.  The students demonstrated excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service.  The Chancellor's Medallion is UM-Dearborn's most prestigious academic honor bestowed on students. The University presents the award at each commencement.  CASL student Ayana King will be the student speaker at the ceremony. 


Thomaz Carvalhaes was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental sciences in August 2015. During his academic career at UM-Dearborn, Mr. Carvalhaes was named to the Dean’s List four times, earned University Honors three times and was recognized as a James B. Angell Scholar in 2015. He was a recipient of the Community College Transfer Scholarship. He graduated with High Distinction.

After transferring from Oakland Community College prior to the Winter 2013 semester, Mr. Carvalhaes engaged in a variety of research projects while at UM-Dearborn. These projects share the common theme of utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to study urban environments. The first project undertaken by Mr. Carvalhaes was under the supervision of Dr. Claude Jacobs and used GIS mapping to study the distribution of religious structures in Detroit’s Woodward Corridor. Through a collaboration with the Office of Metropolitan Impact (OMI), the Geospatial Analysis and Mapping (GAM) Program and the Detroit non-profit Focus: HOPE, Mr. Carvalhaes’ second project mapped the safety and condition of public transit stops across Detroit. Finally, Mr. Carvalhaes also mapped patterns of urban stream burial with Dr. Jacob Napieralski. These research activities have been disseminated in numerous presentations, including an oral presentation at the 2015 meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Chicago. His work on Detroit transit stop mapping also was featured locally on Channel 7 news. Research manuscripts based on his work are in preparation, with one currently under review for publication in the journal Applied Geography.

In addition to his research activities, Mr. Carvalhaes was an active presence on campus as a member of the Ecology Club and the Tau Sigma National Honor Society. He also mentored fellow undergraduate students as a student mentor in sociology in 2013 and 2014.

Mr. Carvalhaes’ exceptional record at UM-Dearborn led to his being named a 2015 UM-Dearborn Difference Maker. Nominated by faculty and staff, recipients are recognized for academic achievement, integrity, leadership and creative contribution in and out of the classroom.

Since graduation, Mr. Carvalhaes has been engaged in research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, assessing populations at risk to extreme weather events in coastal areas. He intends to pursue a Ph.D. in geospatial analysis or a related field.


Joseph Gaber will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and graduate with High Distinction. He was named to the Dean’s List eight times, received University Honors in 2012 and 2014 and earned UM-Dearborn Honors in 2015. He was named the mathematics discipline’s Honors Scholar for 2015. He is a recipient of the Mathematics Scholarship, the Dean’s Scholarship, the Bill Ford Scholarship and the Dearborn Area Theatre Association Scholarship. 

Mr. Gaber participated in the University Honors Program and excelled academically both in mathematics courses and in honors courses, exemplifying the ideal of a well-rounded liberal arts student.  

In addition to maintaining an exceptional record in his coursework, Mr. Gaber has been an active presence on and off campus both in research and in mentoring. In Summer 2015 he participated in a National Research Experience for Undergraduates Program at UM-Dearborn, where he worked on a project titled “Investigating Lambda-Permutations.” He presented this research at the Mathematical Association of America’s annual MathFest in Washington, D.C. Mr. Gaber has contributed to the campus community through his role as a tutor at the Math Learning Center and most recently as a mentor for a calculus section. In addition, he has shared his enthusiasm for mathematics in the greater metropolitan area, working with middle school and high school students as a college instructor for the summer program Math Corps at Wayne State University.

Mr. Gaber has been offered a position at Urban Science upon graduation and may pursue a graduate degree in the near future. 


Ayana King will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications. Ms. King is a recipient of the UAW Chrysler Dependent Scholarship, and earned placement on the Dean’s List in Fall 2014 and Winter 2015.

A non-traditional student, Ms. King returned to complete her undergraduate degree after a lengthy hiatus. Since her return, she has balanced school, a full-time job and family responsibilities.

She was named 2014 Intern of the Year by the Humanities/History Internship Program for her work with the Wyandotte Democratic Club. During Summer 2015, Ms. King completed an internship at the U-M Detroit Center, where she worked with U-M alumni and published several articles on the U-M Detroit Center website. Her supervisor described her as “an ideal employee” and added, “I was especially impressed with Ayana’s work ethic, including professionalism and ability to produce professional-quality content. Whether faced with new or familiar tasks, Ayana always exceeded expectations.”

One academic adviser described Ms. King as “a model of modern success” and expressed hope that “her perseverance becomes contagious to those who have an open ear and are willing to change.”

Ms. King will continue working with American House and plans to use the skills obtained during her undergraduate career in her future efforts.