About This Initiative

About This Initiative

Employers are looking for something beyond professional proficiency. They are looking for talent. Participants in the Talent Gateway can articulate why they are the best candidate for the jobs they seek – they are creative critical thinkers who can positively interact with the diverse world around them.


Given that former Provost Catherine Davy comes from a performing arts background, it is not surprising that she was inspired by Twyla Tharp's bestselling book, The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it for Life. It resonated with her because it echoed what she already knew deep down: Anyone can be creative by engaging in a reflective process that - when practiced over time - results in a “habit of mind.”

At the same time, she understood that the professional world UM-Dearborn students face is changing – graduates will likely have multiple careers, short and long term positions, and work in an increasingly collaborative and team based environment.

These two ideas sparked the concept of the Talent Gateway: A student-driven professional development program that uses the iterative practice of reflection to develop a habit of creative thinking.

Why is this important?

Employers seek graduates who can demonstrate a range of competencies, and employer surveys show that the ability to innovate is chief among these. Creativity is the fuel of innovation, and the Talent Gateway offers students self-driven opportunities to develop their creative thinking abilities along with other competencies.

The Talent Gateway uses creativity and the 8 career-ready competencies defined by the National Association of Colleges and Employers along with creativity and civic engagement as a foundation for the skill building opportunities it provides. Students complete "challenges" that stretch them to grow and practice their networking, leadership, public speaking and risk taking skills.

“I think the Talent Gateway experience will have lasting impact. I cannot stress how impactful the array of challenges has been to the differing phases of my growth."  - N'Kenge Gonzalez, April 2018 (M)Talent graduate

"(It) got me into the habit of saying, how does this classroom work fit into the real world? How does the real world fit into the classroom?" - Clinton Randall, April 2018 (M)Talent graduate

Talent Ambassadors

Challenge submissions are read and responded to by the Talent Ambassadors, who are upperclassmen or graduate students. They are also available as peer mentors, helping students identify personal passions and interests, and discovering opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Talent Ambassadors are available to visit classrooms, student organization meetings, and special events upon request. Complete the Talent Gateway presentation request form to inquire about having a student provide an overview of the program. 

Our Winter 2021 Talent Ambassadors

Ghadah Abdulshafi, CASL

Zahraa Al-Beedani, CASL

Fadwat Bazzi, CASL

Brigit Bradakis, CECS

Trevor Johnson, CECS

Kelly Keys, CASL

Cierra Murphy, CECS

Josue Rios, COB

Grace Tate, CEHHS

Kelsey Ziegler, COB (Lead)

Talent Gateway

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