2023 Alumni Difference Makers
Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Judith Toland, ‘01 M.B.A., is an award winning, transformational CMO, with an engineering foundation. In May of 2023, she was appointed the role of Vice President, Global Audiences Marketing. This role is responsible for all audience led marketing and product strategy, activation and execution across all Meta business brands, globally. She has served as Head of the Meta Chicago office since August 2020.
Judy has 29 years of experience across five industries (Tech, Chemicals, Automotive, Financial Services, and Health and Wellness) and five Fortune 500 companies (Facebook/Meta, Monsanto, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, & Wells Fargo). She joined Facebook in July 2019, with prior roles as Vice President, Scaled Solutions and Vice President, Global Customer Marketing roles, both with global marketing remit across our Meta business brands. Prior to joining Meta, she held VP/SVP & Chief Marketing Officer roles, with GE Capital, Wells Fargo, and Life Fitness.
Judy has a B.S. in chemical engineering from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. in marketing from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. In 2021, she was recognized as one of the Top Black Executives in Chicago by Crain’s, and a 2023 Private Company Director to watch by Private Company Director Magazine, and one of the Top 50 women in Commercial Finance by The Secured Lender in 2017. Judy served as an Independent Board Director for Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC. In addition, she is a 2020 Daniel Burnham Fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago and a member of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, World Business Chicago, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and Goodman Theatre nonprofit boards. She is also a member of the Chicago Network, Economic Club of Chicago, and Commercial Club.
Judy is passionate about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, having been a member of Diversity Councils at both GE Capital, Wells Fargo, and now Meta. She is also a past Co-Chairperson of the GE Capital, African American Network, an employee resource group. She is now leading DEI and racial justice efforts across Meta as the executive sponsor of Woman@ (Meta's largest employee resource group), Meta Elevate and Meta Prosper.
At UM-Dearborn, Judy is on the UM-Dearborn National Advisory Council where she advises the Chancellor on all matters bearing on the effectiveness of the service of the university. She has been featured as a thought leader on campus multiple times, speaking at a College of Business Fireside Chat and as a part of the Alumni Engagement Speaker Series. In 2022, Judy was highlighted as the commencement keynote speaker.
Alumni Business of the Year
Samantha Snabes, ‘06 B.S., ‘06 B.A., ‘11 M.B.A., is relentlessly focused on social responsibility, and the company that she helped co-found, re:3D, is committed to empowering local change-makers by developing quality, industrial printers that can be adapted in new markets. Founded in 2013 as a spin-off of Engineers Without Borders-NASA Johnson Space Center, the re:3D team manufactures large, affordable industrial printers capable of printing virgin or recycled filament, pellets, or flake in the USA that are exported to over 60 countries. re:3D Inc. is breaking through the current limitations of 3D printing to unlock new applications and growth markets worldwide. Gigabot, re:3D’s flagship technology, enables industrial strength, large format 3D printing at an affordable price point. For every 100 Gigabots delivered, re:3D donates a Gigabot to a group dedicated to making a difference.
Beyond creating 3D printers, re:3D offers 3D printing contract services, consulting, design, and education services. re:3D’s Austin, Houston, and San Juan Offices are hubs for 3D printing education and community engagement. re:3D’s customer base comprises an esteemed group of specialty manufacturers, engineers, designers, universities, and hobbyists. This impressive list includes The United States Air Force, Steelcase, Lockheed Martin, NASA, Nokia, and the United States Navy, just to name a few. re:3D is truly changing the world by providing a tool to respond to the needs of a community as they arise.
Graduate of the Last Decade Alumnus of the Year
Sharnita Johnson, ‘13 M.P.A., is the Victoria Foundation’s first-ever vice president of Strategy, Impact and Communication. In this role, Sharnita provides oversight and management of all programmatic activities, ensuring alignment with the Foundation’s goals and values. She leads the development and implementation of Victoria’s grantmaking, success measures, communications, and leadership activities.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Sharnita is a recognized leader who was shaped by more than 20 years of nonprofit experience. She has created innovative collaborations that have secured millions of dollars in philanthropic support for community-based initiatives.
Most recently, Sharnita served as the arts program director at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, where she led a statewide grantmaking portfolio focused on arts, equity, and creative placemaking. Prior, she supported local nonprofits by leading grantmaking portfolios focused on collaborative, place-based work that increased investments in neighborhood development, arts and culture, and leadership development in communities throughout Southeast Michigan.
Sharnita co-chairs the New Jersey Arts and Cultural Recovery Fund. She is also co-chair of the Association of Black Foundation Executives’ (ABFE) $25 million fundraising campaign to strengthen and rebuild Black-led infrastructure for social change. Sharnita is active in the nonprofit sector and is board chair of Grantmakers in the Arts, and serves on the boards of ArtYard and the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America. She was an ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellow, Marygrove College Distinguished Alumna, and Council on Foundations Career Pathways Fellow.
Alumni Service Award
Yuri Siradeghyan, ‘06 M.S., is a senior member of Millennium's Equities Business Management team, a global multi-strategy hedge fund in NYC. Before joining Millennium, Yuri held risk management and quant strategist positions at several equity funds. Prior to transitioning into finance, he was a senior developer in the Data Management, Mining and Exploration (DMX) group at Microsoft Research. At DMX, Yuri’s research focused on information management and analyzing rich data sets. With a B.S. in applied mathematics from Yerevan State University, an M.S. in computer science from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, Yuri's educational journey is robust.
Yuri's volunteer ties to UM-Dearborn began as a student when he co-founded the Armenian Student Association. As an alum, Yuri has gone past geographical limits, supporting his alma mater via his time, talent, and treasure in NYC. He has served in pivotal leadership roles on the CECS CIS Department Advisory Board and recently completed a three-year term on UM-Dearborn’s Alumni Society Board (ASB). While on ASB, he was an active advisor to the Office of Alumni Engagement and participated in the work of the Nominations Committee.
Yuri's dedication is evident in volunteering as an alumni reviewer for the UM-Dearborn Business Idea Pitch Competition and helping to facilitate alumni gatherings in NYC. His ASB term ended in June 2023, but he promptly engaged with UM-Dearborn’s Career Services team, advising on ways to improve their efforts on campus.
College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Alumnus of the Year
Zaineb Hussein ‘06 B.A., currently serves as the chief of staff for the city of Dearborn, Michigan. Her extensive career in public service spans diverse roles, including deputy political director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Michigan, deputy director of External Affairs for Wayne County, and deputy chief of staff for the Michigan Secretary of State. In these positions, Zaineb demonstrated exceptional leadership in strategic planning, policy development, community engagement, and promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity. Her contributions have been instrumental in transforming local government operations, increasing voter access, and fostering a supportive environment for marginalized communities.
As Chief of Staff, Zaineb works closely with the mayor, providing strategic advice and overseeing the coordination of citywide goals and key initiatives. She also spearheads crisis management and staff development while serving as a key liaison between the city administration and the public, often articulating the city's vision and accomplishments to external audiences. In addition to her UM-Dearborn degree, Zaineb holds a master's degree in counseling from Spring Arbor University. Her dedicated service underscores a strong commitment to public service, community development, and inclusive, equitable growth.
In addition to her professional work, Zaineb serves, or has served on many boards of directors, including the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, Access, League of Women Voters, Arab American Cancer Awareness Organization, and eMgage, which seeks to educate, engage, and empower Muslim American communities through educational events, voter initiatives, and leadership development.
College of Business Alumnus of the Year
John McRae II ‘91 B.S.A., is a highly accomplished business leader with an impressive 30-year track record of successfully leading public companies into new markets. As the President of Syniverse's Carrier business unit, he has demonstrated exceptional expertise in driving the company's growth and innovation. With a wide range of responsibilities under his purview, including market research, forecasting, and coaching, John has played a crucial role in Syniverse's global success. John's illustrious career has taken him through various leadership positions in mobile, financial services, and consulting companies. Prior to joining Syniverse, he served as CEO of Nationwide Credit and held senior positions at esteemed organizations such as Deloitte Consulting, EMDEON BUSINESS SERVICES, National Processing Company, and Shell Oil Company.
John's impressive academic background includes an M.B.A. from Case Western Reserve University, which further strengthens his reputation as a visionary leader in the business world. He is also a member of World 50, a private community for CEOs and C-level executives at globally respected organizations, providing him with access to valuable insights, and building relationships that make a lasting impact.
In 2022 John and his wife Suzie created a scholarship at UM-Dearborn and named a laboratory in the Engineering Lab Building after his father, a UM-Dearborn engineering alum who was part of the early cohort of students on campus. His commitment to education and mentorship is a testament to his values and his desire to give back to the community that has supported him throughout his career.
College of Education, Health, and Human Services Alumnus of the Year
Blair Stamper ‘12 B.S., is an award-winning instructional designer (ID) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and in her own small business. As an ID, she works with faculty to create student-centered and active online courses that align with high-quality standards. Blair’s passions lie in student success, active learning, and access, equity, and inclusion in online courses. She is also an adjunct professor at Michigan State University and Arizona State University.
Blair began working in education as a middle school math and science teacher in 2012. Using her experiences with curriculum design as a teacher and her love for technology, Blair found her true niche in the instructional design field in 2015. Her passion for sharing her expertise with the online learning field has led her to be published in Educause Review and Journal of Applied Instructional Design, an active member with Educause, Online Learning Consortium, and UPCEA, and the creation of her Be an Instructional Design Rockstar podcast.
Blair’s research focuses on instructional design practices, including relationships between IDs and faculty during online course development. She has also explored access, equity, and inclusive practices and active learning in online courses. Blair has also served as the managing editor for Current Issues in Education and a reviewer for multiple academic journals.
In addition to her UM-Dearborn degree, Blair is a graduate of Arizona State University, the Online Learning Consortium's Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning, and Michigan State University.
College of Engineering and Computer Science Alumnus of the Year
Nicholas Sitarski ‘04 B.S.E.E.E., ‘09 M.S.E., is vice president for the Integrated Vehicle Systems division at Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) R&D. He is responsible for leading a team of about 110 engineers and technicians in the research, advanced development, evaluation, production implementation, and post-production quality assurance of various advanced driver assist system and automated driving system technologies within North America. Nick joined TMNA R&D in 2005 and has held multiple positions, both as an engineer and leader, related to the development, evaluation, and commercialization of new electrical parts and systems. During this time, he has been awarded 18 patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Before TMNA, Nick worked at SY Systems Technologies as a systems engineer.
Throughout the years, Nick has maintained a connection with UM-Dearborn. From 2015 to 2019 he was a member of the Industry Advisory Board for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Since then, Nick has been a member of the College of Engineering and Computer Science Visiting Committee and has been the featured speaker at student organization events on campus. In addition to his support of the University, Nick is an active industry advisory board member for the American Center for Mobility and sits on the board of directors for the Michigan Economic Development Foundation. In recognition of his technical expertise, leadership, and thoughts on the future of mobility, in 2019, Nick was named a Rising Star by the Automotive News.