Alumni Engagement Speaker Series
Join us as we feature a UM-Dearborn alum or faculty presentation in our Alumni Engagement Speaker Series. The series will highlight Wolverine thought leaders sharing career advice, innovative ideas, leadership lessons, and more.
Check back for exciting new videos!
Please note, the University of Michigan-Dearborn does not necessarily endorse speakers’ views.
Leading the Conversation: Insights from UM-Dearborn Alumnae Succeeding in the C-Suite
Presentation Summary: UM-Dearborn Alumnae panelists, Lisa Bahash '89, Kim Dabbs '04, Trish Howell '93 and Mary Naber '98 are joined by moderator and UM-Dearborn Alumni Society Board Vice Chair Sonya Grant '00 for a discussion on how they shattered the glass ceiling and overcame barriers to lead top-level organizations. This panel event was hosted in partnership with the Office of Alumni Engagement and the UM-Dearborn chapters of Society of Women Engineers and Women in Business.
View the video or click on the video below. Video Length 1:16:28
Lisa Bahash (UM-Dearborn '89), is an experienced and successful C-Suite executive and Independent Director. During her 30+ year career in the automotive OEM and Tier 1 supplier sectors, she has accumulated an impressive set of technical, operational, and business leadership experiences. She joined Syrah Resources LTD as an Independent Non-Executive Director. Syrah Resources LTD is an Australian-based minerals and technology company focused on high purity quality graphite and battery anode material processing. Her previous roles include positions within Architect Equity LLC, Shawcor LTD, Jabil Circuit Inc, Johnson Controls, Inc and President/CEO with Gabriel Ride Control, LLC. In November 2015, she was recognized as one of Automotive News Top 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry, an honor only bestowed every 5 years. She was on the Board of Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit for seven years and holds a Master of Engineering Management degree from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
Kim Dabbs (UM-Dearborn '04), is a change agent and advocate who builds cultures of opportunity as the Global VP of Social Innovation and ESG strategy at Steelcase. She is leading organizational change projects around the world and has given talks on her specialities in social innovation, cultural transformation, and belonging at MIT, the Aspen Institute, the Drucker Forum, and the Guggenheim. She has received numerous recognitions in the process including a Joyce Fellowship, an executive residency at the d.school at Stanford and led a White House honored nonprofit organization that is a national best practice in both adult and teen learning models. Her personal experience and professional history of two decades creating, leading, and scaling cultures of belonging across multiple borders have given her unique insights into systemic change. As a Korean-born, American adoptee currently residing in Munich, Germany, she is currently focused on her research and writing on Belonging. Her debut book on this topic, launching in 2023, focuses on helping leaders and organizations with the tools to create cultures of belonging to create a more equitable and inclusive world. She received a Master of Public Administration degree from UM-Dearborn.
Trish Howell (UM-Dearborn '93), is an experienced Board Director and operating expert whose career spans automotive, medical device, and SaaS businesses. She is currently Chief Operating Officer at Element Science, developing a wearable cardiac defibrillator for hospital to home use. She is also an Independent Board Member of Knightscope Inc, and CVR Medical where she serves as Audit Committee chair for each. Most recently, she was VP of Operations at Avail Medsystems, pioneering technology in surgical telemedicine. Previously, she served as VP of Operations at Stryker (via ZipLine Medical acquisition), commercializing non-invasive wound closure solutions. Prior, she was VP of Operations at Pulmonx where she led manufacturing, quality and supply chain for the company’s diagnostic device and therapeutic implant products for COPD. Before this she served as VP of Materials Management at ArthroCare, scaling the global logistics infrastructure and launching a greenfield factory in Costa Rica. Earlier on, Trish spent 15 years in the automotive industry, predominantly with Ford Motor Company. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA in Finance from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She is also an active member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).
Mary Naber (UM-Dearborn '98), is the CEO of PACE Southeast Michigan, part of the national Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). PACE Southeast Michigan is the largest and fastest growing PACE program in Michigan and one of the top programs in the country. PACE is an innovative health plan and full-comprehensive care provider, serving chronically ill, older adults with a Mission to keep them independent in the community. She is an authentic, energetic, and creative leader with extensive experience leading large healthcare organizational/people strategies, operations, and large-scale change initiatives. Her relentless focus is on care, culture, and people to enable the fulfillment of the Mission. Prior to PACE Southeast Michigan, her 33 years in healthcare evolved to Senior Executive roles accountable for a wide scope of services. She ultimately became the Chief Administrative Officer for the Ascension Michigan Market. She received her MBA from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a BA from Oakland University. She is a graduate of Leadership Detroit Class XXXII and certified as an executive coach. She is Vice Chair for the PACE Association of Michigan, and the Michigan Veterans’ Facility Authority Board of Directors. She also serves as a member on the National Pace Association Board of Directors and was recently appointed as Chair for the newly formed Alliance for PACE Innovation and Quality (APIQ) board.
Sonya Grant (UM-Dearborn '00), is the President and CEO of WorkSource Cobb, Cobb County’s workforce development agency which provides access to a system of employment and education services for residents and employers in the state of Georgia. She graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn where she received a B.A. in communications with a minor in political science. She launched her career after obtaining a Masters of Social Work from Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan. She honed her non-profit, public health, and workforce development skills as a community and economic development Executive Director, a Senior Project Manager for the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, and as the Chief Operating Officer for Michigan’s third-largest workforce development agency. She is currently Vice Chair of the UM-Dearborn Alumni Society Board.
Past Alumni Engagement Speaker Series Videos
Presentation Summary: UM-Dearborn Alumni and Friends share their experiences working in the film and television industry. Expert panelists, Mark Levin (UM-Ann Arbor '87), Laura Oberstaedt Abele (UM-Dearborn '94), Demian Resnick and Tom Waring (UM-Dearborn '75) share how they succeeded in the entertainment business. This panel event was hosted in partnership with the Office of Alumni Engagement, Journalism and Media Production and the Wolverine Media Network
Mark Levin (UM-Ann Arbor '87), is a writer, director, and producer of television and film — and his father was a proud member of the UM-Dearborn faculty. Mark has worked for three decades with his wife and partner Jennifer Flackett. They are the Co-Creators and Executive Producers of Netflix’s animated series Big Mouth and Human Resources. Their screenplay credits include Madeline, Journey To The Center of the Earth, Wimbledon, and The Adam Project. They wrote and directed the films Little Manhattan and Nim’s Island, which starred Jodie Foster.
Laura Oberstaedt Abele (UM-Dearborn '94), is an entertainment marketing executive with two decades of film studio experience and currently works at The Walt Disney Company. During her time as a marketing strategy lead at both New Line Cinema and Twentieth Century Fox, she oversaw the Home Entertainment campaigns for a diverse slate of films and franchises including The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Notebook, Hairspray, Avatar, Titanic, Star Wars and more. Abele moved into Theatrical marketing and oversaw the International campaigns for the films The Fault in Our Stars, The Maze Runner trilogy, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, and many more. In addition, she produced industry events at Comic-Cons in San Diego and Sao Paulo, Brazil, as well as CineEurope in Barcelona, Spain, showcasing such films as Final Destination, Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Peanuts Movie, Bohemian Rhapsody, and The Greatest Showman. Abele earned her B.A. in Sociology at the UM-Dearborn. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and adorable terrier mix.
Demian Resnick is a 25 year veteran of the film and television industry. He began his career primarily in the Location Department, including as a New York based Location Manager for 16 years on productions including Cloverfield, Morning Glory, Super 8, The Leftovers, and Mr. Robot. Since 2015 he has worked as a Unit Production Manager and Producer in scripted television and feature films. His credits include Marvel’s Luke Cage, Hightown, Harlem, and Ramy as well as the recently released Apple feature film Sharper and the upcoming Untitled Jon Watts Project. Demian is a native New Yorker and lives in Manhattan with his wife, three children and two dogs.
Tom Waring (UM-Dearborn '75), was drawn to UM-Dearborn by their co-op program and graduated in 1975 with a B.B.A. degree in Accounting. He has had an electric career in public accounting, the automotive industry, international currency, and entertainment. His systems, financial and operational skills gleaned from his years at American Motors Corporation and Volkswagen of America led him to a position at Lyrick Corporation - parent of Barney & Friends and Wishbone, both of which aired on PBS, where he eventually became the CFO. Sandwiched between two stints at Lyrick, Tom worked at Currency Systems International (CSI), first as Controller, then as President. CSI designed, built, installed and serviced high-speed banknote counting and sorting equipment used by central and commercial banks around the world. In the spring of 2001, Tom and his family relocated to Raleigh NC and co-founded Trailblazer Studios where he has served and CEO and CFO since December 2001.
Adam Sekuler is a filmmaker, curator, educator and editor. Screening in forums and film festivals throughout the US and internationally, his many alternative films strike a delicate balance between stylization and naturalism, creating a poetic and lyrical form of visual storytelling. His feature length documentary Tomorrow Never Knows won the Radical Empathy Jury Award at the Chicago Underground Film Festival where his film 36 Hours also won the Carolee Schneemann Award. He's produced short works for Barry Jenkins, Lisandro Alonso, Josh and Benny Safdie, Valerie Massadian, Amie Siegel, and Joe Swanberg. As an editor he's worked with Robinson Devor, Courtney Stephens, Pacho Velez and Stephanie Spray. He serves as an Assistant Professor at University of Michigan-Dearborn, holds an M.F.A. in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado, Boulder, is Founder and Programmer of Radar: Exchanges in Dance Film Frequencies, and was Program Director for Northwest Film Forum.
View the video
Video Length 1:26:13
Presentation Summary: University of Michigan-Dearborn graduates, and successful real estate investors and entrepreneurs, Alex Krasuski (B.B.A. '16) and Michael Hattar (B.B.A. '16) share their expertise and answer questions on their experience in residential real estate.
Speakers' Bio's: Alex Krasuski (B.B.A. ’16), is a real estate investor and entrepreneur from Milford, Michigan. Alex wholly owns twelve single family rentals in Dearborn, Michigan and he owns seven more with his business partner, Michael. In addition to building his rental portfolio, Alex invests in limited partnership ventures nationwide.
When he was nineteen years old, Alex bought his first house. At the time, he was a sophomore at the University of Michigan-Dearborn studying Accounting. He rented rooms to fellow college students, beginning his side-gig as a real estate investor.
After Alex graduated from college in 2016, he was accepted to Wayne State Law School on a full ride scholarship. He graduated law school magna cum laude in 2020, earned the distinction Order of the Coif, and passed the Michigan bar exam. After working as an associate attorney at Bodman for nine months, Alex left the firm to pursue real estate investing full-time.
Alex ran varsity cross country and club track and field in college and law school. Alex is still an avid runner. In October 2021, Alex ran the Detroit Marathon in less than three hours. In August 2022, he won first place in the Triple Threat Half Marathon in Massachusetts. He plans to run the Boston Marathon in April 2023. In his free time, Alex enjoys camping out of his Dodge minivan, riding his motorcycle, and reading books on business and investing.
Michael Hattar (B.B.A. ’16), is a CPA, real estate investor, and entrepreneur from Dearborn, Michigan. Michael owns eight single-family rental homes in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, and Lincoln Park, Michigan. In addition, Michael owns seven single-family rental homes with his business partner, Alex.
Michael graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s College of Business with a dual major degree in Accounting and Finance. Shortly after graduation, Michael sat and passed the CPA exams, started his career in Big 4 public accounting, and bought his first rental property.
Currently, Michael works as a Tax Manager at Deloitte and attends law school at Wayne State University in the evening. In his free time, Mike enjoys spending time with his family, fiancée, and traveling to other countries and learning about different cultures around the world.
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Video Length 1:02:05
Presentation Summary: UM-Dearborn alumna Jasmine Rostkowski, '15 B.B.A., shares her past experiences of competing in the Business Idea Pitch Competition hosted by the College of Business's iLabs. She discusses how this special program prepared her for success and why students should participate in these unique opportunities. This discussion is moderated by iLabs project manager and UM-Dearborn alumna Kari Kowalski, '16 B.B.A.
You can also view the 2022 UM-Dearborn Business Idea Pitch First Place Winner, from Team Grilli Pasta!
If you would like to support competitions like this and create opportunities for our students, please consider making a gift to the College of Business's iLabs Office of Engagement and Impact.
Speaker's Bio: Jasmine Rostkowski is a 2015 University of Michigan-Dearborn graduate who received her degree from the College of Business in Digital Marketing. During her time at the University of Michigan-Dearborn she participated in the Elliot Business Pitch Competition in 2013 and 2014 and won awards both times for her ideas My PSA (personal shopping assistant) and DIneRoll. Pitching in this competition led to her participating in Startup Weekend, doing three business accelerator programs at TechTown in Detroit, and building a startup team with investors. Currently, Jasmine works at Sincro as an Analytics & Insights Manager pursuing her passion for data. During her free time she likes spending time with family and friends, walking her dogs, traveling, and doing epoxy projects.
Moderator's Bio: Kari Kowalski graduated from the College of Business at the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2016 with a BBA in marketing. Since 2017, she has held the position as iLabs project manager. Her background is in project management and market research.
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Video Length 15:21
Presentation Summary: Celebrate National Reading Month with UM-Dearborn! Join Associate Professor of Reading and Language Arts, Danielle DeFauw, for a conversation with alumna Robin Wilson ‘18 B.A., on how she made her passion a reality by having her children’s book, Mama Got Rhythm Daddy Got Rhyme , published by Bristow Publishing (Illustrated by Mario Moore) published. Robin also shares more about her time at UM-Dearborn, the inspiration behind her book and her commitment to campus.
Following the conversation, Robin reads from her book where we follow young Jasmine on her journey to the Jazz Museum. She learns about great jazz musicians of the past and how their music influenced the music she loves today.
Watch with your future UM-Dearborn Wolverines!
Speaker's Bio: Robin Wilson, is a literacy nonprofit founder, published children's author, poet, certified elementary school teacher, nonprofit consultant and motivational speaker.
The founder and CEO of Robin Wilson Educational Consulting LLC, she combines her lived experiences, research knowledge, and professional experience to guide nonprofit organizations in developing effective strategies for serving youth, especially young girls and women.
With more than 10 years of experience working on literacy initiatives and in the nonprofit sector, Robin has worked directly with people from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Specifically, she has taught English as a second language locally and abroad, as well as trained adults of various cultures to become community leaders, literacy tutors, and responsible citizens.
A graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Robin earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Reading and Minor in English language arts. Currently, Robin teaches first grade at a foreign language immersion school in Detroit, Michigan.
She also serves as a citizen diplomat for Global Ties Detroit. She is a compassionate leader with a passion for uplifting and inspiring young people to lead and thrive.
View the video. Video Length 47:14, Book reading begins at 36:53
Presentation Summary: In celebration of Black History Month, join UM-Dearborn Professor Deborah Smith Pollard for a look at how she came to study her passion, gospel music. Dr. Smith Pollard shares how if you study what you love, you too will undoubtedly learn about "it" and so much more, all of which you can pass on to others. Her presentation is followed by a conversation moderated by UM-Dearborn alumna Arlisa Robinson '18 B.A.
"When I announced to a friend what I intended to make the focus of my doctoral program, she asked if I could actually get a Ph.D. studying gospel music. I took a deep breath and explained that not only is gospel music the sound many connect to the Black Church, it is what helped to shape soul, R&B, and hip hop. This vital music sustained those who were part of the Civil Rights Movement, and it has brought joy and strength to others in myriad situations. In other words, studying gospel meant also studying American history, literature, film and other parts of the culture." - Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard
Speaker's Bio: Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard, Professor of English Literature and Humanities, has been a faculty member at the University of Michigan-Dearborn for twenty-six years. She earned her doctorate in American Studies from Michigan State and spent one year of her Ph.D. program at Indiana University. She has created and taught a range of courses, including those covering the following categories: contemporary American, Women’s, and African American literatures. Her teaching has also included Africana Studies and Gospel Music History.
Her research has been published in several academic journals; among the topics are praise and worship in the urban church, Christian rap, and the changes in attire in gospel music. Her book, When the Church Becomes Your Party: Contemporary Gospel Music (Wayne State University Press) was named a Notable Book by the Library of Michigan. Her most recent article entitled “`All I See Is Your Booty and Cleavage’: Sex and the Contemporary Gospel Song,” was published in December of 2021 by The Journal of the Society for American Music, the top academic journal in its field. She is currently writing a book about the continuing international impact of the gospel arrangement of the song “Oh Happy Day” by Edwin Hawkins.
Dr. Pollard has lectured nationally and internationally on gospel music--from Hawaii to New York, and from Japan to South Africa and England. Among the other highlights in her estimation was serving as a presenter at the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival and as a panelist at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts along with gospel icons Richard Smallwood and Cedric Dent of Take 6.
On the UM-Dearborn campus, she has served as chair of the Department of Literature, Philosophy, and The Arts; director and member of African and African American Studies; co-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee with Chancellor Grasso; member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and has participated in numerous other initiatives.
In the metro Detroit community, she hosted and produced the McDonald’s GospelFest and the Motor City PraiseFest from 1983 to 2005. She produced the show “GodSounds” on Detroit’s NBC affiliate WDIV for 8 years and won a regional Emmy for its Christmas special. She has served as an on-air radio personality and producer for more than three decades on some of the city’s top stations, including 18 years on 97.9 WJLB. She is currently co-host and co-producer of “Sunday Morning Inspiration” on WMXD “Mix” 92.3 FM.
Among the honors Dr. Pollard has received on campus are The Susan B. Anthony Award from the Commission for Women and the Distinguished Service Award, both in 2010. In connection to her work in gospel music, she was named “Gospel Announcer of the Year” in 2005 during the Stellar Awards, called “The Grammys of Gospel.” In 2021, she was cited as a Michigan Heritage Award Honoree in recognition of her decades of academic, media, and community work in gospel music.
Alumni Moderator's Bio: Arlisa Robinson graduated from the University of Michigan Dearborn in 2018. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and is very passionate about youth development, engagement, and mental health. Immediately after graduating in 2018, Arlisa worked for the University of Michigan Dearborn as the Opportunity Coordinator in the Office of Metropolitan Impact (OMI). Here, she worked with teens at Osborn High School and Covenant House East, where she addressed barriers to higher education faced by young adults on Detroit’s east side. After leaving OMI, Arlisa joined The Rhonda Walker Foundation as the Program Coordinator and now fulfills the Program Manager role. Focused on addressing barriers faced by young adults in Detroit, Arlisa works with young women grades 6th-12th to enhance their knowledge in personal development, career development, college prep, health and wellness, and community outreach and cultural awareness. She strives to give youth a chance to uncover their potential and move forward toward their success while addressing underlying issues or providing them with resources that can do so. Arlisa is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Columbia University School of Social Work in the City of New York and will be graduating in the Spring of 2023.
View the video. Video Length: 18:18
Presentation Summary: UM-Dearborn alum Allen Attee, ‘01 B.A. is the Co-owner & CEO of Picasso Restaurant Group. He joins UM-Dearborn Professor of Economics Ilir Miteza for a conversation on leading with positive energy, recruiting and retaining employees during the pandemic, and his experience as an entrepreneur with an economics background.
Allen also steps into the UM-Dearborn McKinley Café kitchen, with Picasso Restaurant Group Executive Chef Dak Zorn, for a cooking demonstration on preparing a festive holiday appetizer! (recipe included below)
Speaker Bio: Allen Attee is the Co-Owner & CEO of Picasso Restaurant Group, a food service management company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Allen started in the restaurant business over 30 years ago working along side his parents and brother in the families first deli (which was only 500 sq/ft). The work ethic and lessons learned in that small deli would ultimately lay the foundation and form the cornerstone philosophies that would help create the culture that is ingrained into the company fabric to this day.
In 2009, after 8 successful years operating a second deli in Novi, Michigan, Allen began exploring the food service management business. Utilizing the business lessons he learned in college and the hands on experience he learned in the restaurants, Allen proved to be instrumental in helping the company secure its first food service contract with the Dominos Farms Office Park. In the years after, Allen would continue to be instrumental in helping secure a multitude of contracts with companies like General Motors and the University of Michigan.
Allen oversees many of the aspects of the business including, but certainly not limited to, strategic planning, company growth and development, finance, and day-to-day operations. He leads Picasso’s efforts in becoming an industry leader in sustainability and local purchasing with a focus on company culture.
Currently, Picasso employs over 200 individuals and operates 24 eateries across southeast Michigan, including UM-Dearborn. Allen and the Picasso team are the on-campus food service provider for all of UM-Dearborn including special events, catering and McKinley cafe.
Allen is active in the community as a Foundation Board member with the Farmington & Farmington Hills Foundation for Youth & Families and an annual mentor of students from the Dearborn area Young Entrepreneurs Academy (Yea!). He also spearheaded efforts to become one of only three restaurants in all of Dearborn, MI to earn Gold Status in Beaumont Hospital's Healthy Dearborn Initiative, which promotes healthy food options, sustainable efforts, and betterment of the local community.
Allen received a B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
Sesame Chicken Pea Pod Wrap Recipe
3 Chicken breasts, cubed into 8 pieces each
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce
1/2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Cup Panko (or Japanese bread crumbs)
1 Cup Flour, all purpose
1/4 Tbsp black sesame seeds
1/4 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
24 Snow Peas
Salt & Pepper
Directions: Make a marinade for the cubed chicken with the sesame oil, sweet chili sauce, and soy sauce. Marinade for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Mix together the Panko, flour, sesame seeds, and salt/pepper to taste. Bread the chicken pieces in your dry ingredient mixture and fry in oil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 7-10 minutes, until golden. Finish in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. Let cool.
Blanch snow peas for 40-60 seconds. Sock in ice water, drain, and pat dry.
Assembly: Wrap snow pea around the chicken and skewer together. Serve with a sweet chili dipping sauce.
View the conversation video. Video Length: 26:44
View the cooking demo. Video Length: 8:35
Presentation Summary: Chancellor Domenico Grasso, CASL Dean Marty Hershock, COB Dean Raju Balakrishnan, CEHHS Dean Ann Lampkin-Williams and CECS Dean Ghassan Kridli discuss the ways in which UM-Dearborn is supporting our students, describe what the Fall 2021 semester looks like, provide an update on each of the colleges and share ways that UM-Dearborn Alumni can get involved. This event is moderated by UM-Dearborn alumnus David Knezek, '12 B.A.
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Video Length: 1:00:12
A Teacher (and former student’s) Perspective on our Play Based Learning Program
Presentation Summary: UM-Dearborn alumna and Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) Teacher and former student, Catie Stone, '06 B.A. & '08 M. Ed., gives an overview of the ECEC and discusses what the program looks like, how they work with university lab students, and what sets it apart from other early childhood programs.
Speaker's Bio: Catie Stone is currently a teacher at the University of Michigan-Dearborn Early Childhood Education Center. She has a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from UM-Dearborn and a master's degree in Special Education also from UM-Dearborn. At local and state education conferences, Catherine has presented on topics related to play based learning, utilizing technology with nonverbal learners, and the Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy. Catherine has been teaching at the Early Childhood Education Center for the past 13 years at various age levels and even attended the program as a child!
Follow the UM-Dearborn Early Childhood Education Center on Social Media: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
Make a gift to the ECEC online
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Video Length: 16:45
Presentation Summary: UM-Dearborn alumnus Austin Krauss, '05 M.S. discusses his career working in video games and the impact his education at UM-Dearborn has had on his life. From gaming giant Activision Blizzard to a three-person startup and several stops in between, Austin gives his perspective on the video game industry and how a software engineering foundation has allowed him to stay current in an ever changing world of technology.
A conversation moderated by UM-Dearborn Narasimhamurthi "Nattu" Natarajan Collegiate Professor of Engineering Bruce Maxim, with an introduction from College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean, Ghassan Kridli.
Speaker Bio: Austin Krauss is a 2005 graduate from the University of Michigan-Dearborn holding a Master of Science in Software Engineering. In 2019 Austin co-founded Evernever Games with the goal of creating social VR experiences in combination with casual gameplay traditionally experienced on mobile platforms. In addition to providing design and engineering consulting services, Evernever found an early partner in Oculus having been selected as a grant recipient as part of their 2019 class of "Launch Pad", a program created to advocate VR development for diverse content experiences. Evernever's first title, Neverboard, will be available on Oculus Quest and Quest 2 in early October, 2021.
Shortly after graduation from UM-Dearborn, Austin joined Los Angeles based Activision Blizzard where he is credited in five Call of Duty titles over 8 years. Austin's most notable contribution to the franchise was bootstrapping "Zombie Mode" as the sole engineer working on the project over many nights and weekends. Austin also added "Bot AI" to the game's multiplayer mode, which became a niche favorite among players new to the game and has continued to be included in future Call of Duty titles.
In 2014 Austin left Activision to pursue independent game development with small teams focusing on rapid iteration and frequent releases to the market. Austin found mobile development intriguing as the devices tended to resemble dedicated game consoles of prior generations which offered opportunities for clever algorithm designs in order to maximize the performance of the limited hardware. His own mobile games have been downloaded by over 250,000 players across both Apple and Android devices.
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Video Length: 1:25:13
Presentation Summary: American higher education has a rich history that stems back to 1636. UM-Dearborn alum and former Assistant Vice Chancellor at UM-Dearborn, Dr. Christopher Tremblay, '14 Ed.D. has been collaborating with former UM-Flint Director of Admissions and recipient of UM-Ann Arbor's Center for the Education of Women's Advanced Leadership Certificate, Kimberley Buster-Williams along with retired UM-Dearborn Vice Chancellor Stanley Henderson on a forthcoming book that offers highlights about significant milestones in college/ university life. This publication in particular focuses on moments in history that are connected to the field of enrollment management. This session will offer a special sneak peek into the book and will share nuggets that remind us of our history. Come prepared to learn a few new pieces of information. Anyone working in education will benefit from this session.
Speakers' Bios: Kimberley Buster-Williams has been a member of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) since 1996. She currently serves as Vice President for Enrollment Management at the University of Mary Washington. In addition, she serves as Assistant Director of AACRAO’s Strategic Enrollment Management Endorsement Program (SEM-EP). Buster-Williams has more than two decades of experience in higher education, including senior administrative assignments at Northern Illinois University and the University of Michigan-Flint.
Buster-Williams earned an Ed.S. degree in Higher Education Administration, a master's degree in Education Administration, and a bachelor's degree in English, all from Old Dominion University. She also has a postmaster's certificate in leadership from the University of Michigan's Center for the Education of Women.
Buster-Williams has published over 20 articles in several academic journals and has presented both nationally and internationally. Recent presentations include: “AACRAO’s Coffee Break: Enrollment Planning for COVID-19 and Beyond, May 2020”, “SEM and Retention; The Perfect Pair” AACRAO Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) Conference, November 2018 and "We check More Than One Racial Category... Are You Ready for Us?" (College Board Southern Regional Forum, February 2016). She recently authored a leadership book titled Lollie's Leadership Quips: Mary Hewlett Brown's Style of Reasoning.
Stanley E. Henderson retired from the University of Michigan-Dearborn where he served as Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Life from 2005-2015. During that time, freshman enrollment grew by 30%, and student services were integrated and expanded. But he was most known as “the Students’ Vice Chancellor” for his support of all student success. His refrain of “We are a community of higher education” helped to inspire student engagement to new levels and brought passion to the campus’s commitment to inclusion.
In his 50 year career, Henderson has been deeply involved at the national level of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO}, where he served six years on the board of directors and as president in 1995-96. He was a founder of the Association’s national enrollment conference, now in its 30th year. He is a frequent contributor to AACRAO programs and publications, including the first history of enrollment management. His book, SEM as a Connector: Principles of Practice, will be published in November. He is also a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award and the Founders Award for Leadership. AACRAO has presented Henderson a Lifetime Achievement Award for “Outstanding Leadership in the SEM Profession” and awarded him Honorary Membership in 2015. Henderson continues to serve the association as a senior consultant for AACRAO Consulting.
Henderson earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Michigan State University as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a master’s degree in government from Cornell University. He also completed doctoral course work (ABD) at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign.
Dr. Christopher W. Tremblay has been a leader in the higher education community for 25 years, working on the college campuses of Western Michigan University, Gannon University, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, the University of Wisconsin-Superior, and Michigan State University – as well as the Michigan College Access Network. He is currently the Director of Admissions and Recruiting for the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan.
Tremblay earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication from Western Michigan University and a doctor of education degree in educational leadership from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He also earned a post-master's certificate in enrollment management from Capella University.
He currently serves as Director of the Strategic Enrollment Management Endorsement Program (SEM-EP) for the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO). As an enrollment management and admissions professional, he has published 20 articles in four different academic journals and has presented at more than 75 conferences nationally and internationally. He is also the creator of the Getting In college admissions card game, co-founder of the Journal of College Access and editor-in-chief of AACRAO’s College & University Journal.
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Video Length: 1:01:04
Presentation Summary: "Technology Futuring, Where Are We Heading? And is Solo Technologist a Role of the Past?" is a presentation from UM-Dearborn alumna and Chief Information Officer of Ford Commercial Solution, May Russell '98 B.S. It is followed by a conversation with Ms. Russell and John Cristiano, UM-Dearborn Assistant Dean for Research Development and Strategic Initiatives.
Technology is, inarguably, front and center in every aspect of how we live, what we do and how we do it. What are future technology applications and how will it impact our lives for better or for worse? Not only is technology pervasive in our lives, but to bring it to life, its no longer the singular technologist in action, but the renaissance-person as technologist.
Speaker Bio: May Russell is a Technology Executive with a track record of delivering digital and technology transformations to the enterprise, business units and the consumer. Combining “art of the possible” with rigorous methodology, innovation and thoughtful strategy, she is able to create successful digital businesses and execute to them at scale.
May is the Chief Information Officer of Ford Commercial Solution LLC (Telematics, Data Services, Integrated Fleet Mgt Products) as well as Global Head of Connected Tech Vehicle Services (Maintenance, Security), API Platforms, AI\ML. She is charged with building a technology offering that scales with global volume as well as creating best in class software engineering organization.
Prior to that role, May served as Global Delivery Head of Transportation as a Service, Digital City Solutions, Technology Monetization, and Tech Mergers & Acquisitions. Additionally, May was the Global Delivery Head of Consumer facing emerging technologies. She led a global organization of 500 working across four global software engineering labs (US, UK, China, India) as well as the Business Office: Strategy\Demand Mgt, PMO, Financials, Accounting, and Governance. The organization produces cutting edge consumer facing digital products and services that provide Ford with a leading edge as a mobility company. May has grown the organization to over 500 in less than two years, establishing best in class software engineering process, tools, and technologies while creating a vibrant workplace for a highly talented workforce. Under her leadership, the Ford and Lincoln app ratings grew to be among the highest rated among all OEM apps in each country across 3 continents.
May believes in driving consumer and shareholder value by bringing leading and emerging technology ‘art of the possible’ to real world applications. She believes in delivering value through digital products in an agile and nimble fashion – fast is the new big! Furthermore, fostering craftsmanship and talent in software engineering is key in developing a highly motivated, passionate and creative workforce.
May started her career with Ernst and Young after graduating from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a Computer Science degree. As a senior consultant with Ernst and Young, she led IT transformation programs in many industries including utilities and automotive.
May joined Ford Motor Company in 2002; she has been a leader in IT Software Delivery and Strategy in a variety of business functions such as Consumer facing technologies, Supply Chain, Marketing and Sales, Manufacturing, HR and Global Corporate Systems. She has global experience with leading teams in Asia Pacific, Americas, and Europe as well as leadership experience in building and motivating global diverse teams that successfully deliver complex enterprise solutions that provide a competitive advantage. She also has extensive delivery and strategic and operational IT leadership experience. She also holds an Executive MBA from Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.
May serves on the University of Michigan-Dearborn Alumni Board of Directors (July 2021), as the K-8 Chief Mission Officer for Michigan Council Women in Technology (MCWT) as well as serving on the advisory board of the IT Women in Leadership (ITWIL) and Midwestern Technology Leaders. In those roles she has established technology summer camps for girls, a partnership with Girls Scouts and with universities to conduct events for Girls in Tech.
May has been a speaker and panelist in numerous conferences, including, TrustBelt City Solutions Revitalization, Midwestern Technology Leaders conference, and the Enterprise Wearable Conference. She has also published Ford wide blogs on technology.
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Video length: 38:16
Presentation Summary: A conversation with UM-Dearborn alumna and President & CEO of Environmental Consulting & Technology (ECT) Bobbi Westerby '14 M.S., moderated by UM-Dearborn Professor of Earth and Environment Ulrich Kamp.
Speaker Bio: As the leader of a 250-person environmental consulting firm, Bobbi Westerby is excited about current realities and future opportunities for the professionals, projects, and industries ECT supports. Bobbi is passionate about leading and supporting environmental specialists to address topics such as climate change adaptation, operational sustainability, ecosystem restoration, and renewable development through a combination of traditional, sound science and emerging technologies, solutions, and partnerships.
With a 15-year track record in renewables, Bobbi has successfully driven project planning, permitting, and design solutions for thousands of megawatts of renewable projects and hundreds of miles of related transmission and infrastructure. With some of her earliest projects in Michigan setting the stages for the industry’s future growth and success, she is one of the most impactful women in the Midwest and Great Lakes renewables arena, continuing to stay engaged with renewable clients and projects.
As a professional, Bobbi holds a M.S. in Environmental Science from The University of Michigan Dearborn and a B.S. in Biology from Central Michigan University. She spent two years in the U.S. Peace Corps stationed in Malawi and worked as a consultant for 20 years prior to joining ECT as their Vice President of Natural Resources in 2018. On the personal side, Bobbi lives with her husband Mike, four children, and first grandchild. She enjoys hitting the trails outdoors and coaching her kids’ baseball and softball teams.
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Video Length: 49:25
Presentation Summary: A conversation with UM-Dearborn alumnus and Founder and CEO of 21C Impact David Stangis, '93 M.B.A., moderated by UM-Dearborn Assistant Professor of Business Policy and Strategy Justin Ames, with an introduction from College of Business Dean, Raju Balakrishnan.
Speaker Bio: David (Dave) Stangis is Founder and CEO of 21C Impact. He most recently served as Chief Sustainability Officer and VP Corporate Responsibility/ Public Affairs at Campbell Soup Company, where he reported to Campbell’s President and CEO. Dave currently advises leading companies on ESG, technology, and reputation and resiliency strategies.
Over the course of 20 years, Dave led two very different Fortune 500 corporations, Intel and Campbell, from a standing start to clear and consistent world-class leadership in ESG, Sustainability & Social Responsibility. He guided both companies to multi-year runs on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, the 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, the Most Reputable Companies in the U.S, World’s Most Sustainable Corporations, and recognition among the World's Most Ethical Companies.
At Campbell, he created and led the Company’s strategies and external engagement related to CSR Strategy, Responsible Sourcing, Sustainable Agriculture, and Operational Sustainability. He served as an infotech and biotech expert.
Dave has served on the boards of many non-profit organizations and two Public Benefit Corporations (Plum Organics and The Soulfull Project). As Chair of the Board at Net Impact, a global community of 100,000 emerging leaders, he led a successful CEO search and transition.
As the creator and leader of Intel’s Global Corporate Responsibility function, Dave established corporate governance processes, operationalized citizenship and sustainability, and managed activist campaigns.
Dave has been named to the 100 Most Influential in Business Ethics by Ethisphere Magazine in 2008 & 2013, and a Top 100 Thought Leader in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America every year from 2011 to 2014. He is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Babson College, an Executive Advisor for the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College and a Mentor to the AgFunder Network. Dave serves as an Advisor to Magnomer and Stojo; and is the co-author of two books on strategic corporate citizenship.
Dave earned a B.S. (Chemistry/Biology) from the University of Detroit, an M.S. in Occupational and Environmental Health from Wayne State University, and an M.B.A (Finance/Gen. Management) from UM-Dearborn.
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Video Length: 56:12
Presentation Summary: Anyone can be rich. Do you have the temperament to become wealthy? Dr. Victor, '99 M.B.A., will give three principles that will assure wealth in addition to discussing sure ways to become poor.
Speaker Bio: Dr. Lyle Victor is a Pulmonologist in Dearborn, MI, and has over 50 years of experience in the medical field, specializing in Sleep Apnea. Dr. Victor received his M.D. degree from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in 1971 and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan-Dearborn College of Business in 1999.
Dr. Victor has written six books. His most recent book, Get Rich by Saying NO!, centers around his two great passions: medicine and economics. This book was written for young professionals; including healthcare workers, graduate students, and teachers just entering their work-life and about to make many classical investment errors. Dr. Victor currently resides in Metro Detroit where he is the Medical Director at Oakwood Hospital in the Respiratory Therapy and Pulmonary Functioning Laboratory. He is also the Medical Director for the Sleep Apnea Specialty Centers of Michigan.
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Video Length: 28:11
Filmed during the university’s Martin Luther King Jr. week of events, alumnus Marc Howze, '86 B.A., Group President, Lifecycle Solutions and Chief Administrative Officer at Deere & Company, has a conversation with Keisha Blevins, UM-Dearborn Chief of Staff and co-chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) working group.
Traditionally, the annual Commitment to Inclusion event has been an opportunity for alumni, students, and campus partners to gather and reflect on how they’re promoting an inclusive community. This one-on-one conversation gave us the opportunity to dive deeper into what DEI looks like beyond policies, but in action at the individual and institutional level.
Howze shares his personal experiences growing up on the eastside of Detroit, coming to college as a first-generation student, and navigating a successful career - while asking the challenging questions; How can we be inclusive, not performative? How can organizations create ecosystems of inclusivity?
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Video Length: 58:33
Presentation Summary: Marketing Executive and UM-Dearborn alumna, Laura Abele,'94 B.A., discusses her journey from college student to marketer in the film industry. Using her personal experiences as the narrative, she provides practical advice for those charting their own career path.
Speaker Bio: Laura Abele is an entertainment marketing executive with two decades of film studio experience and currently works at The Walt Disney Company.
During her time as a marketing strategy lead at both New Line Cinema and Twentieth Century Fox, she oversaw the Home Entertainment campaigns for a diverse slate of films and franchises including The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Austin Powers, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Notebook, Hairspray, The Sound of Music, Avatar, Titanic, 007: James Bond, and Star Wars.
Abele moved into Theatrical marketing and oversaw the International campaigns for the films The Fault in Our Stars, The Maze Runner trilogy, The Revenant, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, and many more.
In addition, she produced industry events at Comic-Cons in San Diego and Sao Paulo, Brazil, as well as CineEurope in Barcelona, Spain, showcasing such films as Final Destination, Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Peanuts Movie, Alita: Battle Angel, Dark Phoenix, Bohemian Rhapsody, and The Greatest Showman.
Abele earned her B.A. in Sociology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband, Joe and adorable terrier mix, Sidney.
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Video Length: 42:40
Presentation Summary: A conversation with UM-Dearborn alumna and Facebook VP Judith Toland, '01 M.B.A., moderated by UM-Dearborn Associate Professor of Marketing Crystal Scott, with an introduction from College of Business Dean, Raju Balakrishnan.
Speaker Bio: Judy Toland is a transformational marketing c-suite executive with an engineering foundation. She joined Facebook in July 2019 as Vice President, Head of Scaled Solutions, Global Business Marketing based in the Chicago office. This global role is responsible for all digital marketing, marketing analytics and attribution, marketing governance and operations, marketing technology, and business education and certifications for the Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger B2B brands.
Judy has 26 years of experience across five industries (Technology, Chemicals, Automotive, Financial Services, and Fitness) and five Fortune 500 companies (Facebook, Monsanto, Ford Motor Company, Visteon Corporation, General Electric, and Wells Fargo). The last five years, she has held VP/SVP and Chief Marketing Officer roles with GE Capital, Wells Fargo, and most recently with Life Fitness. In these prior roles, she held responsibility for all aspects of marketing from product strategy, product and customer marketing, digital marketing and lead generation, branding, CRM, events/partnerships, customer facing training and education, and an in-house creative agency.
Judy has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She was recognized in 2017 by The Secured Lender as one of the Top 50 women in Commercial Finance. She is also a past Board Member of the Brunswick Acceptance Corporation. In addition, she is a Daniel Burnham Fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, a member of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago Board of Managers and the CMO Club, and a founding member of the Peer 150 Chicago Chapter. Judy is passionate about Diversity and Inclusion, having been a member of Diversity Councils at both GE Capital and Wells Fargo and is a past Co-Chairperson of the GE Capital, African American Network (AAF), an employee resource group.
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Video Length: 57:10
Engineering our Future: An Update on the New Engineering Lab Building
The new Engineering Lab Building will be student-focused, industry-driven and designed to inspire collaboration, innovation and cross-disciplinary teamwork. Hear an update from College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) Dean Ghassan Kridli, Facilities Operations Senior Construction Project Manager Emily Hamilton and CECS Director of Facilities and Laboratory Safety Eric Kirk on the current status of building construction. See photos of the building and learn how it will be utilized to actively facilitate an immersive, interactive and innovative learning experience.
Video Length: 19:53
Muslim Gravestones in Southeast Michigan: A Study in Diversity
University of Michigan-Dearborn Professor of Political Science and a Research Associate at the University of Michigan Center for Middle East and North African Studies, Ron Stockton has spent ten years visiting every place in Southeast Michigan where Muslims are buried. He has well over a thousand photos. His photo exhibit has been displayed in four different places. His lecture outlining his major findings has been presented many times. If you think Muslim is a single category of people, you will be surprised and entertained by this presentation.
Video Length: 50:32
COVID-19; Racial Strife; SCOTUS and other factors Shaping Election 2020
Political analyst and UM-Dearborn alum, Eric Ham, '95 B.A., discusses a cavalcade of challenges that are shaping the election. They will impact not only the race for the White House but also key races in Michigan. This presentation examines the issues; explores the key players; and seeks to explain what it all means in the lead up to November 3rd.
Video Length: 14:53
Fighting AI with AI: Debunking Deepfakes and Shallowfakes
Hafiz Malik, Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, discusses advances in artificial intelligence and multimedia (audio, video, and image) synthesis and generation technologies are the main driver behind exponential growth of deepfakes and shallowfakes. The deepfake technology manipulates audio and video of a real people saying or doing things they never said or did. Deepfake technology is weaponizing information and social media platforms are adding fuel to the fire by spreading it instantaneously. Bad actors are taking advantage of deepfake technology to spread disinformation and distort and disrupt elections, exploit vulnerabilities in biometric based access control systems and smart cities. Stung by bad actors interference in elections in the United States and throughout Europe, governments have made progress in investigating past intrusions, counteracting ongoing influence, and preparing for future malign operations. However, even as Western democracies work to construct responses and build resilience, the bad actors continue to develop new tools and re-tooling emerging technologies to spread false narratives and manipulate the political discourse. This talk will discuss trajectory of deepfake technology and associated threats to national security, financial institutions, and smart devices. This talk will present a framework to debunk deepfake attacks in real-time. We present findings of our-on-going research on detecting fake audios and videos.
Video Length: 30:03
Henry Ford II And The University of Michigan: How University of Michigan-Dearborn Came To Be
University of Michigan-Dearborn associate professor in the Language, Culture, and Communication Department and executive producer of The Detroit History Podcast, Tim Kiska traces how a piece of Henry Ford's old property became a college campus.
Video length: 5:39
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