CASL students share their appreciation for scholarship awards

November 26, 2019

In the season of giving thanks, our CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship recipients express their appreciation.

2019 CASL alumni affiliate scholarship recipients
2019 CASL alumni affiliate scholarship recipients
Pictured left to right: Jordan Anheuser, Ian Smith, Hebah Reda, Gina Telega, Lena Hakim (not pictured Kimberly Austin-Baker)

The CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship was founded in 1995 as a way to meet its primary objective — to support the well being of the College and its faculty and students. In September 1997, the CASL Alumni Affiliate greeted its first two scholarship recipients.

Over the past 22 years, the group has presented 127 scholarships, with over $195,000 of scholarship aid. In keeping with tradition, on September 12, 2019, the Affiliate celebrated its 23rd annual scholarship reception by greeting the six 2019-20 scholarship recipients and their families, friends, and invited professors.

Below are the notes of thanks received from our recent awardees and an appreciation video.


Jordan Anheuser (Biological Sciences) 

Thank you greatly for awarding me with the scholarship opportunity. I was honored to be considered and am grateful to have been chosen. This scholarship is so valuable to me, because it means I will have assistance in the continuation of my education. I am a transfer student, so I do not receive academic scholarship, and with soccer and a full-time class schedule it is difficult for me to work more than 16 hours a week. This scholarship helps take the burden off of my family and I, and for that I am exceptionally thankful.

With this scholarship, I will continue my Bachelor of Science in Biology, with a minor in Psychology, as well as the completion of the Honors Program. I will be using this degree as a foundation of learning, to then further my education by applying to Physician Assistant programs in April 2020. I will be applying to all eight programs in Michigan, where I hope to specialize in wound care and work with the geriatric population.

I have learned so much at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and not just science information. I have learned about diversity, responsibility, and how to be a better human being, all of which will allow me to be a better Physician Assistant. I am excited and fortunate to be able to continue my education here. Again, I thank you for your consideration, it is an excellent opportunity that you all have given to me, and will undoubtedly assist me in achieving my goals. 


Kimberly Austin-Baker (English and Psychology)

I am honored to be a recipient of the 2019/2020 College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Alumni Affiliate Scholarship at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your continued support to students who need it most, like myself.

I am a Senior double-majoring in English and Psychology, and I hope to one day work with survivors of traumatic injury. At some point, I want to conduct studies and do research in the field, and this will give me the opportunity to contribute to the medical and scientific journals that many look to for findings that facilitate progress among professionals in the field of Psychology. I am currently a UM-Dearborn Difference Maker and president of the nonprofit organization DAPDET (Disability Awareness Project Detroit). I also volunteer as a peer group counselor to veteran and newly injured survivors of SCI and TBI, and my goal is to help people along their journey to recovery and help to assist in the reclaiming of their lives. My degree from UM-Dearborn is my first step to achieving this goal.

Thank you for your generosity, which has allowed me to continue my education as I am solely dependent upon scholarships and donations to complete my bachelor’s degree. Your scholarship has opened a door and the prospect of a brighter future and will play a key role in shaping me to succeed in my goals to become a successful professional. Donors like you make life brighter for people like me and I can only hope that one day, I will find myself in a position to bring a smile and resources to another student in need.

As I complete my education at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, I am very thankful for receiving your thoughtful gift. Because of your scholarship, I am one-step closer to graduation. I cannot express my gratitude enough, and I want you to know that your generous support is greatly impactful to me as I strive to achieve my dreams.

Thank you again for your thoughtful and generous contribution to my education and overall success. 

Lena Hakim (English)

I am truly thankful to have been chosen as a recipient for the scholarship. I understand that there were many candidates, so to have been selected is an honor. The generosity of the committee will allow me to reach my goals of wanting to become a social justice lawyer and a published author writing stories with diverse characters. About a year ago, I realized that while I enjoyed my original major of chemistry, English and writing was not only my real passion, but the area where I could make the best difference in the world after I completed my education. This scholarship will provide me the opportunities to be able to further thrive in my education and passion because it will help alleviate one of the struggles of college. 

This past year for my family has been a difficult one – in October 2018, my dad was laid off from his job until April, leaving my family in difficult financial standing. My father has been laid off three times, and the first two times, before I was in college, my siblings struggled paying for their education, taking out loans to be able to do so. It was difficult for my dad to watch them struggle, so I would like to thank you guys not just on my behalf, but also on my father’s behalf. It is a comfort to us both, knowing that your contribution has helped alleviate some of that struggle. 

Throughout the past two years, I have worked hard to become a well-rounded student, joining organizations and working, while also maintaining an outstanding GPA. As I look back to all the hard work I have put in to reach my goals, I realize that its continuation would be made much more difficult without the generosity of the CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship because in the reality we live in, education is an expense. I would also like to remark that your generosity has influenced my hard work because one of my own goals now is to one day be able to contribute to scholarship funds because of the positive affects it has on the education of a student. So I thank you: with your aid I am not only able to reach my goals of one day becoming a lawyer and writer, but to also ensure that my dad has one less child to worry about their education. 


Hebah Reda (Biological Sciences)

Thank you for choosing me as a recipient of the CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship. I am humbled and honored by the opportunity you have given me to continue to pursue my studies here at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. 

My passion of serving underserved Arab Americans in healthcare and social justice through a hopeful career in medicine is propelling forward thanks to your generous donation. Through my education here at the university, I hope to continue my involvement with student organizations, employ the education I have to the real world, and continue to make connections with faculty that will help me growth both as a medical school applicant and a member of my community. This scholarship will help me continue such aspirations. 

Receiving this opportunity will help reduce the financial burden on my family especially with three out of four of us children enrolled in university this coming fall! Mentorship and giving back to those who hope to pursue their passions is vital to the person I hope to be in the future and the generosity expressed towards me through this scholarship will hopefully be expressed by me towards another. Thank you. 


Ian Smith (Chemistry)

I would like to deeply thank everyone involved in the CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship. I am honored to have been selected to receive their aid. These funds will allow me to attend an ACS Regional Research Conference this summer to present my work in nanotechnology. 

Furthermore, the support of the Alumni Affiliate of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters will greatly help relieve the stresses of life. Thanks to them this coming year I will be able to continue my research, continue to work towards completing my Bachelors degree in Chemistry, and still have time to help take care of my two young nephews as my family goes through a difficult time. 

Everyone I met in the Alumni Affiliate was so kind and encouraging to my future goals, offering real advice that I can effectively apply in today’s crazy world. Not to mention the amazing chocolate chip cookies provided during the interview process! 

I cannot express my gratitude enough.

Gina Telega (Behavioral Sciences and Criminology and Criminal Justice)

Thank you immensely for choosing to help fund my education at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I know you are all aware of the financial burden placed on students who choose to further their education – especially those who obtain graduate level education like myself. Your generosity allows me and anyone else chosen for this scholarship to focus on what is most important, their studies. 

This scholarship means that I can focus on the information needed to achieve my goals. It also means that I can continue my education beyond a Bachelor of Arts and can work towards my Master of Science in Criminology & Criminal Justice. I am honored to become an Alumni of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters myself.

Thank you once again for acknowledging my hard work at UM-Dearborn and giving all students who receive these scholarships the recognition they deserve.

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