CASL students share their appreciation for scholarships

October 9, 2020

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

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 23 years, the group has presented 133 scholarships, with over $200,000 of scholarship aid. On October 8, 2020, the CASL Alumni Scholarship Committee celebrated its 24th annual scholarship reception by greeting virtually the six 2020-21 scholarship recipients and their and invited professors.

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

Dhuha Al-Rasool (Chemistry)

Thank you very much for selecting me to receive this scholarship. I am a first generation college student trying to navigate my way through college and into medical school.

This scholarship allows me to work less hours to pay my tuition and instead allows me to spend my time volunteering and gaining clinical experiences. All of the community service and clinical experience will allow me to gain the skills I need to become an incredible doctor. With this scholarship, I am one step closer to achieving my academic and career goals.

Again, thank you very much. I appreciate all the hard work you do to provide this scholarship.

Lena Hakim (English and Arab American Studies)

I am humbled and excited to be awarded the 2020-2021 CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship. The opportunity to be able to continue my studies without having to stress over finances is an emotion I am beyond thankful for.

My passion in life is writing and educating others on what can be achieved when the right words are spoken and written. Growing up, I noticed a lack of Arab/Muslim American representation in the young adult novels I was reading and thus could never relate to any of the characters. As a young girl, it was difficult to not have characters I could identify with. That is why one of my life goals is to write these stories for the next generation of readers. Moreover, I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in English literature with a concentration in Arab American writing to be able to one day teach the importance of diverse writing to the next set of writers and thinkers in the world. This scholarship will allow me to focus on honing in on my writing, teaching, and creative education without having to worry about the cost of my education, and for that, I express my sincerest gratitude to the CASL Alumni Affiliate Committee.

More so, to know that I have the support of the committee and they believe in me enough to award me this scholarship is even more valuable than the monetary award. I will have the confidence to achieve my goals and one day pass on the same emotional and monetary support to someone else. Once again, thank you to the CASL Alumni Affiliate.

Penny Kane (Integrative Studies and Criminology & Criminal Justice)

I was overwhelmed to learn that I was selected for the CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship.  It came up during my interview with the alumni for the scholarship that being a part of the University of Michigan-Dearborn CASL family gives me a sense of belonging that I do not have elsewhere.

During the 58 months I was incarcerated at Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility I witnessed many atrocities firsthand that inspired me to advocate for prisoners' rights from inside the gates.  Working on criminal justice reform, I plan to continue bringing awareness to the civil rights and policy violation issues concerning the incarcerated as well as advocating for prisoners' rights.  I have learned so much about the reentry process and the criminal justice system since my release in March 2018.  I plan to share my knowledge and education with those I left behind as a reentry specialist.  I knew That I had to be the voice for those I left behind, especially those that may never leave those four walls.

By awarding me the CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship, you have greatly lightened my financial burden, as I am all alone and completely support myself. This scholarship will ensure that I reach my educational goal without delay.  I hope that I will be able to pay this forward in the future and hopefully serve on this alumni committee why doing so.

Jac Lemieux (History and Secondary Education)

First, I want to thank everyone involved in the review and interview process. This scholarship will help me greatly.

I am beginning my senior year at the University of Michigan-Dearborn this fall and preparing to start my professional career in education. The CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship will help ease the burdens of this transition by lowering the cost of my senior year. Additionally, this financial support will allow me to purchase needed supplies for my upcoming semester of student teaching in Winter 2021.

Thank you again from a very grateful CASL student. Your continued support brings more happiness to CASL students than you will ever know.

Katarina Moore (English and Secondary Education)

Thank you very much for your generous scholarship and for allowing me to continue my education at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Your support of my educational journey through financial assistance is beneficial in the continuation of my schooling in the Fall. I come from a lower-income household and I work multiple part-time jobs during the school year to keep up with the costs of transportation and collegiate life; however, the coronavirus pandemic has made it so that I no longer have steady income throughout the summer that I depend upon for my school-related expenses. This scholarship alleviates some of the financial burdens that my family and I would feel, so I am very grateful for your assistance.

I currently intend to graduate in four years with an English degree and an endorsed Speech minor, as well as a Secondary Education Teaching Certificate. The track that I am on is supposed to take somewhere between four-and-a-half to six years, but I am confident that I can finish in four so that I may start teaching as quickly as possible. I have been working toward this goal by taking between 15 and 19 credit hours each fall and winter semester, as well as summer classes. I am not expediting my degree track because I want to be out of college; it is because I know that my skills will be much better utilized in a classroom that I can call my own. Upon my graduation in the spring of 2022, I hope to bring my unique, holistic teaching style to an environment that needs it so that I may help as many students as possible. I want to one day be able to open my own school, following after the footsteps of Maria Montessori and George and Annamarie Roeper, as I believe their child-centered philosophies of education work well and can be used for the educational betterment of many children.

In the next two years that I am at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, I intend to begin my educational career in the classroom by bringing competitive speech and debate programs to local schools. I was a public speech and debate competitor all throughout middle and high school, so I witnessed the effect that public speaking can have on young people. Public speech and debate competitions in Michigan are currently dominated by upper-class schools, though the benefits of public speech are universal and should be accessible to all children. I would like to establish a Speech team at the University of Michigan-Dearborn that focuses on the formation and fostering of public speech and debate programs in Dearborn and Detroit Public Schools with the end goal of competing in various local tournaments. Hopefully, my efforts would then create a long-term program plan that would remain in place for years to come and would open up communication between the university and Michigan Speech programs to achieve the goal of holding a state-wide tournament on our campus. The speech programs would aim to bring other MSCI and MIFA State Championship titleholders like myself to these schools in order to bolster their learning processes, as well as offer these students the opportunity to attend public-speech oriented TEDx events that I curate for at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Though my goals may seem lofty, they are attainable. Without your help, I would not feasibly be able to pursue the things I am passionate about, so thank you for your kind support. I look forward to sharing with you my progress in the upcoming months.

Madelyn Vasbinder (Anthropology and French Studies)

I cannot thank you enough for this scholarship award you have allowed for me to receive. This fall, I will be entering my senior year at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, my fourth year on campus (hopefully, we will see how safety measures in response to COVID-19 pan out, but either way, my fourth year enrolled). I cannot believe I have come so far already.

Looking back on my time here at UM-Dearborn, it all seems to have gone by so quickly. I think back to my first day of classes and realize that, in the best way possible, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I can say with full honesty that I’ve found my home on this campus- through my studies and time spent with professors who have become role models, my friends I have met here who feel like family, all of the events and extra curricular activities I’ve had so much fun with, and even getting to work on campus as a Supplemental Instruction Leader, helping students with their own coursework. Education is my top priority and here at UM-Dearborn I have learned just how influential it can be, just how much it can change a life.

I am planning on getting a PhD in Anthropology so that I can teach students myself one day, in a university setting just like the one I’ve fallen in love with here. I know I have a long road ahead of me on this journey but I am ready for it, and what lies at the end makes it all worth it. Teaching is my calling. Helping others find their love of learning, as I have found mine here, is what I know I am designed to do. And every single person that contributes to my journey in any way is so important to me. I know I could not do the things that I am blessed to be able to do without the help of others.

Specifically with this scholarship, I know that it will help for me to continue on here at UM-Dearborn. I pay for most of my schooling with loans and with COVID-19 I am not sure how that will pan out for my final year of my undergrad. I have been pinching my pennies in preparation, as each semester I personally cover what my loans do not when it comes to paying for tuition. This means that this scholarship and the generous donations that make it possible do go a long way in helping me focus on my education rather than worrying about my finances. Every bit of this is a weight lifted off of my shoulders, and I plan to pass this positivity forward through my studies and make my final year here at UM-Dearborn an impactful one. Especially knowing I’ve got some amazing alumni, who undoubtedly have their own fond memories of our beautiful school, backing me.

I am forever grateful to those who help me on my journey to achieve my goals and catch my dreams. Thank you for helping to support me on the way!

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