CASL students share their appreciation for scholarships

September 9, 2021

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 awarded its first two scholarship recipients. Over the past 25 years, the group has presented 139 scholarships, with over $210,000 of scholarship aid. 

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

Penny Kane (Integrative Studies and Criminology & Criminal Justice)

I am so grateful and overwhelmed to learn that I was selected for the CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship once again. This honor is even more significant to me in the 25th year of this scholarship.  Being a part of the University of Michigan-Dearborn CASL family gives me a true sense of belonging that I do not have elsewhere.

During my 58 months of incarceration at Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility, I witnessed many atrocities 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 and 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 from inside those walls.

This fall, I will begin my seventh semester at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and many of my ongoing scholarships have expired. By awarding me the CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship, you have significantly 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 look forward to the time to pay this forward in the future and hopefully serve on this alumni committee.

Nicolina Matti (Chemistry)

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be considered for the CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship and for being awarded and recognized by CASL alumni. I am truly humbled by the support I receive from my community as I navigate through my educational journey here at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

One of the greatest obstacles of attending university is paying for my education. While my parents are my biggest supporters as I chase my dreams, paying for college has been a solo act for me. Balancing a full-time school schedule while working 15-20 hours every week is stressful, and this scholarship helps to alleviate some of the stresses of paying for my education. From a very young age, my parents have taught me how important it is to be self-driven, and that hard work really does pay off. I am motivated by the diligence my father demonstrated throughout his life, from being an immigrant at a very young age to pushing through his education while working many part-time jobs to provide for his education. I am inspired by the strength and positivity my mother carries within her as she cares for and raises five children. This scholarship helps me to pursue my education and still be to spend quality time with my life-long supporters.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a yearn for science and medicine. I have always been drawn towards children. Caring for children brings me the greatest joy and I always tell my peers that I believe my mission in life is to be a caregiver. What better way to fulfill that mission than to chase a career that allows me to care for children every day! I hope to graduate in April 2022 with a Chemistry degree and minor in psychology. In the years following my graduation, I hope to attend medical school and soon after, become a pediatrician. I want to one day be able to open my own clinic where I can use my knowledge of science and medicine to help children with disabilities live their absolute best lives.

In the next year that I am at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, I hope to continue expanding my experience in healthcare working as a Medical Assistant while shadowing as many physicians as I possibly can. I intend to continue my work with The First Gen Student Org as Treasurer and hope to create a scholarship with the money that was raised during Giving Blueday on March 10, 2021 to help support first generation college students at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I also intend to continue my volunteer work at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. All in all, my biggest goal is to stay as active as possible within my community and serve the underserved while also taking on any opportunities that allow me to expand my knowledge and understanding of medicine.

My aspirations may seem a bit far-fetched, but the help that I am receiving from CASL alumni makes these things feasible. Thank you for your kind support as I pursue my passions. I hope to pay this forward for someday in the future when I become a CASL alumni as well!

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 to my ability to complete my final year of college. 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 a steady income and the impending semester of student teaching in the Winter will further reduce my ability to work. 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 will 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 21 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 have already been in contact with multiple schools in Michigan that have expressed interest in bringing me on as a
part of their staff, even before I have graduated. I want to one day be able to open my own school, following in 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. 

During my final year at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, I intend to kick-start 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 am currently working with students from U of M Ann Arbor and UM-Flint to establish a Speech team at the University of
Michigan that focuses on the formation and fostering of public speech and debate programs in local 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. 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 nor would I be able to graduate as a proud UM-Dearborn Difference Maker, so thank you for your kind support. I look forward to sharing with you my progress in the upcoming months.

Zeena Whayeb (Psychology)

I would like to thank all CASL Alumni Affiliate members for their generous scholarship to further my education at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

This pandemic has caused my financial situation to be very unstable; working two jobs and being a full-time student has forced me to juggle many things at once and question my priorities. However, meeting individuals who recognize the importance of education and are willing to help me on my educational journey has solidified my priorities and pushed me to the next step towards achieving my long-term goal as a university professor.

I'm grateful for this financial assistance from the university's alumni, and I hope they can continue to positively influence the dedicated students at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

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