Scholarship to Inspire Greatness
Young alumnae create fund that honors their education at UM-Dearborn and looks toward the future
The African mythic Sankofa bird is able to fly forward while simultaneously looking back with an egg in its mouth, symbolizing the future.
The work of Laura Howard ('13 B.A.) and Erica Adams ('13 B.A.), two alumnae of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters embodies this legend. Their "Scholarship to Inspire Greatness" honors the education they received and looks toward the future, assisting students who are majoring or minoring in African and African American Studies (AAAS).
“I want to encourage people to major or minor in AAAS and see the importance of giving back to their community,” said Howard, who works in workforce development at ACCESS in Dearborn.
Howard and Adams created the scholarship in 2013, right after graduating. “Starting the scholarship prior to gaining financial stability was a very intentional decision,” said Howard. “Waiting to have all your ducks in a row operates on the assumption that there is a right time to be of service.”
“We started the scholarship with little to nothing to be an example to others and show how if we all just give a little of what we have it’s possible to make a big difference,” she added.
Senior Monique Hudson was truly inspired by receiving the award.
“By awarding me this scholarship, you have lightened my financial burden, but also given me hope,” she said in a letter to the donors. “Your investment into my future will help me to motivate and invest in others.”
After graduating from UM-Dearborn, Hudson hopes to obtain a doctorate in African and African American studies and women and gender studies, “in order to teach and share the knowledge that I have gained,” she said. She currently volunteers at a community center for low income households.
In addition to providing financial assistance, Howard hopes to raise awareness of two inspirational professors she had in the program: Dr. Gloria House, now retired, who was known for her quiet, yet courageous demeanor, and the late Dr. Ahmad Rahman, who was integral in transitioning AAAS from a minor to a major, serving as the program’s director and was a tremendous advocate for students. Howard credits these “campus giants” for her personal awakening and acceptance of being comfortable in her skin.
“I remember Dr. Rahman saying 'I didn’t plant anything, I was just the water to the seeds that were already in you,'” said Howard. “Studying AAAS gave me a different degree of empathy and greater sense of responsibility to my community.”
To date, three students have received this scholarship, but Howard hopes to raise funds to endow the scholarship, to benefit future generations. For more information, contact Diane Gulyas, Director of Development, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, 313-593-5504, firstname.lastname@example.org.