Supporting students who are making a difference

May 6, 2019

Alexander "Alan" Turfe, (’88, B.S.A.) created scholarship to honor former vice chancellor Edward J. Bagale

Edward Bagale Difference Maker Scholarship
Edward Bagale Difference Maker Scholarship
College of Business student MiKayla Adams and College of Engineering and Computer Science student Sarah Overbeck

The UM-Dearborn Difference Makers Awards program was launched ten years ago in honor of the university’s 50th anniversary to recognize 50 students for their outstanding academic achievements, integrity, leadership and creative contributions to the classroom and community. In 2012, the Edward J. Bagale “Difference Makers” Scholarship was established by a gift from Alexander "Alan" Turfe, (’88, B.S.A.) and his family as a tribute to the former vice chancellor for government relations at UM-Dearborn.

“God has blessed me with the ‘best-est’ of angels, Ed Bagale. Ed, you are the Difference Maker in my life,” said Turfe in a note to Bagale. “To the Difference Makers, we are all excited about your projects and futures. I trust that as your careers grow, that you will quietly help and give back to this university and never forget the example of Ed Bagale.”

Since then, more than $28,000 has been awarded to 17 Difference Makers through this fund which has supported scholarships and student-led projects including a diversity summit and TEDxUMDearborn, as well as travel funding for two graduate students to go to the MIT Bootcamp in Australia.

This year, $2,500 scholarships were awarded to MiKayla Adams and Sarah Overbeck.

Adams is a College of Business student hoping to pursue supply chain management. A former platoon guide in the U.S. Army and currently a leader in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), she plans to be an active duty officer with a focus on logistics when she graduates, ideally in 2021.

Outside her military service and full-time studies, Adams still finds time for a rich campus life. She’s a devoted member of the UM-Dearborn cheer squad, which makes 40 appearances a semester in support of student-athletes. She’s active with the Black Student Union. And as a member of the Student Veterans Association, she’s assembled care packages for troops overseas and been a mainstay volunteer at Veteran of the Game tailgate festivities at U-M home football games.

“This scholarship will help me reach my goal of graduating in three years,” she said. “The extra money from this scholarship will allow me to be able to afford taking on more credit hours.”

“The scholarship likes to acknowledge hardworking students who contribute to their community and display leadership,” she added. “It is rewarding that someone recognized those abilities in me.”

Overbeck is pursuing a dual degree in Electrical Engineering and Engineering Mathematics with the goal of an engineering career in the aerospace industry. She interned at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland as a Test Engineer.

She has always had a passion for outer space. “It’s our ‘final frontier,’ the next phase of human exploration,” she said, adding that she wants to be a part of the efforts being made in this area to expand our knowledge of the universe and, eventually, explore it first-hand.

“I am so grateful to be a recipient of the Edward J. Bagale ‘Difference Maker’ Scholarship,” she said. “The great support I have received will allow me to continue to explore my interests in depth without fear of financial struggles in the coming years.

“This scholarship will help me to finish my education and start a career through which I hope to give back to UM-Dearborn.”

Both young women believe their experiences at UM-Dearborn will play a major impact on their academic and career success.

“At Dearborn, I have built relationships and learned how to better interact with people which will help me in the work world,” Adams said. “Easy access to faculty and other resources has contributed to my success at UM-Dearborn.”

Overbeck agreed. “The professors I have taken courses with have been willing to help students on an individual level where needed. That kind of personal attention is priceless. No professor will turn you away,” she said.

To learn more about the Difference Maker program and how Adams and Overbeck have been making a difference at UM-Dearborn and beyond, visit

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