Here are your UM-Dearborn Medallion awardees for Fall 2021

November 29, 2021

To acknowledge the number of strong medallion candidates among UM-Dearborn’s top graduates, three medallions recipients are awarded per college starting with our Fall 2021 alumni — with one of those students receiving the top Chancellor’s Medallion.

Each semester, UM-Dearborn honors a very select group of students with a medallion. Chosen by faculty from their respective colleges, graduates are recognized for their outstanding quality of character, vitality, intellect, integrity and academic record.

To acknowledge the number of strong medallion candidates among UM-Dearborn’s top graduates, instead of one graduate per college selected, three medallions recipients are awarded per college starting with the Fall 2021 alumni — with one of those students receiving the top Chancellor’s Medallion.

Meet the College of Arts, Sciences, & Letters, the College of Education, Health & Human Services recipients — including the Chancellor’s Medallion awardee, who is a CEHHS grad.

The awardees from the College of Engineering & Computer Science, which includes the student speaker for the ceremonies, and the College of Business will be shared on the UM-Dearborn news site on Thursday.

Chancellor Medallion winner: Jowan Yousef Nabha, College of Education & Health and Human Services

Jowan Yousef Nabha is completing her Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and will graduate with High Distinction. She was named a Difference Maker in 2019 because of her mentorship of her peers in the teacher certification program. Jowan was also endorsed by the university to become a Fulbright Scholar as part of the English Teaching Assistant Program in which, if selected, she would serve the interests of the United States in the Palestinian Territories. She has served as a supplemental instructor for the “Science for Elementary Teachers” course since 2018, which has allowed her to hone her pedagogical skills while providing tutoring to her fellow students. Jowan provides additional tutoring through the Read To Me mentoring program and as an Experience+ tutor. Jowan's work was highlighted under the pseudonym Zeinab in The Reading Teacher article titled “Paraphrase without plagiarism: Use RRLC (Read, Reread, List, Compose)” by Associate Professor Emeritus Raymond Kettel and Associate Professor Danielle DeFauw.

While maintaining an impressive GPA, Jowan still finds time to engage in several other extracurricular activities related to the field of education. She is a founding member of the MiED Justice Social Action Group, a student member of the Michigan Reading Association, and serves as Secretary for the Dearborn PTA District Council Board. Jowan also worked with the Young Authors Book Festival in 2016 and 2017 and has volunteered at Open House and the Wolverine Welcome Day Convocation events.

As part of her teacher certification program, Jowan engaged in multiple field-based practicums in several different K-12 schools. In addition, she successfully completed an early childhood internship at the UM-Dearborn Early Childhood Education Center as well as a full semester student teaching internship in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. These experiences allowed her to put into practice the pedagogical strategies she learned throughout the teacher certification curriculum. Her future work plans are to teach in one of the districts surrounding the UM-Dearborn campus where her focus will be building bridges between underserved families and community schools.

CEHHS Dean's Medallion recipient: Sara Almuktar 

Sara Almuktar is completing her Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services with a concentration in Human Services and a minor in Psychology. She will graduate with High Distinction and was a James B. Angell Scholar two consecutive terms, and was awarded the (M)Talent distinction in Fall 2020.

Sara has been very active in extracurricular activities and organizations both on and off campus. She is an executive board member of Coping with Care and Culture: The Musician’s Club. She is also a general member of several groups, including the Engaged Scholars Community, Talent Gateway, UNICEF, Fresh Start, Program Engagement Committee, and the DUCC Mentoring Program. In addition, Sara has been a participant in the CRUISE to Success program and worked with Public Health in Action to organize food drives and hand deliver food boxes in Metro Detroit. 

Sara participated in a directed study with Clinical and Humanistic Psychologist, Dr. Tiffany Boards, providing psychotherapy and increasing emotional intelligence to African American high school students through the implementation of a program called “i am enough.” She has also worked alongside Associate Professors Natalie Sampson and Carmel Price as a research assistant in collaboration with Literacy Works in Chicago and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to promote plain language as a prerequisite for environmental health justice. Their research has been submitted for publication in the journal Environmental Justice and has been featured on the Environmental Health Research-to-Action (EHRA) website. Sara also serves as a supplemental instruction leader for a quantitative research methods and statistics course and as a teaching assistant for a medical terminology class. Sara was recently admitted into the University of Michigan School of Social Work and plans on starting her master’s degree in clinical social work in Fall 2022.

CEHHS Dean's Medallion recipient: Hayat Hachem

Hayat Hachem graduated in Summer 2021 with High Distinction and earned her Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services with a concentration in Pre-Health Professions. As an undergraduate, Hayat was an active member of the Student Activities Board, Public Health Society, Pre-Professional Health Society, and the Pre-Physician Assistant Association, where she served on the Executive Board as the Social Media Ambassador. She also worked as a laboratory assistant for the chemistry and physics departments on campus.  

Hayat completed two internship experiences during her undergraduate studies. In the Winter 2021 semester, she was a health and human services intern for EJK & Associates, LLC. In this capacity, she implemented and reviewed various health policies for home health care companies, conducted interviews and assessed qualifications of candidates, researched various care facilities to assist clients with their health needs, and assisted with management needs. During the Summer 2021 semester, she was a community health and wellbeing intern for Trinity Health. In this internship, she utilized excel to compile, organize and input data, and she also designed PowerBI visualization reports and dashboards.

Hayat is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Michigan-Dearborn in Health Information Technology and is on track to graduate in 2023. She recently started working as a data analyst for Trinity Health and hopes to be involved in either user design/user experience or data analytics within consumer health informatics.

College of Arts, Sciences, & Letters Dean's Medallion recipient: Daniel J. Arini 

Daniel J. Arini is earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies with a Resource Policy and Management concentration and a minor in Geography. He is graduating with the honor of High Distinction. Daniel has contributed to environmental causes and social impact in a range of venues at the university. As treasurer of the UM-Dearborn ECO Club, he and other club members have focused on reducing the impacts of palm oil via divestment campaigns on and off campus. Daniel is also a co-founder of the Climate Action Movement student organization. He participates in both the Turn up Turnout and Dinners for Democracy programs at the University of Michigan, which have goals to increase voter participation and educate on voting topics, respectively. He mentors other undergraduates through the Wolverine Mentor Collective and has volunteered at the UM-Dearborn Environmental Interpretive Center.

Outside organizations have recognized Daniel’s accomplishments. In 2019, he was a Summit Award recipient, based on a service project he led to plant trees, remove invasive species, and maintain infrastructure at Maybury State Park. In 2020, he earned a Udall Foundation Scholar honorable mention. In 2021, he was selected to be part of the United Nations Millennium Fellowship program, an international leadership development program focused on social impact. As a Millennium Fellow, Daniel is currently developing an online 3D museum space for team-based environmental activism. Daniel completed an internship for the City of Dearborn in Summer 2021. Through this sustainability-focused internship, Daniel completed a report for the city titled “Community Resiliency through an Equity Lens: Benchmarking and Recommendations for the City of Dearborn.” The goal of this internship and resulting report was to initiate Dearborn’s urban environmental resilience planning. Daniel’s internship was supervised by UM-Dearborn alumnus Dave Norwood, who is now Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Dearborn. According to Norwood, Daniel’s work was exceptional and he “absolutely knocked it out of the park.”

Daniel intends to attend graduate school and plans to pursue research on open educational pedagogies and resources. Aside from continuing his studies, Daniel also plans to devote time to sustainability issues, such as palm-oil reduction and replacement of resource-intensive turfgrasses with native permaculture plantings.

CASL Dean's Medallion recipient: Ramzi Bitar

Ramzi Bitar is earning a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and is graduating with High Distinction. He began attending the University of Michigan-Dearborn in the Fall 2017 term and has maintained a very strong academic record and has been recognized within the Natural Sciences department, receiving the Freshman Chemistry Award in 2018 and the ACS Organic Chemistry Award in 2020.

Ramzi has a strong interest in research and spent several years as an undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of Chemistry Professor Krisanu Bandyopadhyay, studying the fabrication of two-dimensional gold nanoparticles for use as electrochemical biosensors of glucose. Ramzi’s research required proficiency in chemistry as well as materials science and physics to successfully apply the techniques needed to construct these microscopic particles. According to Bandyopadhyay, Ramzi “performed excellently, by perfecting these techniques and by performing innumerable experiments. He expects that Ramzi’s work will have long-term impact in the lab and recognizes Ramzi as “an outstanding student who has strong perseverance, dedication, willingness, and strong commitment towards his work.” Ramzi has presented his research in several poster sessions, including the 2019 Central Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Midland, Michigan.

Aside from research, Ramzi has been active on the UM-Dearborn campus as a supplemental instruction leader for both General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry courses. Off campus, Ramzi is involved in a broad range of community initiatives. He is president of the Muslim American Student Council and a member of the mosque construction committee at the Islamic Institute of Knowledge in Dearborn. He volunteers with Students Engaged in Relief and Volunteering Efforts, an organization dedicated to local charitable endeavors such as food and clothing drives. Ramzi served as a Vaccinator Support Representative at the TCF Center during the major push to vaccinate individuals against COVID-19. He also works as a medical scribe. Ramzi plans to attend medical school after graduating from UM-Dearborn and intends to practice anesthesiology or sports medicine. 

CASL Dean's Medallion recipient: Angelia Pusino

Angelia Pusino is earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a minor in Linguistics and French Studies. She is graduating with High Distinction and maintained an outstanding GPA throughout her student career.

Angelia has proven to be a versatile student with a highly interdisciplinary approach to her studies. When she arrived at UM-Dearborn, she started taking French courses, and faculty immediately noticed both her aptitude and fearlessness in learning a new language. French Lecturer Georgy Khabarovskiy noted her resilience, perseverance and courage in practicing her language skills at every opportunity. And French Professor and Interim Provost Gabriella Scarlatta was impressed by her fluency in both written and oral French. Typically, it takes many years to develop the advanced language skills that Angelia has been able to achieve in just four years at UM-Dearborn.

Angelia’s achievements in her French courses shine even brighter when considering French was not even her major, and her high academic performance extended to her Communications coursework as well. “Continuing studies in two separate fields is usually not simple, but Angelia managed her time and effort well to fit everything together,” said Linguistics Professor Jamie Shinhee Lee, who had her as a student in five courses. “Her academic performance in each of these courses was consistently excellent.” Another one of Angelia’s Communications professors noted her outstanding research skills and high levels of creativity, particularly in her work in a Gender and Media Studies course. Beyond campus, Angelia is also an active member of her community. She currently serves as an administrative assistant for the City of Romulus and plans to continue giving back to her community after graduation.

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