Students named Chancellor's Medallion recipients for academic achievement, character

12/15/2018

UM-Dearborn recognized the five recipients and two student speakers during Saturday's commencement ceremonies.

Chancellor's Medallion recipients and student speaker
Chancellor's Medallion recipients and student speaker
Thomas O'Donahue, Con Lustig, Courtney Grove-Dyer and Majd Faraj pose with alumni speaker Gay Johnson ('17 B.A.) before the afternoon commencement ceremony.

University of Michigan-Dearborn recognized five students as Chancellor’s Medallion recipients and two student speakers during Saturday’s commencement ceremonies.

Morning Speaker

Dina Shohatee earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree in bioengineering. She is a recipient of the Daimler Chrysler Scholarship.

An active member of the campus community, Shohatee was a bioengineering research assistant, working with Associate Professor Gargi Ghosh. This experience provided an opportunity for Shohatee to become lead author on a published paper,Hydrogel-based suspension array for biomarker detection using horseradish peroxidase-mediated silver precipitation. She served as an Innovators!Summer Camp assistant, where she encouraged 5th-7th graders to learn engineering activities, including coding with Arduino and soldering. She also worked as a student assistant in the Science Learning Center and as an intern in the Disability Services office. 

Shohatee served as president of the BioMedical Engineering Society (BMES). As such, she acted as host for the group’s annual Research Day on campus. She presented her research to the BMES Conference in Phoenix last year and attended this year’s conference in Atlanta. She volunteered at Maker Faire Detroit in 2016 and 2018, where she demonstrated simple engineering projects and encouraged young Maker Faire attendees to build their own. She also was an active member of the Chemistry Club and the Chess Club.

Shohatee has won two UM-Dearborn Writing Awards, one for poetry and the second for a short story,Love In A Test-tube.

In the near future, Shohatee plans to work in a laboratory doing cardiovascular research.

Afternoon Speaker

Courtney Grove-Dyer graduated with a Bachelor of General Studies degree, with concentrations in leadership and communication in organizations, African and African American studies, and management. Grove-Dyer is a recipient of the Fast FOURward Scholarship and the Kochoff Pathway to Success Scholarship.

Grove-Dyer returned to college after a break in her studies. The SOAR (Support, Opportunities, Advocacy and Resources) Program for returning adult students helped her with this transition and with balancing life with her educational goals. She also is a member of the Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL) Program, a program for undergraduate students that integrates Women’s and Gender Studies curriculum with leadership opportunities outside of the classroom. 

Grove-Dyer co-authored a presentation at the May 2018 Meeting of Minds research event titled “Unsung Heroes: African American Women’s Leadership in the Era before Civil Rights.” She also participated in the university’s 2018 Celebrating Donors event by presenting a poster on this same research project. Earlier this semester, her Black Suffrage Research Project (a bibliography of Laura A. Westbrook) was published in The Black Suffragists Collection.

During Summer 2018, Grove-Dyer interned in the UM-Dearborn Office of Metropolitan Impact as a grant writer and was named Intern of the Year for 2018. She recently founded Detroit Power Detroit, Inc., a nonprofit organization aiming to enhance the overall quality of life for minority women in the Detroit community.

After graduation, Grove-Dyer plans to continue building her nonprofit organization and may pursue a master’s degree in either public policy or law.

College of Business Chancellor’s Medallion Recipient

Angela Karkoski received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in accounting. She graduates with High Distinction, having earned a 3.96 GPA. In addition to receiving the Chancellor’s Scholarship in 2014, Karkoski also has been on the Dean’s List and received the Dean’s Scholarship for eight semesters. She received University Honors twice in 2014. 

Along with her academic accomplishments, Karkoski has many accomplishments through her extracurricular activities. She twice participated in the Beta Alpha Psi Midwest Regional Competition; the chapter received first and second place in two categories in 2017 and earned second place in 2018. She is a Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society recipient and a 2018 Financial Executive Institute Award winner. 

Karkoski held multiple positions throughout her college career. Until recently, she was a general manager at Jet’s Pizza, where she worked for four years. She completed two internships — one with Ernst & Young as an FSO assurance intern and one with BorgWarner, where she currently works as an internal auditor. 

Karkoski also has volunteered her time to many causes, including (but not exclusive to) Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Gleaners Community Food Bank, Salvation Army and Love a MI Vet. 

After graduation, Karkoski has been offered a full-time position in the field of FSO assurance at Ernst & Young, which will begin in September 2019. Until then, she will continue in her internship and work toward her CPA credential. Karkoski also plans to continue her work with the community by volunteering with various organizations. 

College of Engineering and Computer Science Chancellor’s Medallion Recipient

Erica Magnuson will receive a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) degree in industrial and systems engineering, graduating with High Distinction. Upon admission to UM-Dearborn in fall 2014, Magnuson was a recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship. She was awarded University Honors in 2014, 2016 and 2017. She was a recipient of the William J. Branstrom Prize in 2015 and named a James B. Angell Scholar in 2018. She has been named to the Dean’s List eight times. 

In recognition of her leadership and service, Magnuson was recognized as a UM-Dearborn Difference Maker in 2017. Also in 2017, she was awarded the Ford Motor Company Alan Mulally Leadership in Engineering Scholarship, a $10,000 scholarship that is awarded to only 10 students across the country. 

Magnuson has been very active on campus and in CECS. She has served as president of Alpha Pi Mu Industrial Engineering Honor Society and holds leadership positions in several organizations, including Phi Sigma Sigma, Tau Beta Pi, Golden Key International Honor Society, The National Society of Leadership and Success, and Society of Women Engineers.

Magnuson was an orientation leader for incoming students, a Wolverines Orientation Wilderness (WOW) camp counselor, and has been an Engineering 100 lab assistant since 2016. She has served as a CECS peer mentor in mathematics and has worked with K-12 STEM outreach programs, introducing grade school students to the fundamentals of engineering. She has volunteered with CECS at Maker Faire Detroit and with the Society of Women Engineers at the Girls FIRST Robotics Competition. Magnuson also worked with other CECS student leaders to bring a Girl’s Engineering Exploration Day to campus in the summer of 2017. 

Magnuson has held three engineering co-op positions at DTE Energy since 2016, where she has worked in various departments on continuous improvement projects and on research opportunities for system efficiency in cost reduction and time optimization. Upon graduation, Magnuson will begin a full-time position as an associate engineer in the continuous improvement group at DTE Energy.

College of Education, Health, and Human Services Chancellor's Medallion Recipient

Thomas O’Donohue earned his Bachelor of Science degree in public health and graduated with High Distinction. He has been on the Dean’s List for five terms and earned University Honors five times. He is the recipient of the Chancellor’s Scholarship (Fall 2014-Winter 2018) and the Barnes and Noble Bookstore Scholarship (Fall 2018).

As part of his studies, O’Donohue completed an internship with the Wayne County Health Department. Through this experience he learned about several different aspects of the health department. Some of this specific work included collaborating with a public health nurse and environmentalist to investigate elevated blood lead levels, participating in restaurant and pool inspections, and working with emergency preparedness managers.

O’Donohue has volunteered with the American Red Cross and makes a point of giving blood as often as he can. He also has volunteered with Forgotten Harvest, salvaging and repacking food at their warehouse. O’Donohue plans to make volunteering an even bigger part of his life once he graduates.

After graduation, O’Donohue plans to pursue a career in epidemiology and environmental health, which will likely include pursuing a master’s degree. He also enjoyed his time at the Wayne County Health Department and is looking into emergency preparedness as a potential career. 

College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Chancellor’s Medallion Recipient

Con Lustig graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in art history (with a museum studies concentration) and journalism and screen studies (with a screen studies concentration). Lustig maintained a 3.94 GPA , was on the Dean’s List every semester and earned UM-Dearborn Honors in 2018.

Lustig’s high academic achievements include earning a dual Honors Scholar Award in 2017 from both Art History and Journalism and Screen Studies. On campus, Lustig has been active in the Art History Association, working to expand interest in the field of art history across the university and beyond. 

In 2016, Lustig expanded knowledge in museum studies with an internship at the Wyandotte Historical Museum. There, he offered tours, digitized donation records and assisted with events demonstrating. He also produced and directed a 30-minute episode of the UM-Dearborn-based news magazine Michigan Crossroads, which focuses on metro Detroit artists and galleries. The program will run next semester on Dearborn Community Cable.

Off campus, Lustig works at a seasonal greenhouse and is active as a freelance artist and graphic designer in support of small business owners. In his sparse free time, he volunteers at the Polish Legion of American Vets Post 7 in Wyandotte.

After graduation, Lustig hopes to gain work experience before returning to college for a master’s degree or Ph.D.

College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Chancellor’s Medallion Recipient

Majd Faraj received a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences, graduating with High Distinction. Since transferring to UM-Dearborn from Oakland Community College, he was named to the Dean’s List every semester, earned University Honors in the Winter 2017 term and was awarded a SURE Undergraduate Research Fellowship. He was awarded the Distinguished Research Award in Biology by the Natural Sciences Department during the Winter 2018 term. Faraj has maintained a 4.0 GPA through his entire academic career at UM-Dearborn.

Faraj has been very active in conducting research while at UM-Dearborn. Since 2017, he has been involved in studies of the reproductive ecology of spiders in the laboratory of Associate Professor Anne Danielson-Francois, researching the role of pheromone cues on mating behavior. He presented the results of this work at two national meetings in 2018: the Animal Behavior Society (ABS) meeting in Milwaukee, Wis., and the American Arachnological Society (AAS) meeting in Ypsilanti, Mich. He also served as a volunteer organizer at the AAS meeting. This research currently is being prepared for publication.

Faraj also worked with Research Assistant Professor Chris Alteri through the U-M Medical School in Summer 2018, researching secretion systems in infection-causing Proteus mirabilis bacteria. The results of this research have been presented at the Microbiology and Immunology Undergraduate Research Symposium in Ann Arbor.

Outside of the laboratory, Faraj has served as a tutor through the Office of Student Success and as a supplemental instruction (SI) leader for organic chemistry courses. SI leaders provide other students with peer options for receiving instruction outside of normal class times through the Science Learning Center. He founded and currently serves as president of a student organization that promotes undergraduate research, and volunteers on the Disaster Action Team with the American Red Cross.

Upon graduation, Faraj intends to begin his medical studies in Fall 2019.

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