Chancellor’s Medallion recipients, student speaker recognized during commencement ceremony

May 1, 2017

University of Michigan-Dearborn recognized five students as Chancellor’s Medallion recipients and a student speaker during the university’s commencement ceremony Sunday, April 30.

Students at commencent ceremony.
Victor Jimenez

Victor Jimenez will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in communication, a minor in journalism and screen studies, and a public relations certificate. He graduates with High Distinction. He is a recipient of the Detroit Compact Scholarship and the Student Advance Scholarship. He received University Honors five times and earned placement on the Dean’s List every semester.

Jimenez served as a student events coordinator for University Unions and Events, a position he obtained through the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Cooperative Education Office.

An active member of the campus community, Jimenez is a co-founder and president of the campus colony of Alpha Psi Lambda National Incorporated co-ed fraternity. He expects that the colony will be voted in as a chapter at the national organization’s annual meeting this summer. Jimenez participated in the UM-Dearborn Blueprints Leadership Institute, a comprehensive, semester-long leadership opportunity designed to help students refine their leadership skills and become agents of positive social change. Prior to the start of the Fall 2016 semester, he served as a counselor for the Wolverines Orientation Wilderness (W.O.W.) program, an annual four-day outdoor adventure/college prep experience for roughly 60 incoming freshman students, held at a rural campsite.

Jimenez was recently named a 2017 UM-Dearborn Difference Maker. Nominated by faculty and staff, recipients are recognized for academic achievement, integrity, leadership and creative contribution in and out of the classroom.

After graduation, Jimenez hopes to utilize his education and his passion for public speaking in a full-time job in public relations or media relations.

Kevin Landwehr

Kevin Landwehr will receive a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with concentrations in accounting and finance. Having earned a GPA of 4.00, he graduates with the honor of High Distinction. Landwehr received the Chancellor’s Scholarship and the Honors Program Scholarship.

Landwehr was named a James B. Angell Scholar in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and earned the William J. Branstrom Freshman Prize in 2014. He was placed on the Dean’s List for every fall and winter term, and received University Honors seven times.

Landwehr held multiple part-time and full-time positions throughout his college career, including two summer internships, one with Deloitte and one with International Automotive Components. He held positions on the executive board for Beta Alpha Psi, Student Government, Student Organization Advisory Council and Wishmakers Organization, served as the business manager for the Michigan Journal, participated in intramural basketball and co-founded the Irish American Club and the Food Recovery Network. Landwehr worked as an orientation leader and as an ambassador and events team member and participated as a camp counselor for the Wolverine Orientation Wilderness program. He also volunteered for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Junior Achievement with Malcolm X Academy.

Landwehr was named a 2016 UM-Dearborn Difference Maker. Nominated by faculty and staff, Difference Maker recipients are recognized for academic achievement, integrity, leadership, and creative contribution in and out of the classroom.

After graduation, Landwehr will take the CPA exam. He will begin work full time for Deloitte in September as an external auditor in the Detroit office and will work as a part of the campus recruiting team for University of Michigan-Dearborn. His goal is to work in public accounting and to continue serving the community in governmental and advisory board capacities.

Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee will receive a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) degree in mechanical engineering and a B.S.E. in engineering mathematics, graduating with High Distinction. Lee was a recipient of the Chancellor’s Scholarship and the Michigan Competitive Scholarship.

Brandon was awarded University Honors in 2014 and 2015, and was named a James Angell Scholar in 2015 and 2016. Lee has been named to the Dean’s List seven times throughout his collegiate career.

Mechanical engineering faculty describe Lee as a leader among his peers, citing several instances in which he has led group projects in class. His professors also speak highly of his individual scholarly performance in the classroom and his ability to apply advance techniques to engineering problems One faculty member described Lee as a student who “demonstrates a desire to learn above and beyond the average student in our department.”

As a result of his exceptional course performance, Lee was selected to tutor two notoriously difficult mechanical engineering courses. It is rare for faculty to select an undergraduate student to tutor these particular courses in mechanical engineering, but Lee earned high praise from faculty and students alike in his tutoring role. In addition, during his junior year, Lee completed three cooperative education rotations at Denso International in Southfield, in the area of climate control.

In 2016, Lee was awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Mathematics and Statistics, which provides funding for independent research under direction of a faculty member. For his senior design project, Lee and his team worked to integrate a three dimensional tracking system with complex modeling for a basketball training application. Dr. Patrick Lynch, mechanical engineering faculty member and adviser to the senior design team, speaks highly of the project at its current state.

Upon graduation from UM-Dearborn, Lee plans to pursue graduate studies in engineering.

Gay Johnson

Gay Johnson has successfully earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in health policy studies and a minor in women’s and gender studies. She graduates with High Distinction. Johnson was on the Dean’s List as a part-time student for Fall 2013/Winter 2014 and Fall 2014/Winter 2015.

Johnson transferred to UM-Dearborn as part of the Honors Transfer Innovators program, where she successfully completed a novel research project on campus attitudes regarding reproductive health issues.

An active student leader, Johnson is the chair of Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL), vice president of communications for the campus chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and served as a site leader for the annual MLK Day of Service. She is also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, and was inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society.

Johnson was named a 2014 UM-Dearborn Difference Maker. Nominated by faculty and staff, Difference Maker recipients are recognized for academic achievement, integrity, leadership, and creative contribution in and out of the classroom.

While doing coursework for her health policy studies program, Johnson was troubled by the lack of long-term housing for homeless individuals. Most options were only short term, usually with long waiting lists. She wants to help open a long-term shelter. Johnson believes that providing individuals with a place to stay long-term will reduce homelessness in the city. Her desire is to give individuals a second chance to become productive citizens while maintaining their dignity.

After graduation, Johnson’s goal is move into a management position within the safety department at Delta Airlines.

Jamie Jeffries

Jamie Jeffries will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology and minor in Hispanic studies. She graduates with High Distinction. She is a recipient of the Chancellor’s Scholarship and other private scholarships. She earned University Honors five times, was the recipient of the William J. Branstrom Freshman Prize in 2014, and was recognized as a James B. Angell Scholar in 2015 and 2016.

Jeffries has maintained a 4.0 GPA through her academic career at UM-Dearborn and earned a place on the Dean’s List every semester.

Although Jeffries is a microbiology major, she has been active and excelled across the STEM disciplines during her time at UM-Dearborn. She has been a Supplemental Instruction leader for both chemistry and physics courses, and was recognized in 2016 with a Supplemental Instruction leader award. Also in 2016, Jeffries received the American Chemical Society’s Award in organic chemistry. She has participated in two summer REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) progra In summer 2015, Jeffries studied the geometry of three-dimensional objects in the laboratory of Dr. Yunus Zeytuncu at UM-Dearborn. In summer 2016, she participated in an REU program at University of California-Berkeley, where she studied genetics. She has also performed research during the academic year as a member of Dr. Krisanu Bandyopadhyay’s lab. She studied nano-scale chemistry that focused on synthesis of silica-gold nanoshells. Jeffries has presented her research results widely at local, regional and national conferences. She received a SACNAS 2016 National Conference Travel Award.

Outside of the STEM fields, Jeffries has also been recognized as a top student in Hispanic studies, received honor in multiple Spanish courses and was inducted into the Spanish Honor Society (Sigma Delta Pi) in 2015. Jeffries’ exceptional record at UM-Dearborn led to her being named a 2016 UM-Dearborn Difference Maker. Nominated by faculty and staff, recipients are recognized for academic achievement, integrity, leadership and creative contribution in and out of the classroom.

Upon graduation, Jeffries intends to pursue a Ph.D. in the biological sciences, with a likely focus in bioengineering or molecular biology. She has been accepted to a number of top programs and will begin graduate studies in Fall 2017.

Nic Jones

Nic Jones will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy, psychology, and gender and women’s studies, graduating with High Distinction and with honors in all three majors. Jones is the 2017 Philosophy Honors Scholar, the 2015-2016 Top Student in Psychology and the 2014 Women’s and Gender Studies Honors Scholar. They have won writing awards in fiction and poetry in addition to many other academic awards and accomplishments. They have been on the Dean’s List every semester and received the Al Turfe Scholarship and the Stokes-Hoffman Scholarship.

As a young scholar, Jones has already made meaningful contributions to the fields of philosophy and transgender studies. In 2016, they presented a sole-authored paper at the national Trans* Experience in Philosophy Conference. The paper, “The metaphysics of non-binary gender identities,” is being readied for submission to a top-ranked scholarly journal. Jones has also assisted with faculty research on a range of topics, including aging, wellness and impression management. Their work demonstrates intellectual versatility and a sophisticated grasp of interdisciplinary methods and practices.

At UM-Dearborn, Jones has made an indelible print as a student, colleague, SI leader, and advocate for inclusivity and equality. They designed and carried out a study of best practices for counseling LGBTQ students on college and university campuses, compiled resource lists based on this research and gave a presentation to on-campus counselors about special considerations for working with LGBTQ clients. As the assistant supervisor for the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program, they managed a team of more than 30 SI leaders and pioneered ways to strengthen this program to support student learning and leadership.

After graduation, Jones will enter a doctoral program in philosophy with plans to become a philosophy professor.