Honored for Excellence

April 15, 2020

Six students earn Chancellor’s Medallion Award, which recognizes academic achievement and character

UM-Dearborn diploma case. 1 standing up on top of 2 rows of cases.
Commencement image, winter 2020

Six Spring Class of 2020 graduates were selected to receive the Chancellor’s Medallion. Chosen by the faculty based on their academic record, quality of character, vitality, intellect and integrity, these UM-Dearborn students are ready to use their talents to create better communities for us all.

Congrats to the award recipients!

Lena Juratli
Lena Juratli, Spring 2020 graduate

College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Chancellor's Medallion Recipient, Lena Juratli

Lena Juratli is graduating with a degree in Biochemistry and minor in Psychology, with high distinction. Juratli began her studies at UM-Dearborn in Summer 2016, and since then has earned University Honors in four different terms. She has been named a James B. Angell Scholar twice, recognized on the Dean’s List five times, and maintained a 4.0 GPA through her entire academic career. She is the recipient of a CASL Emeriti Faculty Scholarship, Victors for Michigan Scholarship and Metropolitan Scholarship. In addition to being a Chancellor’s Medallion recipient, Juratli has been recognized with an ACS Freshman Chemistry Award and ACS Analytical Chemistry Award. She was also a 2019 UM-Dearborn Difference Maker.

In addition to her exceptional work in the classroom, Juratli has been active in research, instruction and student organizations. Alongside Chemistry Professor Krisanu Bandyopadhyay and Biology Professor Kalyan Kondapalli, Lena has pursued research involving the synthesis of nanoshell particles — metallic particles that can be used for biomedical applications such as drug delivery. She has presented her research at UM-Dearborn research events as well as the 2018 American Chemical Society national conference. Her work resulted in a study titled, “A gain of function paradox: targeted therapy for glioblastoma associated with abnormal NHE9 expression,” which was published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine with two other undergraduates and Professors Bandyopadhyay and Kondapalli. Juratli has undertaken additional research as a 2019 Summer Cardiovascular Research Fellow at UM-Ann Arbor and as a research associate at Beaumont Health.

Juratli has assisted in the instruction of several courses at UM-Dearborn. She has served as a laboratory assistant in Quantitative Analysis, as a student mentor in several introductory chemistry courses, and as a Supplemental Instructor (SI) in chemistry and molecular biology. SI leaders provide other students with peer instruction outside of normal class times through the Science Learning Center. Based on Juratli’s performance as an SI leader, she was recruited to serve as an SI mentor and assistant supervisor by Science Learning Center Director Liz McDowell. Lena’s involvement in student organizations has included the Association for Women in Science and the Chemistry Club.

Juratli will attend medical school upon graduation. She has already been accepted to several highly ranked schools and intends to decide on a program soon so she can begin medical studies in 2020.

Ellie White
Ellie White, Spring 2020 graduate

College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Chancellor's Medallion Recipient, Ellie White

Ellie White is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English and minors in German Studies and Linguistics, with high distinction. She received a stellar 4.0 GPA during her college tenure. Ellie has won multiple awards in the Honors Program and earned both the Chancellor’s Scholarship and the UM-Dearborn Honors Scholarship. Ellie was named a James B. Angell Scholar in 2018, 2019 and 2020. She was awarded the William J. Branstrom Prize in 2017 and has been awarded University Honors seven times.

White is a leader among her peers not by bold assertiveness, but by quiet confidence and a generous spirit. She has demonstrated impressive leadership skills as a consultant for the Writing Center, German language tutor and Honors Program tutor. During her time at the Writing Center, Ellie has met with 265 unique students for nearly 500 appointments. In the words of one of Ellie's students (offered anonymously with permission given to share): "I think Ellie was fantastic. She explained everything very thoroughly as well as giving me suggestions and tips on how to write better. I left feeling much better than when I came. I don't think perfection can be improved." As an active participant in the German Club, Ellie also leads weekly German conversation meetings.

In the summer of 2019, she held a Cultural Assimilation Internship with Team Global Alliance in Vienna, Austria, where she taught English language and American culture for both children and adults. She served as vice president of the Creative Writing Group and president of the German Club. She co-founded the creative writing group Writing Center After Dark, where she organizes literary readings with fellow writers and hosts workshops and events to foster creative writing on campus. The initiative has been so successful that faculty regularly ask to speak at their events to advertise other events and courses on campus. Ellie and two other students presented their research and practices surrounding the Writing Center After Dark at the International Writing Center Association and National Conference of Peer Tutors in Writing joint conference in Columbus, Ohio in October of 2019.

White also volunteers in the community. In past years, she organized an Environmental Rehabilitation Service Project involving dozens of volunteers. She was a leader in a chapter of the American Heritage Girls, where she led groups to complete service projects like food drives, Operation Christmas Child Shoebox, and Cards for Veterans. For this work, White received the organization’s highest award — the Stars and Stripes Award.

White is also well-traveled and has a passion for international affairs and multicultural environments. Presently, she has passed the preliminary stage of acceptance into the prestigious Teaching Fulbright Program in Germany for the coming fall.

Danyaal Pandit
Danyaal Pandit, COB Spring 2020 graduate

College of Business Chancellor's Medallion Recipient, Danyaal Pandit

Danyaal Pandit is graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Accounting. Having earned a perfect 4.0 GPA, he graduates with the honor of high distinction. In addition to receiving the Dean’s Scholarship, Pandit has been on the Dean’s List for five semesters. He was also awarded the Ford Blue Oval Science Technology Program Scholarship, the Beta Alpha Psi Certificate of Excellence, the Michigan Competitive Scholarship and private scholarships. He was awarded University Honors in 2017.

Along with his academic accomplishments, Pandit has been very engaged with extracurricular activities, including efforts with the American Red Cross that started in his freshman year where he was their youngest CFO Workforce Planning Partner. His supervisor explained that Pandit “forever transformed the American Red Cross National Headquarters workforce with his vision of University of Michigan-Dearborn business students volunteering via an internship program.” To date, more than a dozen students have interned with the American Red Cross because of Pandit’s vision.

Pandit secured his first internship as a freshman, working as an Energy Storage Strategy and Research S.T.E.M Intern at Ford Motor Company. He followed this up with multiple terms interning at General Motors as a Global Customs Analyst Intern, and also with Ernst and Young as an Assurance Services Intern. He left an impression on both companies, as one hosted him for three different terms and the other has offered him a full-time position post-graduation.  

Others describe Pandit as someone who loves to learn and makes sure he understands all the nuances of course material. Pandit is also very personable and is very willing to help his fellow classmates understand the material. Other adjectives used by those who recommended him include diligence, preparedness, confidence and maturity.

After graduation, Pandit will continue to study and work towards his CPA credential and balance that with his plan to volunteer with Ernest and Young on recruitment events with Beta Alpha Psi students. He has accepted a full-time position with Ernst and Young’s assurance services team, which he will begin in fall of 2020 in their Detroit office.

Hajer Alchalabi
Hajer Alchalabi, CEHHS graduate

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

Hajer Alchalabi is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services with a concentration in Pre-Health, with high distinction. She earned the Honors Scholar award for Health and Human Services, has been awarded University Honors three times, and has been on the Dean’s list for seven terms. She is also the recipient of several scholarships, including the Opportunity Scholarship, Kochoff Pathway to Success, Impact Wolverine, Student Accounting Board, Michigan Competitive Scholarship and the Maize Scholarship. She has also earned the Emerging Leader Award as well as the Leadership Synergy Award.

Alchalabi is a founding member of the Iraqi American Union (IAU). As event coordinator for IAU, she has helped Iraqi students find their voice and planned events like a fashion show and an art expo. She is also working as part of a team within IAU to establish a $25,000 endowment on campus to start a scholarship for underserved students.

Alchalabi is president of the Public Health Society (PHS). Within PHS she has helped organize a mental health panel, led an initiative to put female hygiene items in university bathrooms, and planned a women's health and education panel. During her final semester as president, she secured a grant from ACCESS to help the group work on research for minorities for the All of Us project.

After graduation, Alchalabi plans to pursue a Physician's Assistant master’s degree. She wants to continue being a voice for the weak and vulnerable and to break the harmful stigmas that are apparent in the medical field. From her personal experiences, she knows how it feels to not be able to stand up for yourself. She plans to make sure that she stands up for every single one of her patients and uses the tools she learns from PA school to make a difference.

Bryan Brauchler
College of Engineering and Computer Science graduate Bryan Brauchler.

College of Engineering and Computer Science Medallion Recipient, Bryan Brauchler

Bryan Brauchler is graduating with Bachelor of Science in Engineering degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, with high distinction. Upon admission to UM-Dearborn in 2016, Brauchler was a recipient of the Chancellor’s Scholarship. In recognition of his high academic achievement, Brauchler was named a James B. Angell Scholar in 2018, 2019 and 2020. He was awarded the William J. Branstrom Prize in 2017 and has been awarded University Honors seven times. Brauchler has been named to the College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean’s List for seven semesters and has earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average.  

Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty praise Brauchler’s quest for excellence in the classroom and his engagement with the campus community. Brauchler provides support to his fellow students by serving as a Supplemental Instruction leader in Physics and a grader for an Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course. He has demonstrated his academic drive through enrollment in graduate-level coursework as an undergraduate student. Brauchler is co-president of the UM-Dearborn InterVarsity student organization and is an avid marathon runner.

Brauchler has gained significant professional experience in his field to complement his academic coursework. He has held multiple internships with NPX Semiconductors in Austin, Texas and locally in Novi, taking on additional responsibility with each position. Through his internships, he has presented at NPX Technology Days, a technical training program for engineers designing solutions with embedded technology. He has also presented his research for the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Auto-ISAC).

After graduation, Brauchler plans to obtain a Ph.D. in engineering and pursue a career in academia, with a focus on wireless communications. 

College of Engineering and Computer Science Medallion Recipient, Michael Ustes

Michael Ustes is graduating with Bachelor of Science in Engineering degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering, with high distinction.

Upon admission to UM-Dearborn in Fall 2016, Ustes was a recipient of the Chancellor’s Scholarship. In recognition of his high academic achievement, Ustes was named a James B. Angell Scholar in 2018, 2019 and 2020. He was awarded the William J. Branstrom Prize in 2017, UM-Dearborn Honors in 2019, and has been awarded University Honors seven times. He was named the 2019 Honor Scholar recipient in Manufacturing Systems Engineering/Mechanical Engineering. Ustes has been named to the College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean’s List seven times and has earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

Engineering faculty praise Ustes’ extraordinary academic performance, hard work, passion for learning, and his character. He has completed the CECS Experiential Honors Program, which requires faculty-mentored professional educational experience with industry as well as engineering design and/or research experiences. Ustes also enrolled in two master’s-level classes as an undergraduate student.  

In addition to his coursework, Ustes is highly engaged with the campus community. He is president of the UM-Dearborn chapter of Pi Tau Sigma, the international honor society for mechanical engineers. He is an active member of the Formula SAE student team, and has earned the (M)Talent distinction through the university’s Talent Gateway.

Ustes has gained significant professional experience in his field to complement his academic coursework. He has completed internships at Hitachi Automotive in Farmington Hills and ZF North America in Livonia. Upon graduation, Ustes plans to work full-time as an engineer and pursue graduate studies in mechanical engineering.