Meet the COB and CASL Dean’s Medallion recipients for Fall 2023

November 29, 2023

Top UM-Dearborn graduates are honored for academics and impressive records of service.

A student's graduation cap, bearing the slogan "I took a village," is photographed from behind during a commencement ceremony on the UM-Dearborn campus.

UM-Dearborn is honoring the Class of Fall 2023’s leaders and best with 12 medallion awards. Chosen by faculty from their respective colleges, outstanding graduates are recognized with a Dean’s Medallion or a Chancellor’s Medallion. Three medallion recipients are awarded per college with one of those students receiving the Chancellor’s Medallion. Students will be honored at the Dec. 16 Commencement ceremonies. Here are UM-Dearborn’s College of Arts, Sciences and Letters and the College of Business recipients. The awardees from the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the College of Education, Health and Human Services — including the Chancellor’s Medallion winner, who is a CEHHS Class of 2023 graduate — were profiled in a story on Tuesday.

Dean’s Medallion recipients

A headshot of UM-Dearborn student Samuel CarusoSamuel G. Caruso
College of Arts, Sciences and Letters

Samuel G. Caruso is receiving a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science. With a focus on public policy and voting, Caruso served as a Turn Up, Turn Out research assistant at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and he earned a finalist spot in the 2022 UM-Dearborn Policy Pitch competition. Caruso has been heavily involved in campus activities, including serving as president of the Political Science Association.

His extensive civic engagement includes a stint at the Montgomery County Board of Elections in Dayton, Ohio, where he participated in operations for a special election. Simultaneously, Caruso held a successful fellowship at the Campus Vote Project, where he organized educational events and voter registration drives.

Caruso was a congressional intern for the U.S. House of Representatives’ 10th District and assisted with casework, Congressional Record statements and more. He significantly contributed to the 2020 Democratic Primary in Webster City, Iowa, and as an elected delegate for Ohio's 10th Congressional District.

The 2022 UM-Dearborn Difference Maker further immersed himself in social issues during his summer job at Etgar 36 in Atlanta, organizing a civil rights and social justice trip across the country. Caruso’s initiative and drive are also evident in various projects, including a TEDx talk on youth activism and an article in The Politic — Yale University’s undergraduate journal of politics and culture — about organizing Ohio’s largest March for Our Lives rally. 

Caruso plans a career in public affairs, social justice and advocacy, with the goal of influencing policy. He intends to gain nonprofit experience and later pursue graduate studies.

A headshot of UM-Dearborn student Emily LeichEmily Leich
College of Arts, Sciences and Letters

Emily Leich is completing her Bachelor of Science degree in physics with a mathematics minor. Leich has a passion for science and volunteered to participate in undergraduate research in applied physics, which later led to an independent study. Her undergraduate research was conducted under the mentorship of Associate Professor of Physics Nicolas Licata and involved computational biophysics research on statistical measures for molecular motor transport. 

She exhibited leadership on campus through her work as a part-time student staff member of the Physical Science Dispensary, preparing chemical solutions to support the various teaching laboratories in Natural Sciences. Staff who worked with Leich noted her great sense of humor as well as her diligence in preparing solutions.

Leich was the recipient of the William J. Branstrom Freshman Prize in 2021 and, in 2023, was chosen as the top student in physics, earning the distinction of Physics Honors Scholar.

She was awarded two paid summer internships at the Ann Arbor company KBR in 2022 and 2023, conducting scientific computing analyses for radar and optics. They offered her a full-time position as a systems engineer upon graduation. 

Leich plans to attend graduate school for a master’s in applied physics while working at KBR, which will contribute toward her graduate degree program. Her future goals also include earning a Ph.D. in physics and founding her own research lab.

A headshot of UM-Dearborn student Kylie MartinKylie Martin
College of Arts, Sciences and Letters

Kylie Martin is receiving a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and screen studies, with a concentration in journalism and a minor in biological sciences. Martin has demonstrated leadership at The Michigan Journal, advancing from a staff writer to Student Life section editor and finally to editor-in-chief. Her journalism and storytelling skills earned her an internship on the breaking news desk at the Detroit Free Press, where she published more than 50 articles in her first four months.

Martin also participated in the Experience+ Digital Storytelling initiative on campus with a story about growing up as a military kid. She presented her story at the 11th International Digital Storytelling Conference in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., where she received a standing ovation. She also served as a digital storytelling mentor in the program.

She worked as a study abroad marketing assistant for UM-Dearborn's study abroad program and participated in the Dearborn Discovery Core Study Abroad program in Gdansk, Poland, in summer 2022. 

Following graduation, Martin would like to study as a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, where she could help teach English to children. She plans to keep pursuing her passion for journalism by continuing her career at the Detroit Free Press or other large news publications.

A headshot of UM-Dearborn student Sofia CuevaSofia Cueva
College of Business

Sofia Cueva is earning a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting. Cueva, an inaugural member of UM-Dearborn’s women’s golf team, sought to get as much experience in the accounting field as she could while balancing her classes and athletics.

She had four different internships in accounts payable, tax and auditing and worked with accounting employers such as Yeo & Yeo, Grant Thornton and Rehmann.

Cueva is an exceptional athlete, placing first in the Aquinas Invitational in 2021 a first in the short history of the women’s golf program and placed in the top 10 in numerous events. In addition to her role on the team, Cueva was the golf representative for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. She also volunteers as a golf coach and she served as a tax volunteer with the Accounting Aid Society.

Cueva received several scholarships, including the Metropolitan Scholarship, the Richard M. Haddrill Scholarship and the Tax Executives Institute Scholarship. After graduation, Cueva will join Grant Thornton as an audit associate. She also will continue her studies to earn her CPA.

A headshot of UM-Dearborn student Jonathon DavisJonathon Davis
College of Business

Jonathon Davis is completing a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in supply chain management. Davis has had a long road to reaching his goal of graduating with his bachelor's degree. In the winter of 2004, he underwent a routine neck surgery to increase the range of motion in his neck. The surgery took an unfortunate turn and resulted in Davis becoming a quadriplegic, requiring the use of a powered wheelchair. This limited his ability to pursue further education at that time.

In 2019, Davis started his career at Schoolcraft College before transferring to UM-Dearborn for its top education and accessibility services for his physical needs. When Davis transferred, he received the Phi Theta Kappa Transfer Scholarship.

Active on campus, Davis has been a member of the Supply Chain Association and represented UM-Dearborn at the National Undergraduate Supply Chain Case Competition at the University of Minnesota in 2023, where he presented in front of business leaders from corporations such as Target, 3M, Medtronic and Best Buy. 

After graduation, Davis wants to make an impact in the supply chain field and eventually pursue a master's degree. He hopes to remain active with the university, assisting students with preparation for future case competitions.

A headshot of student Sonia NarseySonia Narsey
College of Business
Sonia Narsey is earning a Bachelor of Business Administration in information systems management. Narsey was the recipient of the Tarik S. Daoud Management Scholarship, the Victor J. Streeter Scholarship and the Information Systems Management Scholarship.

Not only is Narsey an academic standout, she’s also a mentor and problem solver. She volunteered to speak with first-year COB students in the Business Foundations course, offering tips for success and ways to navigate life at the College of Business. She also worked as a student grader for multiple COB classes and instructors, and went above and beyond to provide support when an instructor had to modify a course because of health issues.

Narsey completed an internship at Ernst & Young as a technology risk consulting intern, where she assisted on multiple IT audits for clients in various industries.

Narsey accepted a full-time position as a technology risk consultant at Ernst & Young following graduation. She plans to pursue a Master of Science in information systems degree at UM-Dearborn, with a long-term goal to earn Certified Information Systems Auditor certification.