Students receive Chancellor’s Medallion award in recognition of academic achievement, character and integrity

December 16, 2019

Attendees at the Fall 2019 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 14 heard from two student speakers and saw six students honored with the top award.

Martin Lohner, Emily Wolney, Domenico Grasso, Sarah Overbeck, Noah Vowell, and Riley Brown all stand side by side in formal wear.

This article was originally published on December 16, 2019.

College is much more than earning a grade — it’s learning how to do research, getting out into the community to make a difference and using your education to aid others in learning.

At Saturday’s Fall 2019 commencement ceremony, several students were honored for standing out among UM-Dearborn’s Leaders and Best.

Gabriella Oudsema, Chancellor’s Medallion recipient from the College of Arts, Sciences, & Letters 

Gabriella Oudsema has been active in undergraduate research in psychology and philosophy. She has worked as a research assistant to Psychology Assistant Professor Zhong Xu Liu on the project, “Age Related Differences in Responding to Semantic Changes during Encoding of Scene Stimuli,” as part of the MCubed Scholar’s Summer Research Fellowship where she assisted with the drafting and editing the research protocol and application for ethical approval. Oudsema also worked on a project with Philosophy Assistant Professor Imran Aijaz to examine whether it is possible to teach virtue. Oudsema completed a psychology internship with Human Synergistics, an organizational consulting firm, examining qualitative data that they had collected on an important research project. This resulted in a presentation at the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference entitled “Use Your Words: Qualitative Analysis for the Quantitative Researcher.”

Oudsema has put her research and academic knowledge to work through Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL) organization on campus, participating in Take Back the Night and volunteering at Vista Maria, a social service organization in Dearborn Heights that provides resources and support to youth in vulnerable situations.

Oudsema will pursue a Ph.D., upon graduation, applying to programs at UM-Ann Arbor and Michigan State University. 

Noah Vowell

Noah Vowell, Chancellor’s Medallion recipient from the College of Arts, Sciences, & Letters

Exercising his interest in high-energy astrophysical techniques, Noah Vowell pursued a summer undergraduate research in X-ray Astrophysics at Michigan State University and plans to present his X-ray spectral/timing work at the Chandra 20th anniversary symposium in this December at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He has taken the opportunity to develop practical observational skills through his many research activities, including two observing runs at the Michigan-Dartmouth-MIT (MDM) Observatory near Kitt Peak, AZ, as part of a long-term optical monitoring project of the black hole V404 Cygni conducted by the UM-Dearborn Astronomy Research Group, where he is a key member.

While at UM-Dearborn, Vowell conceived and developed a new research initiative to use near- and mid-infrared reflection spectroscopy of Jovian transits as analogs to infrared observations of transits in extrasolar planet/brown dwarf systems. He worked to develop the idea and investigate its practicality with the future James Webb Space Telescope, supervised by CASL faculty members Will Clarkson and Mark Salvatore.

In addition to research skills, Vowell has made a positive impact in the learning of nearly 400 introductory astronomy students at the university as a Supplemental Instruction (SI) leader and a Teaching Assistant (TA). According to Lecturer Carrie Swift, Vowell’s study sessions were always well attended and students felt that they had a very positive effect on their understanding of the course material. Vowell has also been deeply involved in outreach activities, tutoring K-12 students and volunteering with outreach programs on campus. He has also participated in the UM-Dearborn observatory’s public viewing nights where he assists with the telescopes and explains the objects in view to the members of the public who attend. 

Vowell plans to pursue his Ph.D in astronomy.

Emily Wolney

Emily Wolney, Chancellor’s Medallion recipient from the College of Business

Emily Wolney has been very engaged with extracurricular activities such as her efforts in Beta Alpha Psi, an honors organization for accounting, finance, and ISM students. She first served as vice president and then president of the organization where she coordinated service activities and professional development events. She was also inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society last year. In addition to her work on campus, Wolney’s volunteered with many community organizations including Gleaners, Ronald McDonald House, and Methodist Children’s Home Society.

During her college career, Wolney had internships with two different firms – one at Masco on the State and Local Tax Team and another at Plante Moran where she was an Assurance Intern.

After graduation, Wolney will continue to study and work towards her CPA credential and balance that with her continued volunteer efforts. She has accepted a full-time position with Ford Motor Company and hopes to pursue her MBA after gaining industry experience.

Gabriella Oudsema

Riley Brown, Chancellor Medallion’s recipient from the College of Education, Health, & Human Services

Riley Brown has served as an Orientation Leader and an Orientation Program Assistant, welcoming new students to campus and assisting in the planning of orientation activities. Brown has also been a Wolverines Orientation Welcome, or W.O.W., camp counselor and a Talent Ambassador for the Talent Gateway, where her work has earned her the MTalent Maize designation. In April 2018, Brown was awarded the Leadership Synergy Certificate for making an impact on campus through her dedication and commitment.

Brown is a member of the Student Activities Board and has volunteered at the Very Special Arts (VSA) Festival and the Young Authors Festival. At the annual VSA festival she assisted, and interacted with, students and participants with many different disabilities and exceptionalities.  As a volunteer in the Young Authors’ Festival, she taught an interactive lesson that let students explore creative writing by using artwork for inspiration.

Brown’s future plans include becoming an educator in an elementary classroom. In particular, she has a strong interest in teaching in a low-income community or a Title 1 school. She also plans to attend graduate school at the University of Michigan-Dearborn to pursue a Master of Arts in educational leadership in the future.

Martin Lohner

Martin Lohner, Chancellor Medallion’s recipient from the College of Engineering and Computer Science 

Martin Lohner has been described by faculty as “a student who would impress every instructor.” In recognition of his academic success, Lohner was invited to join the Tau Sigma National Honor Society, an honor that recognizes the academic excellence and involvement of transfer students. Before joining UM-Dearborn, he was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Oakland Community College.

Lohner is highly engaged with the UM-Dearborn campus community. He is an active member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and has served as a biology lab assistant. For his senior design project, Lohner and his team members worked on developing a useful AI application tool that provides a scheduling tracker with the goal of improving the user’s peace of mind. 

As a student, he has gained significant professional experience in his field to complement his academic coursework. Since January 2019, Lohner has been an intern at Continental Automotive Systems, where he has worked on the latest Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) radar features such as blind spot detection, cross traffic alert, and emergency break assist for GM vehicles.

Sarah Overbeck

Sarah Overbeck, Chancellor Medallion’s recipient from the College of Engineering and Computer Science

Sarah Overbeck has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average and her professors praise her selflessness and willingness to work with others, as demonstrated through her participation in numerous project groups and student organizations. Overbeck has served as president of Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, and is an active member of the Society of Women Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).  She has mentored UM-Dearborn students in a variety of roles from tutoring current students to serving as an orientation leader for new students. Overbeck has also served as a lab assistant for the college’s Introduction to Engineering course.

As an engineering student, she has gained significant professional experience in her field to complement her academic coursework. Overbeck has served as a research assistant on the, the UM-Dearborn autonomous shuttle project. In 2017, she completed a summer internship at NASA, where she worked on the electrical testing team for the NASA Glenn Vacuum Chamber. Overbeck is currently completing a Ford Systems Engineering co-op at Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems working on wire harness product development for Ford vehicles.

Student Speakers

Jessica Bacheldor

Jessica Bacheldor, Student Speaker at the 3 p.m. ceremony

Jessica Bacheldor earned two degrees on Saturday — a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science — and walked at both ceremonies.

Bacheldor has served as an orientation leader, a member of Delta Phi Epsilon and Upsilon Pi Epsilon, and a member of the women’s soccer team. She has also been active in Amnesty International since 2014, holding positions on campus as president, vice president and chair of marketing and outreach. Bacheldor currently serves the organization as the student activist coordinator for the state of Michigan. 

During her college career, Bacheldor completed four internships as a software developer at Mahle, Ford Motor Credit Company and General Electric.

Hiba Qamar

Hiba Qamar, Student Speaker at the 10 a.m. ceremony

Hiba Qamar has been an active member of the American Marketing Association, joining the executive board as director of fundraising and executing the first successful AMA bowling fundraiser, which has now become an annual fundraising event. Qamar has also been a member of the Women in Business organization since Winter 2019 and the Talent Gateway. 

After graduating, Qamar plans to return to UM-Dearborn to complete a master’s in business administration to further her studies and continue working in the automotive industry.