The CEW+ Stories Project and the CEW+ podcast, Strength in the Midst of Change, is dedicated to sharing stories and celebrating our relationships with faculty, staff, and students at the University of Michigan and the rest of the CEW+ family. These stories represent the different ways in which CEW+ works in the University and the general community. We hope you enjoy meeting some of the people whose lives have been touched by CEW+.

Do you have a CEW+ story to share? Whether you came in for counseling, emergency funding, or a research grant, a scholarship, or to attend one of our events or workshops, we hope you’ll take a moment to let us know what that experience meant to you. You can tell your story by completing a series of questions on the Share Your Story page or, if you prefer, we’d love the opportunity to speak with you in person, either by phone or in a face-to-face conversation. Please contact us at contactcew@umich.edu to arrange an interview.

The resources on this web page may be informative for people who are interested in the mission and activities of CEW+. CEW+ is not endorsing any of these resources or the entities associated with them. Also, CEW+ is not responsible for nor does it control the content of the websites listed below. The resources listed on this web page may be updated from time to time.
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“I knew I had ‘unfinished’ business in Ann Arbor. I wanted to go back and give back to the community that gave me so much during my early years.”

“He is a perfect community builder, one that listens and one that creates spaces of inclusion and belonging in the truest sense.”

“I’m exhausted; getting a PhD is challenging and requires persistence, but I have the joy of waking up every day and spending time with my mom.”

“The reality is that we can learn from history, but we can only learn from it if we tell the whole thing - the good, the bad, the ugly...we can't just tell one side of the story, and that has often been the case.”

"I have to set the bar high for [my children], and I have to show them that you can do it no matter what age you start out.”

Akima’s mentor describes her as “incredibly poised, generous, intelligent, talented, determined, creative, and hardworking” and says she is “already a powerful force and voice in architecture.”

“What we really need to do is understand how the blurring of that sort of traditional distinction between research and clinical care can lead to new ethical framework and how that's received by society”

“I envision the traditional narrative of an urban planner shifting and am ready to start creating that new narrative.”

“We all have the ability to make change.”

"I've had the privilege of seeing student parents meet each other and just see that moment of 'Oh my gosh, my story is reflected in you and your story', and that's so fulfilling. Every time that I see it, I'm just like, this is why we started this, this is why we do it.”

“Being a black woman is extraordinarily important to me...that identity coupled with everything I’ve been able to achieve is an important symbol...”

"I'm very passionate about looking at people whose voices may not always be heard and they may be underrepresented. So my driving force is to be able to give voice to those folks and have a seat at the table."

“I never really thought I needed a role model; I was a pretty strong woman...but it’s true, you kind of do. It’s useful to have somebody.”

“What’s impossible is keeping silent”

“On the community level, on the local level, you can make such an impact; your one voice can make such an impact."

“There is no question that being selected for and serving as an editor of the Michigan Law Review dramatically altered the trajectory of my career, offering me the credibility and platforms to advocate for systemic solutions to economic inequality and social justice."

“Leave me / a feather to dream on, a map to follow”

"If you start thinking about it...you'll realize how physically inaccessible so much of the environment around us is. For me as a kid, I really grew up understanding that the world was built and designed for some people way more than others."

“The way writer's block is described is always negative, but I think sometimes it's just your mind telling you that you need space or time. I've heard it also called a gestation period where your mind needs time to process and think because it's building up something really important to write about...maybe you're not ready to write it yet.”

"...in our culture that's so busy giving a lot of support for 'doing' all the time, just trying to be in a state of being and open to being aware of what's happening right now can be really difficult and can also be really freeing..."

"We have to be aware of how everyone brings value and perspective to a situation, even if they're doing it in a way that is challenging."

"If you take the right energy with the things that life has handed you, you can actually turn it into something positive and you can use it for strength and growth, if not for yourself, for someone else."

"College can shape you and change you in more ways than you can imagine. You will gain so many new skills and meet people from all walks of life. It will teach you how to prioritize things, how to tackle hardships. It will definitely teach you to multitask!"

“Emphasizing the importance of peer-to-peer connections and the value of safe spaces on campus can help students to learn the skills of self-advocacy. In particular, a lot of this has to do with seeing oneself as deserving support and help at all stages of the academic experience."

“When I got my fellowship, the funding affirmed that my voice and what I offered mattered. It was the first time I applied for something at University of Michigan and received it. After that, I started to reach out and apply for things. Applying for my fellowship was the first daring act of my career.”

“I'd like to tell my peers who are older students, like me, that are pursuing their first degree...yeah, it feels impossible but if I can do it with all of my setbacks I know they can do it too. We all belong here and in other places of higher education and I hope everyone hangs in there, especially those struggling with school and the quarantine. Know you're not alone.”

“Even in the midst of difficult change I have always conditioned myself to see the benefit, to find the opportunities, and to recognize the blessings that change brings to us.”

"Making the adjustment into graduate school was challenging. CEW+ provided a support system—the Center was always there and you could go to them with any kind of challenge you were facing."

"Getting an acceptance email from U-M really gave me reason to pause and reflect on how far I'd come and it made me really hopeful for other people who are in positions similar to myself that there's more than just a light at the end of the tunnel, there's so much more."

“I’m most excited about the prospect of taking on new students in the coming years. I’m looking forward to providing the same type of support I received for the next generation of scholars.”

“I believe giving back can be monumental to someone’s life just as it was for me...Seeing women succeed in a field that I only ever pictured men in was truly eye-opening for me."

“Part of the richness of my experience with CEW+ Scholars was encountering professional women who were really very inspirational.”

“My hope...is that we can all continue to really focus on living the culture of care and being there for each other.”

“There are no dumb questions as long as they are honestly asked.”

"Instead of pushing away pain, invite it to tea, and have a conversation with it."

"CEW+ provides scholarships that actually allow people to be open about their stories and closes many financial gaps for those who are choosing to continue their education regardless of the various challenges they may face along the way."

"Being able to know that I can be that resource for somebody else was so fulfilling for me."

"CEW+ is important to the U-M community because it supports women."

"I got out of my own way and decided to let my faith be bigger than my fears."

"They were truly supportive, not only in a financial sense but also in an emotional sense."

"To those who much is given, much is expected"

"Every person should strive to make a difference, no matter what they choose to pursue in life."

“Social capital is needed to be exposed to all the opportunities that majority groups have naturally.”

"CEW+ sees the big picture and has nontraditional students at the center of their mission."

"We all have the capability of being able to help others."

"I am excited to work together, co-creating a campus community where everyone can thrive."

“Focus in the moment and enjoy the moment...as long as you have breath there is always hope.“

"CEW+ has always made me feel welcome and validated my experiences."

“I really believe that one of the most innovative things we can do now is to collaborate deeply"

"You can change someone's life by just standing up for them in a meeting."

"Collectively we can identify strategies & solutions to solve some of these complex problems."

"Things can transform me, but they won't reduce me."

"Black people are crying out and America is not listening...it hears the noise, and not the pain."

"Understand that this is a marathon and not a sprint"

"Breathing is an act of resilience right now."

"I find it's really helpful to stick to a routine and to try to also stay connected."

"This is forcing us to realize how much we need connection & interaction."

"I don't know what it looks like, but I'm sure I'm going to find success."

“Everyday I come home and I feel like I have made a change.”

“I believe that we as a greater people will overcome this...”

“I am doing better at living in the little moments that we have.”

“I worked five years on this PhD….I refuse to let COVID-19 steal that...”

"It’s so clear that we need each other more than ever."

"There is a path out at the end of the tunnel…”

"I like creating certainty out of uncertain situations when I can."

“I wanted to go back and fill in the gaps in my very informal education."

“I start tearing up every time I think of CEW because they were so kind to me.”

"I wanted to assist other women who were perhaps getting into the same kinds of challenges that I was.”