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 [email protected] 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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Kassidy cares deeply about social justice, community service, and gender equity.

Serena is already celebrated by her professors and mentors as “the living definition of a ‘go-getter’” and “a truly talented and distinguished student who has already helped move the needle in healthcare and education.”

Luciana envisions “helping and inspiring marginalized minorities in the business world … by uncovering what makes us unique.”

“If we exist in loving relationship with others, we are destined to become social workers, case managers, and caregivers to varying degrees of intensity: grief and loss are universal human experiences, even as the particularities are unique.”

[Cristina] is recognized by her mentor for her unsurpassed “intellectual capacity, work ethic and passion for science.”

[Elaine] is committed to shaping and representing a company that is leading the way for other businesses in using sustainable approaches and creating a healthier environment for everyone.

CEW+ celebrates Rowie’s persistence in her education and names her a Joan P. Ireland Scholar.

CEW+ celebrates Christina’s commitments to Indigenous communities and environmental justice and names her a Margaret Dow Towsley Scholar.

CEW+ celebrates Zoe’s dedication to marginalized workers and names her a Riecker Graduate Student Research Fellow.

“I intend to shed critical light onto the often overlooked experiences of women agroindustry workers and the key roles these women play in fostering and undermining intercommunal relations in southern Thailand.”

“My hope is to be that support and sounding board for my clients as well and to provide them with a safe space to share and to allow for self-care.”

“Had talk therapy been more fiscally and physically accessible to me in my postpartum period, perhaps I’d be telling a different story about my transition from maidenhood to motherhood.”

"I believe when more individuals and families have the tools they need to live well, our whole community will be healthier and thrive."

Jas is committed to mentoring the next generation of engineers from marginalized backgrounds.

Yan Jing has remained committed to using her public health and nutrition expertise to help underserved communities in her home country of Malaysia.

“I am very passionate about creating accessible education for young children."

“Women and girls are at the center of my work, and they will continue to be until their right to education is fully valued and encouraged.”

Sara intends to pursue a career in environmental remediation to create clean and safe environments for society. 

Muskaan aims to create aesthetically appealing software designs with the ability to make impactful social change.

Talitha aims to implement an innovative approach to teaching African history and anthropology that “allows students to embrace new ideas about Africa and all that it has to offer.”

“I will have achieved success when I wake up every day and find a way of using my engineering skills to make the world a better place and work for an organization that not only values my work but who I am as a person.”

“All of the communities and activists I accompanied had lost loved ones to paramilitary and state violence related to land and resource control, and I realized that there is an inextricable link between racist, neocolonial patterns of exploitation and the climate crisis.”

"As I pursue a career in environmental justice policy, I’m committed to listening to others and co-designing solutions grounded in trusted relationships."

Gabrielle LeFlore is dedicated to a career in healthcare operations to increase access to high-quality care, improve care outcomes, and make care affordable for communities.

“I know that there is a lot of work to be done and the journey will not be easy, but I believe that if we join together and are a little kinder to one another we are able to make a change.” 

CEW+ applauds Nelsy’s commitment to public health and names her the Elizabeth M. Dusseau Scholar.

Colleagues and professors alike describe Megan as “hard-working, intellectually curious, and resourceful” and note her “loyalty,” “passion for learning,” and “sharp intellect.”

"...my dental hygienist was very encouraging and advised me to not look at the past, but to think about my future beautiful smile. Hearing those words changed me internally forever.”

CEW+ honors Joyce’s resilience and names her the CEW+ Graduate Scholar.

CEW+ applauds Amy’s commitment to conservation and names her a Menakka and Essel Bailey Graduate Fellow.

Kaila’s peers and professors alike celebrate her for her “humility, work ethic, and tenacity” and “empathy, drive, and desire to improve the lives of others.”

“Tasneem possesses an uncommon sensitivity to her own positionality, and consciously holds space for other voices in the classroom to contribute.”

“Brittany Brown will one day change how we think about the health outcomes associated with gendered appropriated racial oppression among marginalized populations.”

“I want to be the gardener, to walk my patient through the whole pregnancy and not just pregnancy, to protect and watch them grow.”

CEW+ celebrates Victoria’s compassion and names her the Beatrice Kahn Scholar.

Alica hopes to provide families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder “with support, a dental voice, and greater interprofessional relationships among health providers.”

Tamara is committed to using her education to make a difference in her community; with her characteristic persistence and empathy, Tamara is sure to impact many lives in her future career.

CEW+ applauds Daniel’s commitment to making a difference through mathematics and names her an Irma M. Wyman Scholar.

For many years, Emmanuel has persisted in finding his path to making a difference through a career in healthcare.

“Information is power, and having access to it dissolves barriers..."

Dana knew from a young age that she wanted to pursue higher education, particularly in business, despite the hardships that come with supporting oneself and navigating the education system alone.

“Ms. Perry is a passionate, dedicated student, researcher, and caregiver. She brings all three of these roles to her work … and we are all better scholars for it.”

Sneha believes that “a girl’s education has the power to change her life, her family, and her community.”

“Arguably, the most meaningful role I hold is that of a mother.”

“The people of West Belfast taught me how to speak on behalf of a cause, to remain tenacious when faced with political red tape, and to make those in power hear me.”

“In a pharmacy setting, and depending on the pharmacist, patients are treated as more than just prescriptions; they are valued and made to feel comfortable enough to ask any question or voice any concerns."

“I hope this project and further research are used as gift(s) to help societies/communities..."

“I feel honored to have the opportunity to be a part of this community, and it is my mission to provide quality patient-family centered care.”

"I have learned to be more patient and kind to myself in understanding that some things are out of my control, but solutions are available, and I want people to feel empowered in using them.”

“Persistence pays off, and it is never too late to pursue passion and purpose.” 

CEW+ admires L’Oreal’s commitment and names her the Mary Lucille Randolph and Lea King Dean Memorial Scholar.

Briana is recognized by her colleagues and professors for her “passion, curiosity, and work ethic” and her determination to go “above and beyond.”

Lisa Cheung is a dedicated rising leader in the field of social impact.

“Lack of representation has systemic consequences on marginalized communities' health, education, and well-being."

“As a minority, you often have to navigate a world that was not built for you or your success.”

In academia, kt hopes to direct a cultural center or diversity, equity, and inclusion office, where she can implement programming for underserved students. 

“I take immense pride in my work, which revolves around empowering students, young individuals, and future leaders from historically marginalized and excluded backgrounds.”

“I am proof that it doesn’t matter where you come from, if you work hard, continue learning, give back to your community, and help others along the way, you can succeed and find a way to make your goals a reality.”

“My children need to know if I can make it and pursue my dreams nothing will stop them in pursuing theirs.”

“By becoming an attorney, I will demonstrate to my father that all his sacrifices have been worthwhile.”

Anna Daly Kauffman is an emerging educator committed to justice, inclusion, and the well-being of all children and youth.

“Epistemic injustice suggests that there are unjust structures in meaning-making and knowledge production where only dominant philosophical traditions are deemed worthy of academic attention and merit.”

“When you see a story and it really moves you emotionally, it has the opportunity to actually change the way you think about something.”

“When you can understand the history of the policies that shaped a place…you can really see how everything came to be.”

“I found that I met CEW+ just when I needed it the most.”

"I don’t want to be someone who simply advocates for environmental protection, but I want to be involved with that decision-making process.”

“I don't have political clout, I don't have economic means, but that’s not the only way that I can have a voice. I have music and I can have a voice through that.”

"My guiding principle as an adult has been to render my knowledge and skills in the service of the different communities I am part of, either as a member or an ally."

"Without the help of CEW+, I would not have finished my degree."

“Before we start telling our stories, we need to go inward. It’s an invitation to explore... and to go to that poetry or that poetic that is deeper than that trauma story.”

“The University of Michigan holds a special and dear place in my heart, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without U-M and CEW+ behind my name.”

“CEW+ believes in your dreams, and is willing to invest in your future.”

“Our society, our schools, our workplaces are all built on ideas that grades, productivity, and whatnot are what we should be focusing on instead of our wellbeing and the wellbeing of others.”

In enacting change both at my own company and those of our clients, it will ignite change within the entire industry.

Known as a “capable and emphatic leader” with innovative ideas, firm dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and great compassion, Nina is well-equipped to become a powerful agent of change.

“I am not afraid to admit that things can be hard, yet I help my son to see that sometimes the hardest things to do are the most worthwhile and that it is important not to give up just because something is tough.”

Justine is recognized by her professors as “inquisitive, insightful, and hardworking” with a “bright future in public service.”

“The act of storytelling not only helps us connect to other people, but it helps us to dispel myths and reveal truths about ourselves.”

“I am proud to be an example that people do recover, can change their lives, and help others do the same.”

“I want to teach students that STEM is for anyone and everyone. Through my academic, teaching, and outreach activities, I want to end the narrative of elitism in STEM and work to make it more inclusive.”

“I want to take my passion and what I have learned at SEAS to implement that knowledge in the world, where my work can make a difference for those who need it most.”

"I hope that my career will have the impact of...showing biracial people and members of the LGBTQ+ community that they can enter jobs and be an asset to the team because of their different backgrounds not despite them."

"My vision for achieving my goals is providing resources to my community through education and frontline action through outreach and engagement.”

“These are problems and challenges that took decades and decades and decades to build up to where they are now. We're not going to solve it overnight, but we also can’t be patient.”

“I pushed on because I needed to show my girls that if you persisted and put in the hard work you would achieve your goals and be successful at anything you put your mind to.”

Savanna’s mentors remark that she will “provide excellent and compassionate care for patients” and underscore her commitment to trauma-informed and equitable reproductive health care.

“What happens to non-human animals and wildlife, what happens with Black people, what happens with ecological communities...it’s all part of us and it’s all part of our shared stories and our shared struggles.”

“I hope to conduct applied research that pushes local governments to build a stronger network of institutions that assist populations resettling in the U.S...."

"I strive to ensure environmental health and safety for both farmers and their communities."

“In today’s society when there’s so many possibilities that can be a daunting and overwhelming endeavor, people are saying, ‘I need help… reconfiguring and reimagining how to make this work.’”

Anastasia’s professors and colleagues described her as “articulate, thoughtful, and involved,” and she is recognized for her “deep listening on social justice and environmental racism.”

Morgan’s guiding vision is to shape new practices and alternative economic development frameworks that prioritize the holistic well-being of residents.

Chloé emphasizes that “the ultimate goal of this project is to produce research that will be valuable in Indigenous communities’ work toward recognition and justice.”

“There is no reason whatsoever that would justify a mother dying from anything associated with a pregnancy.” 

“This incredible life my daughter has given me has been a blessing. I intend to return the favor and show my daughter anything is possible with the proper hard work and persistence.”

“Translanguaging is a culturally sustaining pedagogy. Home language is not a scaffolding or crutch toward learning English...Students’ bilingualism is a resource and not something that needs to be fixed.”

“I am most proud of my work with undergraduate student leaders at the University of Michigan, advocating for and advising them in their work to create a more just, healthy, and equitable community on campus.”

They have undertaken this work to “learn more about how individuals and agencies can redefine community and highlight the issues that young people face.”

“...go with what you have and be grateful for everything you learn on the way.”

“What drove these stepwise migrants was what propelled them to leave their home country in the first place: the hope for something better”

"Majewski’s book is an essential reminder that the voices of immigrants have always shaped the story of the United States."

"She is known among her colleagues as an outstanding nurse with “exceptional commitment to excellence and empathy for her patients.'”

"My experience drives me to ‘lift as I climb’ and ensure that everyone has access to education and opportunity.”

“My travels across the country launched my awareness of the ways place impacts education and wealth potential.”

“Look for opportunities that match your interests…and feel free to say no to those that don’t.”

"I hope to be able to find a job where I can practice therapy with the Latinx community and at the same time advocate for farmworker and immigrant rights."

“Our personal experiences and journeys of providing care provide our first layer of knowledge and experience that we can use to advocate for the services that we need. For the services that our loved ones need.”

“I hope that through my degree I am able to take the wealth of knowledge I have learned and apply it to my community. Health education can be a powerful tool when we have the right resources."

“We’re making sure students know that to connect with the supports that they need, they don’t have to do all the work to find us.”

“...working toward a fantastic that is restorative, transformative, and emancipatory has the power to remake our world."

“I hope everything I accomplish stands as a living example that all things are possible, no matter what you look like, where you come from, or what your experiences may have been.”

“Adjusting expectations is also self-care.”

“Education has always allowed me to help people near me. I take pride in providing useful advice and recommendations.”

CEW+ commends Marie Jeanne’s persistence and vision for her nursing career and names her the Sarah Winans Newman Scholar.

“Find people who are outside your small area of U of M…and connect with them and maybe you can learn something.”

Recognized as “highly professional, responsible, reliable, and adaptable,” Sarah is deeply committed to creating a better world for future generations.

Carissa Wengrovius is earning her PhD in movement science with the goal of promoting a more holistic approach to health care.

“We need to learn more about how historical trauma can affect the community, how deeply rooted that it is, and how it can transfer from one generation to another.”

CEW+ applauds Leanna’s commitment to addressing the problem of sexual violence and names her a 2021 Riecker Fellow.

"Have faith that as divided as this culture seems to be right now, just know that there have been other divisive times and we've gotten through those, and we can get through this one as well."

Huanyuan grew up in a cultural community where blending in was a common strategy for trying to guarantee a safer life. Now, through her art, Huanyuan wants to inspire more self-expression and conversations.

Now a mother of two, Ronotta is only more determined to demonstrate that it is never too late to achieve your dreams.

“...education alone will not lift communities out of poverty.”

“I hope to be a leader, give support to others, and leave behind a legacy that will continue after I am gone.”

"You have to try, you have to speak up, you have to use your voice. and know that you matter, your voice matters, your opinion matters, and you just gotta go for it."

Marsae Mitchell is passionate about helping students realize their potential through the arts.

“This area of research is important to me because I want to keep finding ways to exist in a world that doesn't want me to exist—to practice freedom and work toward liberation.”

Leah is recognized by her mentors and colleagues for both her resilience and exceptional work “that will enrich the field of contemporary dance.”

"You are seen. It’s easy to feel invisible, but the goal of this work and the work of CEW+ and many others is we're trying to shine a light on the path forward and provide helpful resources to make it easier to reach your goals."

“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.”