2013 - 2014

April 28, 2014

CMU Student Receives Udall Foundation Honorable Mention
The Udall Foundation was established by Congress in 1992 to honor the public service of Morris K. Udall, and enhanced in 2009 to also honor the public service of Stewart L. Udall. Each year, the Udall foundation awards federally funded scholarships to college students committed to pursuing careers related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care.
Amanda Slezsak, a junior from Freeland majoring in exercise physiology, has been awarded an Honorable Mention from the Udall Foundation scholarship competition. She was one of only 50 students nationwide to be awarded an honorable mention in a highly competitive scholarship competition that produced nearly 500 applications. Slezsak is the first student in CMU history to be recognized by the Udall Foundation.
Congratulations Amanda!
April 17, 2014

Two CMU Students Receive Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships

The Fulbright Program is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars, and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide. The program is designed to “increase mutual understanding between people of the U.S. and people of other countries.”
Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Recipient - Turkey
Sarah Alm received notification recently that she has been awarded a prestigious and highly competitive Fulbright grant. Alm, a 2013 CMU graduate from Mt. Pleasant, earned her B.A. in Music. She is one of 80 individuals from across the country, chosen from a pool of over several hundreds of applicants, to be offered an English Teaching Assistantship in Turkey.



Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Recipient - South Korea  

1%20Ben%20Harris%20Fulbright%20ScholarBen Harris, a senior Honors student from Allen Park, has been selected to receive a prestigious and highly competitive Fulbright grant. He is one of about 80 individuals selected from a pool of nearly 300 applicants to receive a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in South Korea.

Congratulations to both Sarah and Ben on their exciting accomplishments! 

April 28, 2014

Two Students Nominated to Compete for Udall Scholarships

Jarrod Blundy and Amanda Slezsak have been nominated by Central Michigan University to compete for one of 50 scholarships awarded each year by the Udall Foundation.

The Udall Foundation was established by Congress in 1992 to honor the public service of Morris K. Udall, and enhanced in 2009 to also honor the public service of Stewart L. Udall.  Each year, the Udall foundation awards federally funded scholarships to college students committed to pursuing careers related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care.

Jarrod Blundy: Outdoor Recreation

1%20J%20BlundyJarrod Blundy, a junior Honors student from Ionia majoring in outdoor recreation has been nominated to compete for a scholarship from the Udall Foundation. He is the president of Outdoor Opportunities, a student organization dedicated to sharing their passion for the outdoors with youth, and a member of the Student Recreation Association and High Adventure Club.


In 2010, Blundy served as a staff member for the Boy Scouts of America's National Youth Leadership Training, a seven-day backwoods leadership camp. As a team guide, he facilitated various challenges designed to encourage teamwork and leadership development. In 2013, he was charged with recruiting and training staff members, and facilitating the entire week-long camp.


Blundy's involvement with the Boy Scouts of America has both strengthened his leadership skills and given him an appreciation for the wilderness; however, it was his experiences in a CMU Honors course - RPL 360: Advanced Wilderness Adventure Trip Facilitation – that solidified his passion for outdoor recreation and exposed him to the rigors of leadership through backpacking on a deserted island.


"I reflected on the meaningful relationships I formed in my outdoor experiences with others: scouts, youth, and professors alike, which confirmed that becoming an instructor who enables such relationships was my path," he said.


Blundy believes environmental education and experiential learning are his greatest tools in helping others understand their place in world. As a leader in the field of outdoor recreation, he hopes to inspire all people to be successful, compassionate, and ethical leaders through meaningful exposure to the natural world.


"My dream is for all people to respect and enjoy the beauty of nature, then feel moved to preserve it in their own individual ways," he said.


Blundy hopes to continue educating others as an instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School. "It is imperative for us, as Earth's dominant beings, to care for its other inhabitants by minimizing our impact," Blundy said. He believes people form an emotional connection with the land after experiencing the untamed nature of the backcountry, which leads them to return at every available opportunity. "It is my goal to provide people with such opportunities," he said.


Amanda Slezsak: Exercise Physiology

1%20Amanda_SlezsakAmanda Slezsak, a junior from Freeland pursuing a degree in exercise physiology has been nominated to compete for a scholarship from the Udall Foundation. She is a 2013 McNair Scholar, the treasurer of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, a member of the North American Indigenous Student Organization, and has served in multiple leadership positions in the Student National Medical Association.


Slezsak is also involved in Native American Heritage month, an annual event organized by the office of Native American Programs. She has helped plan the Pow Wow and served on the Native American student panel for the past three years. Slezsak says these experiences have taught her more about Native culture. "I have become more educated and I have a much greater appreciation for the culture," she said.


Her Native American heritage and interest in health care drove Slezsak to learn more about health disparities within Native American communities. As a McNair Scholar, she worked with Dr. William Saltarelli to assess cardiovascular disease risk factors in Native American children. During her research, Slezsak found a limited number of studies existed concerning the health of the Native American population. "I want to make a change," Slezsak said. "I want to contribute more knowledge and research to this area."


Slezsak believes that continuing her education in a health wellness graduate program is the next step towards accomplishing her goal of helping Native Americans fight disease. She wants to learn more about chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, and the risk factors that contribute to their prevalence in Native American communities.


Once she earns her Ph.D., Slezsak intends to pursue a career as a researcher or clinician focused on Native American health. "I want to utilize nutrition, exercise science, and psychology to encourage individuals to integrate health habits into their lifestyles," she said.


Slezsak hopes to educate Native Americans about the health implications of chronic diseases and ultimately, reduce the rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease through intervention and prevention programs.

February 10, 2014
CMU Nominates Two Students to Compete for Goldwater Scholarships

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served for 56 years as a soldier and U.S. senator. Scholarships are awarded each year to 300 college sophomores and juniors committed to pursuing research careers in mathematics, engineering, or the natural sciences.

Amanda Clark: Biochemistry

2%20Clark%20Photo Amanda Clark, a junior from Three Oaks majoring in biochemistry has been nominated to compete for a Goldwater scholarship. She is a 2013 McNair Scholar and Vice President of the CMU Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society.

Clark has been working with Dr. Choon Lee on research involving the synthesis of antioxidant dendrimers – repetitively branching molecules – since January of 2012. The goal of her most recent project was to synthesize a second generation dendrimer.

She evaluated the pro-oxidant effects of the dendrimer, but was not able to fully test its antioxidant capacity. She is currently redesigning her compound to make it more soluble in biocompatible solvents in hopes that it can someday be used to help treat cancer and other diseases. "I enjoy research because of its challenges. It is thought provoking and very difficult, but I enjoy the amount of knowledge I am gaining from the experience," Clark said.

Clark's interest in cancer medications stems from a very personal connection to the disease. She lost her father to lung cancer at age fifteen. Two years later, Clark was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. After experiencing the side effects of chemotherapy medications firsthand, she was inspired to help develop medications with fewer adverse effects.

Clark has been in remission since undergoing chemotherapy, but she will never forget her battle with cancer. "I keep the memories with me as motivation for what I want to help discover someday," she said.

Clark plans to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry and pursue a research career in academia. She hopes to pass along her enthusiasm for science to future students and conduct research that aids in the development of new cancer treatment medications.

Che Ting Ho: Biomedical Engineering

2%20Ho%20pictureChe Ting Ho, a sophomore from Alma majoring in biomedical engineering has been nominated to compete for a Goldwater scholarship. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and the Science and Technology Residential College.

Ho is currently working on a research project with Dr. Tolga Kaya involving electrotation. Their goal is to develop a technique for detecting disease through the entrapment and rotation of diseased cells. "This could potentially help medical professionals detect diseases, such as cancer, more quickly," Ho said.

Ho is currently working to direct the movement of polymer particles, but she hopes to eventually use the same technique to separate diseased cells from healthy ones.

"Our goal is to induce the diseased cells to gather at the center of an electromagnetic field where we can trap them," she said.

Ho was first introduced to Dr. Kaya as a student in one of his courses. Impressed by her problem-solving skills and strong work ethic, he offered Ho the chance to help design and fabricate printed circuit boards for a summer program called Research Experience for Teachers. The program provides pre-and in-service teachers with research skills and projects to incorporate in their own classrooms.

In August 2013, Dr. Kaya offered Ho the opportunity to join his research team. She was grateful for the opportunity to become involved in faculty-led research. "I love research because it challenges not only my knowledge and technical skills, but also my creativity," Ho said.

Ho plans to earn a M.D./ Ph.D. and pursue prosthesis-related research. She became interested in prosthesis design after learning that many people living with disabilities cannot afford current models. Ho hopes to design more affordable prostheses using lower cost materials to improve the quality of life of individuals who have suffered amputations.

November 21, 2013 
CMU Nominates Ten Students to Compete for Fulbright Scholarships
The Fulbright program is the largest U.S. international exchange program, offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals to increase understanding between U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries through international graduate study, advanced research and teaching. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 155 countries.
Sarah Alm: English Teaching Assistantship Nominee to Turkey
Sarah Alm, a recent CMU graduate from Mount Pleasant, has been nominated to compete for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Turkey. Alm, having twice traveled to Turkey, welcomes the opportunity to return to a country she describes as deeply rooted in generosity and kindness to promote cultural diplomacy. She seeks to create lasting bonds between members of foreign cultures and help bridge the gaps that divide our modern world.
Alm first visited Turkey in 2009 to reconnect with an exchange student she became friends with during her time at Mount Pleasant High School. Alm returned to Turkey for a second time in 2012 after receiving a grant from CMU’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. She spent two weeks conducting interviews and recording songs in Izmir, Istanbul, and Antalya to determine if similarities existed between Turkish lullabies and those of the Anishinaabemowin of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.
Following her trip to Turkey, Alm spent four months studying French language, history, and culture at the Université Catholique de l’Ouest in Angers, France, where she received a certificate in French fluency.
Alm graduated from CMU with a bachelor’s degree in May 2013. She is currently working as an intern at the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra.
Sam Easter: English Teaching Assistantship Nominee to Brazil
Photo%20-%20Sam%20EasterSam Easter, a recent CMU Honors program graduate from Midland, has been nominated to compete for an English Teaching Assistantship in Brazil. If awarded, Easter is eager to use sports to help others, especially on an intercultural scale. He says much of his success has resulted from the discipline, self-respect, and camaraderie afforded by athletics. Easter intends to work with youth sports in Brazil to help transmit these important values across politicalborders.
During his time at CMU, Easter pursued an English major and worked in the CMU Writing Center. His experiences working with students—often internationals—on the mechanics of grammar and writing will directly translate to teaching students English in Brazil. Easter gained journalism experience working as college journalist at CMU’s student publication Central Michigan Life and as a freelance journalist for the Midland Daily News. He also participated in literature and international summer schools at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
Easter gained experience in sports administration while serving as president of the Triathlon Club at Central Michigan University, leading the team to competitions in multiple states, and additionally served as treasurer of Outdoor Opportunities, a local student organization that aims to teach children about the outdoors. Participation in the Fulbright Program will provide him with the opportunity to use sports as cross-cultural communication and to contribute to communities across the globe.
Easter graduated from CMU with a bachelor’s degree in May 2013. He is currently working as a general-assignment reporting intern with MLive Media and the Bay City Times, and eventually plans to earn a master’s or doctoral degree.
Ben Harris: English Teaching Assistantship Nominee to South Korea
Benjamin Harris, a senior Honors student from Allen Park majoring in English and History, has been nominated to compete for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in South Korea. If awarded, Harris seeks to educate others about the importance of global citizenship. Everyone should be an advocate for the enforcement of international law, he says, which is a behavior that begins with the introduction of debate and civil discourse to young adults Harris is excited to work with a network of dedicated colleagues, and to encourage students to resolve disputes through debate and negotiation instead ofviolence.
In August 2013, Harris’ interests in peace and global justice led him to The Hague, Netherlands, where he studied the International Criminal Court under the direction of CMU Professor of Philosophy Hope May. He is currently studying at Korea University. The story of Korean judge and diplomat Yi Jun is of particular interest to Harris. He hopes to use Yi’s narrative to educate Korean students about the importance of international law. Harris knows Yi’s actions at the 1907 Hague Peace Conference are of national renown in Korea, and he wants to emphasize Yi’sdetermination and advocacy for peaceful arbitration to his students.
Although he is interested in history and global relations, Harris considers himself foremost a student of writing. His experience as a senior reporter for Central Michigan Life and the media relations coordinator for the CMU National Scholarship Office prompted Harris to devote considerable attention to sentence-level writing, a skill which has given him a better understanding of his native language. Through his participation in the Korean University exchange program, he spends at least eight hours per week tutoring his roommates in English. Harris is eager to continue sharing his expertise and help even more Korean students become better writers and speakers of the English language.
Harris’ future plans include earning a professional doctorate in law (J.D.).

Heather Hillman: English Teaching Assistantship Nominee to Malta Photo%20-%20Heather%20Hillman
Heather Hillman, a Port Huron senior Honors student, has been nominated to compete for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Malta. If awarded, Hillman believes the experience teaching in another country will allow her to better serve her future students in the United States. She believes it is essential for teachers to be well-educated about different cultures because the backgrounds of students and teachers are often very different. Hillman feels that firsthand experiences in other cultures offer the best education and promote acceptance of diversity.
Hillman has always had a passion for travelling and has exposed herself to a variety of cultures during her time at CMU. She studied abroad at Kingston University in London, England, explored nearby Ireland and France, and completed her pre-student teaching in Oaxaca, Mexico. Hillman has also travelled to Massachusetts, Mississippi, and South Carolina as part of CMU’s nationally ranked Alternative Breaks Program.
Hillman has an obvious thirst for travelling, but her passion for serving others, especially in the classroom, is just as evident. She has volunteered weekly in a local sixth grade classroom, conducted tours of CMU for seventh grade students, served as a teacher at a week-long camp designed to help students transition into middle school, and worked as a substitute teacher. In 2010, Hillman served as a mentor to first-year CMU Honors students and participated in an Honors service learning course on Beaver Island. She welcomes the opportunity to continue serving others by working with school children, refugees, and asylum seekers in Malta.
With a major in social studies and minors in language arts and middle education, Hillman has the potential to influence the lives of students through multiple subjects. Recognition and incorporation of diversity, she says, is crucial to effective teaching and the creation of a caring classroom environment. Although almost a teacher herself, Hillman acknowledges that the children in Malta will likely teach her more about the world than she could possibly teach them.
Hillman plans to teach at the middle school level before enrolling in graduate school to earn a master's degree in an education related field.

Andrea Howard: Fulbright Research Grant Nominee to Germany Photo%20-%20Andrea%20Howard
Andrea Howard, a Coleman senior majoring in history, has been nominated to compete for a Fulbright Research Grant to study American prisoners of war held under Nazi Germany’s Night and Fog policy. If awarded, Howard would like to conduct research using the archives at Buchenwald and Berga, two concentration camps that were known, or rumored, to have held American POWs, as well as investigate the possible presence of American POWs at Sachsenhausen and Dachau. Freiburg, Berlin, and Ludwigsburg, Germany also hold archives of interest for Howard.
Howard has conducted research on the popularity of National Socialism in Germany at the Anglo-American University in Prague, Czech Republic and Jewish-American POWs in Nazi Germany at CMU. The latter was published in CMU’s Humanorum journal and resulted in Howard being awarded the Shapiro Prize through CMU’s College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Studies. Howard is proficient in German and hopes to conduct her research with the help of professors from the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, due to its location near the Buchenwald concentration camp, and at the University of Hanover in Hanover, Germany, due to its location near POW camps and archives.
After earning her bachelor’s degree, Howard intends to continue her research as a doctoral student by conducting a comparative study on American and German POWs of World War II. She believes that a comparative study would shed light on this largely unstudied facet of World War II and promote a better understanding of the past. Only through understanding of the past, believes Howard, can there be collective healing in the present.
 Sarah King: English Teaching Assistantship Nominee to Malaysia Photo%20-%20Sarah%20King
Sarah King, a Rockford senior Honors student majoring in Spanish, has been nominated to compete for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Malaysia. If awarded, King seeks to create a mutual understanding between the people of the United States and Malaysia. She is excited to learn Malay, the national language of Malaysia, to see the world from a different perspective, and to gain a broader understanding of Eastern cultures.
King has several previous cultural experiences. She participated in a faculty-led service learning course in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2011. She also spent a semester studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador, an experience she describes as academically challenging and personally fulfilling. King’s commitment to public service prompted her to seek opportunities to serve others in Quito, including working at a local orphanage, where she spent over a hundred hours caring for infants. King hopes to build similar connections with the people of Malaysia and would ideally like to serve at an orphanage or childcare center to help foster early English literacy skills and encourage positive attitudes towards education.
King is currently creating benchmarks to track early elementary student progress in a Spanish immersion program and conducting research to determine which factors are contributing to student success. She also tutors university students through the English Language Institute at CMU, which has given her a better understanding of the challenges teachers face in teaching pedagogic English. These experiences have cemented her desire to continue working with children and to pursue a career as a language teacher. Teaching English abroad will be pivotal in her decision to earn a teaching certificate in the United States or continue teaching abroad.
Katherine Leach: French Gov. Teaching Assistantship Nominee to France
Photo%20-%20Katherine%20LeachKatherine Leach, a Saginaw senior majoring in English and French, has been nominated to compete for a Fulbright French Government Teaching Assistantship in France. If awarded, Leach will use the opportunity to enhance her French language skills while providing meaningful assistance to socioeconomically-underprivileged areas in France. She also hopes to study in Angers, France, through CMU Study Abroad in the summer of 2014.
Leach earned her B.A. in English from CMU in December 2012. She is currently pursuing a B.S. in French and an M.A. in English. Her educational experiences have helped her to understand that the study of international connectivity is essential to eliminating the disparities in communication created by our increasingly globalized society. Although advancements in technology bring individuals of different nationalities together in seconds, Leach believes linguistic and cultural understanding are often lacking in these relationships.
Leach looks forward to immersing herself in French language, literature, and culture beyond her previous classroom experiences. By experiencing French culture firsthand, she hopes to return to the U.S. with an enhanced understanding of French language, dialects, politics, and issues. She hopes to integrate international ideas into domestic conversation in order to enrich the depth and breadth of American students' familiarity with the global community.
Leach intends to pursue a Ph.D. and eventually share her international perspective with students as a language instructor at an institution of higher education.
 Dallas Michelbacher: Fulbright Research Grant Nominee to Romania
Dallas Michelbacher, a doctoral student from Warner Robins, Georgia, has been nominated to compete for a Fulbright Research Grant to conduct dissertation research in Romanian archives. His research focuses on the forced labor of Romanian Jews during the Holocaust, a subject which has been neglected in the existing historiography of the Holocaust in Romania. The Romanian government has only recently ended its official policy of Holocaust denial, thus his research will be crucial to informing the Romanian population about this portion of their past.

Michelbacher has presented twice at the Romanian Studies Conference held annually at Indiana University and published papers in two academic journals. In 2012, he published “The Ford Motor Company in Romanian-Occupied Odessa, 1942-44,” in the Romanian Review of Eurasian Studies and “The Deportation of Ethnic Minorities to the USSR and the Romanian National Idea” in the History of Communism in Europe. He has also contributed a chapter, entitled “Anti-Semitism and Economic Regeneration: The Ustasha Regime and the Nationalization of Jewish Property and Business in Sarajevo” in the forthcoming edited volume The Utopia of Terror: Life, Death and Everyday Culture in the Ustasha State, 1941-1945. He presented this chapter at the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies Convention in New Orleans in 2012. In 2013, Michelbacher presented his research on the intellectual and political origins of anti-Semitic labor policy in interwar Romania at Indiana University.
Michelbacher has also completed language study fellowships through the American Council of Learned Societies and Title VIII, as well as completed two years of Romanian language training in preparation for his research.
Michelbacher is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in history at Central Michigan University.
Kathryn Steklac: English Teaching Assistantship Nominee to Macau
Kathryn Steklac, a senior Honors student from Chelsea majoring in music education, has been nominated to compete for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Macau. If awarded, Steklac looks forward to serving as a cultural ambassador for the United States and hopes to instill an appreciation for diversity in her students. Working with university students in Macau, she says, will provide her a unique opportunity to challenge herself intellectually and prepare her for a future career in an education related field.
Steklac’s interest in international education was sparked during her time spent studying abroad in Beijing, China during the summer of 2012. Upon her return to CMU, she founded International Peer Partners to connect CMU Honors Program students and international students and foster mutual understanding between cultures. In 2013, Steklac travelled to Cape Coast, Ghana where she taught English, math, and music to first grade students and facilitated a workshop on classroom management techniques for staff at the Mary Queen of Peace Catholic School.
In addition to her experiences abroad, Steklac has also gained extensive leadership experience through CMU's Alternative Breaks program. As a site leader, she led three week-long domestic service trips and organized issue education to increase her participants’ awareness of social justice issues. As lead site and service development chair, Steklac also coordinated twenty nine service trips, an experience that taught her the importance of adaptability and strong communication skills. Through her service and extensive experience abroad, Steklac hopes to encourage her future students to become active global citizens.

Steklac will earn her bachelor’s degree and Michigan teaching certification this December and eventually hopes to earn a Ph.D. in education.
 Christina White: Research Grant Nominee to Canada
Christina White, a Traverse City graduate student studying English language and literature, has been nominated to compete for a Fulbright Research Grant to study English Canadian and First Nations literature in Victoria, Canada. If awarded this grant, White plans to explore the experiences of First Nations children sent to Canadian residential schools. She plans to use First Nations memoirs as well as the literature of English Canadian author, Emily Carr, as lenses through which to understand these experiences.
Dr. Misao Anne Dean, specialist in English Canadian women’s literature, has issued Christina White an official invitation to study under her purveyance at the University of Victoria. Dr. Dean has published work on the Canadian “new woman,” an archetype that Emily Carr embodies.
As a graduate assistant, White currently teaches freshman composition at CMU. She hopes to present her Victoria research at the CMU-affiliated 2015 Human Rights, Literature, the Arts, and Social Sciences International Conference in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She plans to teach undergraduate literature and composition in the future, placing an emphasis on English Canadian and First Nations literature.
White is currently pursuing an MA degree at CMU with a focus on Victorian literature in relation to feminist and postcolonial theory. She plans to either pursue a PhD in English literature or teach at the community college level as she delights in working with freshmen.