As the 2019-2020 academic year comes to a close, we want to applaud our newest graduating Blavin Scholars!
We are so proud of these eight students and their hard work overcoming life’s challenges and completing their respective degrees at Northern Arizona University and University of Michigan! It’s a big, well-deserved step forward on their paths. Achieving a huge goal like this one will give them the additional skills and confidence for future successes.
They join past Blavin Scholars to bring our total number of graduates to 75!
Of course, this spring’s graduation season is unlike any in the past. While our students’ commencement ceremonies may be held virtually, their accomplishments are very real. In fact, this unusual time just underscores the perseverance and resilience that has brought them this far and will continue to serve them throughout their lives.
We are honored to be a part of their journeys.
Please meet these inspiring individuals…
Andrew M., University of Michigan
Andrew is a 5-year Blavin Scholar graduating with his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Andrew is excited for the many opportunities to travel and start his career, as well as all the personal growth and fond memories that will come from those experiences. His advice to incoming scholars is to make the most of what you have because you can accomplish more than you know. Andrew will miss the support system that is the Blavin Team, but will especially miss the Blavin liaisons and knowing that “there’s a liaison for that!”
Chris S., University of Michigan
Chris graduated from the University of Michigan (UM) with a B.S.E in Biomedical Engineering this past winter. During Chris’ time at the UM College of Engineering, Chris delved into research and developed novel biomedical devices. Chris is most proud of developing an automated device with four other teammates for the quick detection of histamine from saliva. Chris collaboratively created a chemistry method for the detection of histamine that resulted in a ten-fold time improvement from existing quantitative methods. This pushed the technology closer to being fast enough for first responders to use saliva histamine to screen patients for anaphylaxis. Chris found his passion for working on life saving technologies and is driven to develop and automate early detection methods for cancer.
Ella L., University of Michigan
Ella is graduating with her bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. Ella is a 4-year Blavin Scholar and Bonderman Fellow. After graduation, she plans to take a gap year to travel abroad and then come back to the states and attend medical school. Ella’s biggest takeaway as a Blavin Scholar is knowing that there are always people rooting for you and ready to cheer you on. Ella is so excited to be challenged and grow while doing what she loves in the future.
Liz T., Northern Arizona University
Liz is graduating with her bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice with a minor in Law & Society. Her short-term goal for after graduation is to find full time employment in the social sciences field — AND to buy a house within the month after. When asked about her biggest takeaway as a Blavin Scholar, Liz says, “After having been in the program for almost four years and seeing the Blavins achieve so much collectively, I have just realized how much potential that people with some of the most troubled pasts can still have. We, collectively, have exceeded my own expectations and expectations of so many others, who maybe didn’t see us ever going as far as we have. I know there was a time when I didn’t.” Her advice to incoming Blavin Scholars is to “Use every bit of support you have available to you. The Blavin Scholars Program gives so many resources, of every kind, to help you succeed. Take advantage of those resources and all of the wonderful people around you while you can. They want to help you succeed. You just have to let them help you.”
Pierra W., University of Michigan
Pierra is a 5-year Blavin Scholar graduating with her bachelor’s degrees in Business and Psychology. She was awarded University Honors and is graduating with Distinction from the Ross School of Business. For now, Pierra will be heading to New York to work for JP Morgan, while she continues to chase her dreams of starting her own nonprofit and attending graduate school. Pierra is most excited about the opportunity to help and support others in her future work and has found that to be one of the biggest passions in her life. She encourages everyone to always reach for the stars just as she has!
Stephen B., University of Michigan
Stephen is graduating with his bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. Stephen is a 4-year Blavin Scholar and a recipient of the Ginsberg Social Justice Award. He plans to continue his work with UM’s Division of Public Safety and Security and ultimately hopes to work at a university keeping students safe and improving student’s perception of law enforcement. Stephen’s advice to incoming students is to always believe in themselves as he is grateful to the Blavin Scholars Program for always believing in him.
Toree B., University of Michigan
Toree is graduating from the School of Kinesiology with her bachelor’s degree in Movement Science and a minor in Intraoperative Neurophysiology. She is a 4-year Blavin Scholar and a recipient of the Michigan Student Life Difference Student Leadership Award. After graduation, Toree will be moving to Nashville, Tennessee to work as a Surgical Neurophysiologist where she will be monitoring brains and spinal cords during surgery. Beyond that, she plans to pursue a Master’s in Clinical Nutrition and eventually attend medical school. Toree encourages everyone to ask the big questions, not to fear the unknown, but to lean into it and embrace all that comes your way from it. She is beyond grateful for the educational experiences she’s had and is welcoming with open arms those to come in her future.
Zachary G., Northern Arizona University
Zachary is graduating with his bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Then he’s off to complete the prerequisites for his MBA. Zachary says his biggest takeaway as a Blavin Scholar is probably that there’s more people out there like him . “I think a lot of the Blavin Scholars, including myself, have outgoing personalities and rely on friends and the people around them more than anything. That is why this group is special. It’s not just a monetary scholarship. It’s a niche community that lets us all support each other.” He offers this advice to incoming Blavin Scholars: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Try to make friends in the group. Most importantly, ask what resources are available to you for issues you may be going through. I guarantee there’s help for that issue.”