Cafe

Getting to Know Us: Sela Constan-Wahl

What did you do prior to coming to the University of Michigan?
I was getting a master’s degree in music performance at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.

Why did you chose the University of Michigan?
The Preservation of Information graduate program is one of the best in the country.  The fact that the school is located in Ann Arbor, a city I’ve loved for years, made my decision to come here much easier.

What do you plan to explore here at the National Forum?
I want to explore other issues surrounding access to knowledge outside of my current education purview.  I am looking forward to assisting with Forum projects and providing support to the National Forum team as a whole.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I also work as a professional violinist!

 

Get to Know Us: Kelly Finzer

What were you doing before you came to the University of Michigan?
I was an internship coordinator in Washington, D.C.  I came to U of M because of the National Forum and the philanthropy advancement program.

When you think about higher education’s role in society, what intrigues you?
I am intrigued by the doors higher education opens and people’s abilities to reach these doors.

What are you looking forward to working on at the National Forum?
I’m looking forward to switching teams and observing and supervising others on their work.  I will also be working on writing the Carnegie and Ford Motor Company funding grants!

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
As an alumna of The Ohio State University, I am a Buckeye in enemy territory.  ;)

Read more about Kelly in her bio.

 

Get to Know Us: Gabe VanLoozen

What made you decide to come to the University of Michigan?
A few reasons: it has great academics, I live in-state, and it is my mother’s alma mater.

What are some of your interests, academic or otherwise?
Academically, I am interested in international relations. I also enjoy skiing.

Where are you from ?
I am originally from up north, Petoskey, MI.

What is something interesting that people might not know about you?
I am a classically trained violinist.

 

Read more about Gabe in his bio.

Get to Know Us: Cameron McGraw

What were you doing before you came to the National Forum?
I was working as a student at the University of Michigan where I study Actuarial Mathematics and Japanese Language and Culture.

What made you decide to come to the University of Michigan?
It’s a great school with wonderful people, and a nice proximity to my hometown, Troy. I was initially undeclared but knew that I could study whatever I wanted here in Ann Arbor.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time outside the Forum?
Outside of my work at the Forum and my studies, I really enjoy playing music, specifically playing drums. Any downtime I get to jam with some friends and my brother is always worth it.

What is something interesting about yourself that people may not know?
Living in Michigan all of my life, I have never experienced an earthquake. That is, until I was studying in Japan last year during the Sendai earthquake and its resulting tsunamis and aftershocks.

Read more about Cameron at his bio.

Get to Know Us: Jessica Joslin

It's Tuesday at the National Forum, Get to Know Jessica Joslin #url#

Where were you before coming to the University of Michigan?
I was working as a residence assistant living in a freshman dorm at Harvard, while also working in residential life.

What made you elect the Center for the Study of Higher Education and Postsecondary Education for your Ph.D. program?
I have been thinking about the role of religion in higher education for years and I wanted to have a more focused study. Plus, I generally enjoy the task of thinking, reading, and writing – what a great job to have!

What are you intrigued by when thinking about higher education’s role in society?
Questions of value – “What do we value as an institution? What do we hope our students and alumni value?” – and discussions of faith in higher education (i.e. how do we celebrate both faith and the academic life?).

What is an interesting fact about you?
My mom is a zoo veterinarian so I grew up with a lot of crazy animals visiting my home; they included a baby tiger, baby hippo, and a baby gorilla, just to name few.

Learn more about Jess in her bio.

Get to Know Us: Angela Vidal-Rodriguez

What were you doing before you joined the National Forum?
I was living in Chicago working as an academic skills specialist and DFI (Diversifying Faculty in Illinois) coordinator. I came to Michigan because I think it is the best option to specialize myself in organizational behavior.

What are you looking forward to working on here at the Forum?
Specifically, projects that seek to improve the access of higher education to underrepresented students.

What is your life like outside of work?
I am married with a daughter who is 20 months old. We also have two pet dogs, Frida and Flea.

Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I love working with students, especially the UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program) students we have with us at the Forum.

Read more about Angela in her bio.

Get to Know Us: Dan Parrish, C.S.C.

It's Tuesday at the National Forum, Get to Know Dan Parrish, C.S.C. #url#

What were you doing before you came to Michigan?
I was ordained a Holy Cross priest in April of 2004 and worked at Notre Dame for five years. During that time, I served Zahm Hall as its rector and worked as an intern in the budget office.

What made you decide to come to the University of Michigan?
A few reasons: the general sense of community here (especially at the Forum), the quality of the CSHPE (Center for the Study of Higher Education and Postsecondary Education), my relationship with Forum director John Burkhardt, and for its proximity to South Bend (so I can get home once in a while to catch up with my brothers).

Do you have any hobbies outside of work?
I enjoy woodworking, baking, hunting, and fishing (not all at the same time, however).

What does the National Forum mean to you?
The Forum is about changing the world as a community. We create community with each other, with those we serve, and with other scholars. Too often in this world we focus on what makes people different – at the Forum we work hard in our research and engaged scholarship to topple barriers and create pathways for all people to live rich lives in community with one another.

Read more about Dan in his bio.

Get to Know Us: Raquel Khadi’Ja Welch-Johnson

Where were you before coming to work at the National Forum?
I worked for Support Through Intervention and Prevention for the Pontiac School District.

Where are you from originally?
I was born in Great Lakes, Illinois.  My family originated in Alexandria, Louisiana.  I spent half of my life in the south and in Michigan.

In your time at the Forum, what are you looking forward to?
I am excited to plan community collaborations that will bring postsecondary education knowledge to those who have the ability, but lack the knowledge of the process.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your work at the National Forum?
My favorite pastime is to write poetry and sing.  And I really love African Dance.
Read more about Raquel in her bio.

Get to Know Us: Joanna Frye

What were you doing before you came to the National Forum?
I was working as a program specialist at the Office of New Student Programs at U of M. Prior to that, I was working on my M.A. in Student Affairs at Michigan State University.

What made you decide to come to the University of Michigan?
I really wanted to get involved with research that has the potential to shape policy and impact higher education in a positive way.

Why did you decide to elect the Center for the Study of Higher Education and Postsecondary Education for your Ph.D. program?
I am interested in the intersections between public policy and higher education, specifically looking at public support for higher education.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I always like spending time with my husband and my 11-month-old daughter. Other than that, when I’m not working on school-related matters, I am usually knitting.

Learn more about Joanna in her bio.

Get to Know Us: Aurora Kamimura

What were you doing before coming to the University of Michigan?
I was working as Associate Dean at Santa Ana College; I was supervising six different program areas: EOPS, CARE, Cal WORKs, YESS (for emancipated foster youth), SAC Tutorial Learning Center, and Study Skills.

Why did you decide to elect your current program of study?
I am very interested in the Organizational Behavior of Postsecondary Institutions, especially as it helps foster strong student success, access and diversity.

What is something that intrigues you when thinking about higher education’s role in society?
I am intrigued by how higher education helps mold our society, and our moral obligation to help change and bridge the gaps in our communities.

What is your life like outside of the Forum?
I enjoy spending time with my family. I have two wonderful sons, Marco (age 12) and Michio (age 7), and a loving husband, Mark, who is also an alum of CSHPE.

Read more about Aurora in her bio.

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