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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.

 

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.

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.

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.

Get to Know Us: Kim Reyes

Kim PortraitWhat were you doing before you came to the University of Michigan?
I worked as an admissions officer and Latino student recruiter for my alma mater, Duke University.

Why did you decide to elect higher education for your area of study?
I wanted to learn more about how colleges and universities run, how students develop, and how I could be the best advocate possible for Latino collegians.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your work at the Forum?
My favorite pastime is anytime when my family is together, or when I’m reading to my beautiful 4-year-old niece, Sophia.

What is something interesting people might not know about you?
I served on the National Board of my sorority, Lambda Pi Chi, a Latina sorority dedicated to la comunidad, la cultura, and la Hermandad.


Read more about Kim in her bio.

Get to Know Us: Drew Murray

Drew PortraitWhere are you from originally?
I was born in Virginia, but I am liking Michigan a bit more everyday.

What is one thing you are interested in regards to higher education?
I am interested in learning about other people, what they are doing, what they want to be doing, and how they plan to eventually get there.

In your time at the Forum, what are you excited to explore/execute?
A way for the Forum to define itself and its role in serving society’s public goods. Writing funding and research proposals offers a mechanism for us to make that case to prospective partners.

What is your idea of the perfect vacation?
Spending time with my family either on Lake Michigan, in the suburbs of D.C., or in the Roanoke Valley.


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