Maize and Blue Scholars and Student Speakers Selected for May 2011 Commencements

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From the Maize and Blue recipient list, Samantha J. Honea was selected commencement speaker at the 11 a.m. ceremony and Cameron K. Waites will be the commencement speaker at the 4 p.m. ceremony.

The Maize and Blue Distinguished Scholar Award is the highest academic award bestowed upon a graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint. From the Maize and Blue recipient list, Samantha J. Honea was selected commencement speaker for the 11 a.m. ceremony and Cameron K. Waites will be the commencement speaker at the 4 p.m. ceremony.

Samantha Honea:

Samantha Honea will graduate with a double major, one in sociology and another in criminal justice.

Samantha knew that she wanted to go to law school after graduation, "so I thought that Criminal Justice would be the best choice for a major.  Later, some of my professors suggested majoring in Sociology as well."

She says the sociology classes gave her a different perspective that she will take with her in her future career. "My professors also suggested getting a minor in Women and Gender Studies. Every class I have taken has given me new information, and helped me form a new opinion of the world."

Samantha says support she received from her professors, other faculty, and staff has made her experience at the UM-Flint a much richer one. "I have become more involved within the community and on the campus because I have received encouragement from the faculty and staff."

Next fall, Samantha will attend the U-M Law School, but admits she is unsure of the exact field of law she wants to enter.

Her grandmother and her future mother-in-law attended UM-Flint.  Samantha admits to being "unbelievably proud" to follow in those footsteps, and to be selected Student Speaker.

"My time on this campus has been, for lack of a better word, amazing. I have been involved in as much as possible, and these experiences have introduced me to a new side of myself. I have done things I never pictured myself doing, and I owe this newfound courage to the University of Michigan-Flint."

Cameron Waites:

Less than three years ago, Cameron left active duty after serving as a medic in Iraq to enter UM-Flint as a Health Sciences major. During that time, the Michigan native has been fortunate to receive many awards and distinctions at the local, state, and national levels– such as becoming the first University of Michigan student selected as a scholar in the prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship Program and the Amgen Scholars/Stanford University Summer Research Program. Cameron is most proud of the opportunities he's had to give back to his community. As a member of the Diversity Council at UM-Flint, he helped create a partnership between the Flint Public Library, the Flint Community Schools, and the university that brought national scholars to the Flint area to discuss race relations and U.S. history.

He served as a member of the 2011 Critical Issues Forum Planning Committee, and not only assisted with selecting the nationally known speakers, but suggested ways to broaden the forum's impact on both the campus and community. As a member of the State of Michigan's Bipartisan TALENT Committee, Cameron wrote a section of the committee's white paper focused on attracting and retaining Michigan's college graduates and young professionals.

Last June, while conducting research at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, he attended the 1st Annual Pat Tillman Legacy Summit in Washington D.C.  Representing the Tillman Foundation, Cameron met with U.S. Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ) to discuss the needs of today's student veterans, military service members, and their families.

In 2008, Cameron helped create the Student Veterans of America-Flint Chapter, an organization that continues to work to make UM-Flint one of the best campuses in the country for student veterans and their families.

This past winter, Cameron developed a volunteer program with Hurley Medical Center to allow student veterans at UM-Flint and elderly veteran patients at Hurley to spend time together – the program will provide students pursuing healthcare careers with invaluable medical experience, while transcending generations of our nation's veterans to share stories and camaraderie.

As a participant in the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor's Michigan in Washington Program, he spent the fall 2009 semester as a full-time student as well as a Science and Higher Education Policy intern at the Association of American Universities in Washington, D.C.

Cameron believes that he would not have had such opportunities without the support and generosity of several mentors, advisors, faculty, staff, and scholarship donors at UM-Flint, nor been able to invest his time as fully in the community and classroom. He will return to the NIH for two years of lab research before beginning medical school, hopefully to obtain an MD/PhD degree to increase our understanding of various illnesses.

The Scholarships, Awards, and Special Events Committee, and Provost Gerard Voland  announced that the following graduates are the recipients of the Maize and Blue Distinguished Scholar Award:

Ellyn A. Ackerman
Bachelor of Arts in Honors Economics

Trisiani Affandi
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

Danielle A. Dobrot
Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Bonnie M. Durbin
Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy

Chelsea K. Fish (double major)
Bachelor of Arts in Honors Criminal Justice and Sociology

Samantha J. Honea (double major)
Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Sociology

Hollie L. Hosler
Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting

Bryanna R. McGarry
Bachelor of Social Work

Deanna C. Scully
Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing

Natalie R. Sevick
Bachelor of Fine Arts – Performance

Michelle A. Templeton
Bachelor of Social Work

Mixsy L. Trinidad
Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

Cameron K. Waites
Bachelor of Science in Honors Health Sciences

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