September 24, 2023
This past Friday, I was honored with the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s 2023 College of Education, Health, and Human Services Alumnus of the Year award. This award honors a graduate of the College of Education, Health, and Human Services who has shown outstanding professional accomplishments in their field, and demonstrated public service, and leadership.
I was deeply humbled and incredibly grateful to be able to accept this award. This recognition means more to me than words can express. Since childhood, I have lived with the value of making a difference in the world. I went into my original career as a middle school teacher to support my students to have a better middle school experience than I did. In my next career as an instructional designer, I have become the lead in universal design for learning, ensuring that all students who take an online class at my institution will feel welcome. And as an adjunct professor, I ensure that my students put their mental health above all else.
At the ceremony, I was blessed to be joined by husband, daughter, mom, aunt, best friend, and a faculty member who had a huge impact on me in my undergrad.
Not only was this a night soon to be a core memory, there were two moments that I will never forget. Being the third one to be presented, I sat a bundle of nerves and watched my daughter thoughout the entire program. As she opened the event program and flipped to the page with my picture, I watched as her eyes lit up and she pointed at the page. With each award given, she kept counting down until it was my turn.
Right before the Dean of the College presented my award, a video was played with friends and family of each receipient descibing the impact that person has made. I went into the event with low expectations and honestly didn’t expect to even have a video made. The video started and my best friend’s face was shown. I literally gasped out loud and later found out that my husband was the coorindator behind getting her in the video. As the video played, I looked over to my daughter who looked back at me with tears streaming down her face. It was one of my best moments as a mom.
This award is not just a recognition of my past achievements but a reminder of the responsibility we all bear to continue making a difference. Let us inspire the next generation, mentor, and support them as they strive to create positive change in their own unique ways. I accepted this award with a renewed commitment to making a difference and I look forward to leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.