Heidi Gansen, Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology, Rackham Summer Award, Rackham Debt Management Award
As a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in Sociology, Heidi Gansen is at home here at the University of Michigan. Originally from Iowa, she attended nearby University of Northern Iowa for her bachelor’s in Sociology and Criminology and then for her Master’s in Sociology. Moving to Michigan had to be a sure thing for her to venture far away from her home base; and it was.
Ozgen Felek, Ph.D., Near Eastern Studies
Born in a small village in western Turkey, Dr. Ozgen Felek knew from the age of six that she wanted to be an author. Her journey to achieving this dream began in the city of Denizli, Turkey, where she completed her primary and secondary education. When she graduated from high school, wearing a headscarf was not possible in universities, so she decided not to apply for college until the headscarf ban was abolished. Six months after her high school graduation, she married and moved with her husband to Elazig, a small city in eastern Turkey, where he began his medical residency.
Chukwuka Mbagwu, Ph.D. Candidate, Aerospace Engineering, President, Rackham Student Government
As a junior in high school in Southern California, Chuky developed a real interest in physics, science and engineering. The timing was good, since he was shaping up college applications as that interest grew. And that is apparently how a rocket scientist is made. There was help along the way from MIT, his undergraduate institution, and, of course, U-M.
Barbara Couture, B.A, M.A. and Ph.D., English Language and Literature and Paul Couture, B.S., Architecture
In their retirement, the Coutures are busier than ever. When we met with them, they had just returned from a full day outing to explore nearby Harper’s Ferry National Park, and before that a 10-day intensive piano camp in the Rockies. (The Coutures admit they are consumed with music. They both take piano lessons, something Barbara been doing since age 7, whereas Paul started upon retirement a few years ago.) Avid readers, they are also in a book club with local alumni in the DC area and enjoy the variety of U-M connections they’ve made.
Teona Williams, Master's Student, Natural Resources and Environment
Before entering grad school, Teona worked as a communications assistant at a non-profit organization in Washington, DC focused on establishing marine protected areas around the world. It was during that experience that it sunk in for Teona: “I realized how important it is to think about environmental justice and incorporate different local voices before making huge environmental decisions.”
Last updated: February 13, 2015 - 11:38am