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student spotlight


Rackham Graduate School will be closed for the Memorial Day holiday from 5:00 p.m., Friday, May 25 to 8:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 29.

Student Spotlight: Shira Schwartz

Ask Shira to explain her research and she lights up. Her voice and face animate. She starts speaking faster, and her excitement is contagious, which has a little something to do with the nondescript conference room we’re in. Shira studies academic space, work space, and the social and spatial relations of learning, something applicable to everyone who’s gone to school or worked in an office. And she’s got a big job ahead of her, considering her ultimate goal: “I’d like to change the culture around learning in this country.” (No pressure.)

Student Spotlight: Sophie Hunt

“I remember college being a life changing time, so I’m excited to teach at a college and give other students the same experience. My experiences drew me to humanities and social science classes because they made me think in new ways about my place in my country and the world. I want to help others think through these questions,” says Sophie.

Sophie studies Native American and Indigenous history in the United States and Mexico. Before coming to U-M, she spent a meaningful year volunteering in Mexico in a home for orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children, where she mentored older kids and worked in the development office translating documents. She accedes, “If grad school is hard, that was equally, if not more difficult.”

Student Spotlight: Michael Parmelee

Michael performed in a dance company in Kalamazoo for two seasons after completing his undergraduate degree at Hope College, but it wasn’t fueling him in the ways he needed. He explains, “I felt I wasn’t satisfying my artistic desire and hunger.” Coming to U-M fixed that. “When I came here, the first semester was largely about asking questions of my own work, and I always felt performing was really important to how I understand myself in the world. Acts of performance have something to do with the kind of person I am.”