Maize & Blue 2022 UM-Flint Recognizes Exceptional Students


The Maize & Blue Award is the highest academic recognition given to undergraduate students during commencement season. Students who have earned at least 58 credit hours at UM-Flint with an overall GPA of 3.75 or better in all completed credits earned are eligible to be nominated for this honor. The award is presented to no more than 26 students per year who excel academically and exemplify intellectual maturity and depth, character, talent and service to the University and the community. Recipients are selected by a faculty committee, with both faculty and staff writing letters of recommendation for students who apply for the award.

Here, these exceptional students share their thoughts about UM-Flint and their experience there in the personal statements they submitted for consideration by the Scholarships, Awards and Special Events Committee.


Kaitlyn Bowie
Bachelor of Science, Psychology
Swartz Creek, MI

During my time at UM-Flint, I found passions for research, critical thinking and problem-solving, all tools that I can use to further apply within my community to further my career. My undergraduate experience has taught me to be diligent, stay curious, listen more and be open to all possibilities and experiences. Even throughout the pandemic, I was able to achieve many of the goals I was looking for during this step in my collegiate career. If I would have gone to a larger university, I don’t believe I would have had the same connections, opportunities and work experience that I received at UM-Flint. I am proud to be a part of the U of M community that cares immensely about its students and the area that we are serving. As I look forward to continuing my education and begin applying to medical schools, I hope to find a university that fosters the same principles as the school I have called my home for the last four years. GO BLUE!

Katie Carver
Bachelor of Science,
Computer Information Systems
Burton, MI

The greatest amount of personal growth I have experienced since starting at UM-Flint would be my leadership capabilities. Because of my personality, I never thought of myself as a leader. I was never the loudest in a room or the one with the most exciting ideas. However, through my experiences at this university, I have learned to challenge my idea of what it looks like to be a leader. I learned anyone can lead regardless of their personality type. Moreover, our workplaces and communities flourish when there is a variety of leadership styles represented.Through volunteering in different capacities on campus, I learned where my strengths lie. One of these strengths is that I care deeply about inclusion and equity. As this passion grew, I knew I needed to step up as a leader, especially because I am pursuing a career in the technology industry – an industry that has a history of both passively and actively excluding all but the most privileged groups. I cultivated my desire to pursue equitable leadership by participating in the Inclusive Leadership Certificate Program offered by Student Involvement and Leadership. This program taught me how to practically implement an inclusive leadership style and that my voice is best used when making space for others who have been silenced.

Brooke Fogg
Bachelor of Science, Psychology
Mammoth Spring, AR

UM-Flint has fostered my personal and intellectual growth in various aspects of my life, not just educationally. I have been able to prioritize time for myself to heal past traumas, which has been extremely beneficial in aiding my personal growth. Intellectually, I have become better at researching and communicating. Throughout my time at UM-Flint, when given the choice to research my own topic, I would research topics that would relate to my future career goals so that I could better understand the populations I may encounter. Overall, my passion for social work has grown through obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.

Had I not been given the opportunity to attend UM-Flint through the University Scholar Award, I do not think that I would have been able to continue my education. Now, I am prepared to pursue my Master’s Degree in Social Work and look forward to continuing my development toward success in this field. I am forever thankful for UM-Flint, and the committee that opened the doors for me to pursue my dreams and believed in me by giving me the chance to be the Scholar. UM-Flint has given me the opportunity to think about my future beyond education, and to see myself as capable of great success.

Genevieve Heydt
Bachelor of Science, Actuarial Mathematics
Bartlett, IL

UM-Flint has fostered my personal growth, but more importantly, it has changed my plans for the future. I am leaving this university with more confidence and preparation than I could have imagined when I walked in. I have been prepared for my career through fantastic advisors and details in structured courses, with the ability to study for the exams that facilitate my future. I also leave with a better idea of who I want to be, what I want to do with my free time, and how important it is to be involved and representative within your community. At every turn, UM-Flint has provided me with support for my next step, as well as faith and confidence when I lack it.

Most recently, I have been given the opportunity to join a student-led project for my capstone, where we are working between three departments to compete in NASA’s Human Exploration Rover Challenge. As a woman, it is often too easy to be doubtful of my abilities and my own strengths, but every person around me here has always been there to reassure my confidence and abilities. I am so incredibly proud of every piece of me that I have put into Flint, and every piece of Flint that will remain in me.

Kaitlyn Militzer
Bachelor of Social Work
Gaines, MI

When applying for colleges, I was given the same advice over and over – that it did not really matter where I attended, as long as it was an “accredited institution.” Everyone who told me that could not have been more wrong. Where I ended up determining the degree I choose, it shaped the relationships in my life, who I am as a person, my personal beliefs and values. Everything that I have learned and so much of my future has been shaped by that one choice, one that I did not realize would be so impactful. The time I have spent at this university has been invaluable to me. I have grown in ways that I could not have previously imagined.

I have developed countless skills, and I have learned the importance of leaning into the most uncomfortable of situations and growing from them. The world in front of me now seems limitless, and I know that when I leave here, I will have an unbreakable foundation to support me and help me continue my own personal and professional growth.

Genevieve Rainey
Bachelor of Arts, History
Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology
Holly, MI

Originally, I had planned on graduating in the spring of 2021, but I saw an opportunity to expand my understanding of history and my prospects for graduate school in the UK by adding a second major, history. Scholarships from the history department have been essential for my continued educational pursuits at UM-Flint. Working with UM-Flint faculty, I successfully applied to the University of York and the University of Aberdeen, both graduate programs in archaeology. In November 2021, I received an offer to study historic buildings through the archaeology department of the University of York, and in February 2022, I received an offer to study archaeology at the University of Aberdeen. I accepted the offer from York and will be attending graduate school there in September 2022. I have no doubt that this would not be possible without the support of UM-Flint professors and the institution as a whole. I didn’t have any great expectations when I started at UM-Flint eight years ago and now, because of the University, I have found myself on my way toward an impossible dream.

Nicole-Kristine Smith
Bachelor of Science, Biology
Grand Blanc, MI

“Never apologize for asking. As your instructors, we’re here to do everything we can do to help you succeed.” This is what Dr. Tang said to me after I apologized for asking him for multiple letters of recommendation. I feel that this interaction is representative of the University of Michigan-Flint. Because of this university, I have been supported and inspired in everything I have done. The professors, students and aid that Flint has provided allowed me to discover and pursue new passions. Because of this, I was able to go out and follow my dreams of furthering my academics in public health. This semester, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the graduate schools of Yale, Columbia and George Washington.

Thank you, UM-Flint, for uncovering my public health and environmental passions, and providing me the launchpad for my future career. I graduated this May with a biology degree with minors in chemistry and psychology. The foundation that UM-Flint provided me gave me the confidence and ability to further my education. I have officially committed to Yale School of Public Health to get my MPH in Environmental Health Sciences with a concentration in climate change.

Jaycie Bos
Bachelor of Science, Clinical Laboratory Studies
Grand Rapids, MI

My education at the University of Michigan-Flint has prepared me to become a competent clinical laboratory scientist as well as problem-solve situations and unexpected challenges in the workplace. Through all the twists and turns I faced throughout my college career, I learned to be persistent and persevere through challenges to accomplish my goals. Each class that I have taken throughout college has solidified my plans to work in the clinical laboratory. I am completing my final classes before my internship begins at Detroit Medical Center in September. When I look back on my four years at the University of Michigan-Flint, I stepped onto campus as a timid freshman, and I am leaving as a well-rounded, independent woman, ready to face whatever challenges come my way in the future.

Jude Krajnyák
Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology
Clio, MI

Both the instructional and extracurricular experiences I have been fortunate enough to be involved with at the University over the last three years have greatly expanded my abilities as a student, in addition to my capacity to educate others. Although I possessed many areas of interest prior to entering the University, my infatuation with anthropology and linguistics was solidified through the programs, educators and extracurricular experiences offered at this institution.

In past semesters, I have explored topics such as historical and modern impacts upon Alaska Native subsistence practices, including physical and mental health issues and cultural outcomes. Influenced by my own experiences and education, as well as a desire to bring light to nationwide struggles with rural poverty, I have also completed a literature review within UM-Flint’s Senior Seminar course, in which I discussed and analyzed the structural barriers to aging comfortably experienced by the rural American elderly.

After completing my undergraduate education, I aspire to attend a PhD graduate program to conduct further research in the field of sociocultural anthropology, particularly in the areas of kinship, culture and class, and how these areas of social life intertwine with the American medical system. Prior to attending, however, I plan to spend at least a year working within my community, providing English teaching services for those learning the language either natively or as an additional language, and studying the connections language has to socioeconomic standing.

Chrissandra Padilla
Bachelor of Science,
Early Childhood Education
Holly, MI

It has long been my goal to dispel the myth that the outcomes of adverse early childhood experiences are absolute. It has been said that a smooth sea has never made a good sailor. I grew up in a household littered with trauma and statistically would be at risk for low educational attainment. Looking back at my experience, I am proud of the path I have taken to break the chain of poverty that has limited my family for generations. As a first-generation high school graduate and the first in my family to attend school on a postsecondary level, I feel a great deal of responsibility to meet my academic and career goals.

I eagerly look toward the future because I am not done learning or growing. My academic goals include a Master of Arts in Inclusive Education. As an educator and advocate for young children, I think that there is great value in broadening my knowledge on this topic. Over the last ten years, we have seen a societal shift in how we work with children, families and the community. This progress cannot be slowed. Promoting an inclusive environment in the early years of a child’s life will teach those children to respect others, regardless of differences. I firmly believe in the power and privilege of a high-quality education. My degree from the University of Michigan-Flint will propel my career forward and afford me new opportunities in my field of study.

Jessica Carrasco
Bachelor of Science, Nursing
South Lyon, MI

Before attending the University of Michigan-Flint, Flint was just an area that I passed on the freeway to go up north. The only things I knew about the city were statements told to me by people who have never lived here. Reflecting on my time here at UM-Flint, my perceptions of this city and who I have become have changed. A university should help someone grow intellectually, but UM-Flint has constantly pushed me out of my comfort zone, guiding me through these past 18 months, and it has molded me into the best version of myself. Because of this School of Nursing, I see myself, my future and the world differently.

Entering the field of nursing during a time of high mortality rates due to COVID originally made me feel anxious. I felt that I may not be emotionally strong enough to endure being surrounded by sadness, and I was not sure of how I would react to seeing death and mourning families. My clinical opportunities have taught me to recognize my own emotions, and in doing so I have become more empathetic and improved my ability to care for myself and families who have lost their loved ones.

Garrett Prince
Bachelor of Business Administration,
Finance & Accounting
Ortonville, MI

Genesee County and its surrounding areas have experienced an incredible struggle over the last three decades, culminating in an unmatched resilience that manifests strongly in the identity of the University, its community and local population. This resilience translates in an unexpected manner to many, as it does not encompass mistrust or apprehension to new ideas and efforts but widely embraces the people still willing to give the populace their effort. I strongly believe that the conditions brought about by the challenges in this region are the paramount reasons why it is such a great place to foster future innovators, leaders, performers and entrepreneurs. I am privileged to have been able to be part of this community and system which has provided me with so much.

Hillary Beeckman
Bachelor of Science, Nursing
Bay City, MI

As a student who has attended many colleges and universities, I can honestly say that attending the University of Michigan-Flint has been one of the best decisions I have made. The faculty in the nursing program care deeply about the success of the students and will do anything to help them succeed and reach their goals. The accelerated nursing program has been extremely interesting and rewarding, it has been one of the most challenging degrees I have completed to date. I am thankful that I am graduating with an extensive knowledge base and wonderful clinical experiences to start my career.

In the future, my ultimate goal is to return to UM-Flint for the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice program after working as a critical care nurse. Becoming a nurse anesthetist will allow me to utilize my science background from my previous chemistry degrees, my nursing degree, and the skills gained working in critical care. I have always been interested in eventually obtaining a doctorate degree in order to have the highest knowledge and experience to practice and educate others.

Aaron Fogelsonger
Bachelor of Business Administration,
Entrepreneurship &
Innovation Management
Flushing, MI

I am a nontraditional student. I started working while I was in high school and continued after graduation. I wanted to climb the corporate ladder into a project manager position but holding me back was that I did not have the required education. Like many in this same situation, I was already extremely busy working full-time, raising a family and taking care of my household, so I thought I had zero free time to go back to college. Dreaming of this goal coupled with some fatherly advice that I tell my daughter Natalee and son Cameron, I decided to change my world. You see, every day I tell them to change the world, not because I want them to make some Earth-altering change, but to remind them that no matter their situation, they have opportunities every day to change their path and make their world what they want it to be. So, with my own advice and to set a great example, I enrolled at Mott Community College and then transferred to UM-Flint, as I had always dreamed of going to this university and having that “Block M” on my diploma. Some people have asked, “How do you do it? How do you balance all your responsibilities and fit in being a full-time student?” I tell them all the same thing, which is one of the biggest lessons I have learned during these last few years: Time is a great equalizer. Everything that has ever been done and everything that will ever be done is accomplished in the same 24 hours that you and I and everyone else on this Earth have. When something is a priority and it is important to you, you will find the necessary time to get it done. You, me and everyone else on this planet are given 24 hours each and every day. It is up to us to make them count toward something important.

My City Magazine is proud to highlight these outstanding scholars and we wish them all a bright and rewarding future.


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