Top row (left to right) Jack Griffin, Jenise Williams, Hunter Zhao, Jad Elharake
Bottom row (left to right) Yvonne Navarrete, Gloriela Iguina-Colón, Amrita Das

Last Saturday, the University of Michigan Office of Community-Engaged Academic Learning (CEAL) awarded seven undergraduate students the Central Campus Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Spirit Awards for their distinguished commitment to building inclusive communities and equitable spaces.

Take a look at what these great students are achieving.

Jenise Williams

Jenise is the vice president and co-membership chairperson of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She also is a member of the Dean of Students Advisory Board. Jenise traveled to Amritsar, India, to study food sustainability at the Golden Temple. She has served as a co-site director for the “It’s Great to be a Girl” mentoring program and has worked as a research analyst for the Department of Psychology and the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. She is a psychology major in U-M’s College of LSA, with a focus on business and developmental psychology.

Amrita Das

Amrita currently is pursuing a B.A. in International Studies at LSA, with two minors: Community Action and Social Change and Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies. She is president of the Alpha Chapter of the Delta Tau Lambda Sorority, a Latina-based multicultural organization on campus that focuses on academic excellence, professionalism, and community service in communities of women of color. She is a member of the marketing and promotions committee for Yoni Ki Baat.

Yvonne Navarrete

Born in Mexico and raised in southwest Detroit, Yvonne has been deeply involved in community organizing on policy issues regarding the Latinx community. She is currently the Lead Director of La Casa, the central Latinx student organization on campus. As a DACA recipient and advocate for immigrant rights, she continues to empower and center the voices of those often placed on the margins. She is a student at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Hunter Zhao

Hunter is passionate about international migration and the protection of the rights of refugees and migrants. He is the president of First-Generation College Students @ Michigan and serves on the leadership team of Michigan Active Citizens: Alternative Spring Break. He has interned at the Post-Conflict Research Center and the U.S. Department of State and is now a Gilman Alumni Ambassador.

Jack Griffin

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Jack is proud to have created FoodFinder. FoodFinder is a registered nonprofit that offers both a website and mobile app to help make it as easy as it should be to find places like food pantries, ministries, and co-ops that can offer assistance to food-insecure children and their families. Currently a junior at Michigan, he is pursuing a Bachelors of Business Administration and a minor in Community Action and Social Change.

Gloriela Iguina-Colón

A senior majoring in Public Policy with a minor in Earth and Environmental Sciences, Gloriela is also the chair of the undergraduate chapter of the Students of Color in Public Policy, was a Marsh Fellow with the Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates (GIEU) program, and was a program assistant with the Program on Intergroup Relations.

Jad Elharake

Jad is studying Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience (BCN) at LSA. He was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and immigrated to the United States at seven years old. Jad was accepted to Michigan as a Brehm scholar, making him the first in his family to attend college. He is involved in medical research, assessing the intersectionality of race, gender, and depression among medical interns. Moreover, he serves as an advisory board member in the Islamophobia Working Group.

Learn more about the MLK Spirit Awards on CEAL's Website.

The Office of Community-Engaged Academic Learning's (CEAL) mission is to promote pedagogical innovation through community-based learning (CBL) initiatives that help students become adaptive, creative, and impactful in their engagement with the world.