Congratulations to the class of 2020! Despite changes to our routines due to University measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are proud to present members from the graduating class with Residential College Senior Awards. Faculty submit nominations for students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement during their time at U-M. Congratulations to these awardees and all the RC seniors for your hard work and contributions over the past many years. Under usual circumstances, these honors would have been conferred at the annual RC Senior Dinner. This year, we celebrate the winners with spotlights via RC social media.
Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Creative Arts – The “Robbies”
Established in 2000, to honor the founding Director of the RC, James H. Robertson, the “Robbies” are given to students who have shown a high level of achievement in one of creative arts in the RC. Typically seven to ten graduating seniors who have excelled in Creative Writing, Drama, Music or the Studio Arts over their RC careers receive recognition and a modest stipend. Faculty in the various creative arts programs discuss student names among themselves and put forward nominations.
Hannah Brauer is graduating with a double-major in Creative Writing & Literature and Communication & Media. While at U-M, she has led a career centered around visual and written storytelling through starting her own photography business, writing for the Alzheimer’s Association and Spectrum Center, researching media coverage of the Flint water crisis, and teaching her own Honors 135 class about how stories gain attention in media. She is finishing up her creative writing thesis with Susan Rosegrant based on the Modern Love column of the NYTimes, which includes creating a magazine based on her own stories and interviewing others to write stories from their point of view. In the RC, she is the Editor-in-Chief of the RC Review Literary Magazine and loves performing original songs at open mic nights. Hannah intends to pursue a career in journalism and communications, focusing on how to find and tell stories that add more identity representation to mainstream media.
Joanna Gerberding is a double-major in Spanish and Creative Writing who was born and raised in Wyandotte, MI. She is currently working on her first novel, The Misadventures of Sir Shmeal, which follows a harp seal who manages to become a knight -- but still just wants fish. She hopes to one day get this novel (and many others) published, so look out for it! Her other pursuits are similarly literary, as she intends to use her Spanish degree to create more bilingual versions of children's books. Her hobbies include writing (of course!), making jewelry, painting, and collecting owls.
Emilie Helmbold is a graduating senior from the Residential College. She majored in RC Drama and Political Science, with a minor in Creative Writing. She played roles in Shakespeare in the Arb in 2017 and 2018. Most recently, she was a Teacher's Assistant for the course "The Theatre of Anti-Fascism". She would like to thank both Kate and Martin for allowing her to grow these last four years.
She was a member of the student theatre organization, the RC Players. She joined the RC Players her freshman year as a writer/director for the Evening of Scenes. Since then, she has written for the EoS every semester. She has acted for and been on the production team for several full-length productions. One of her proudest moments was being able to write, produce, direct, and act in this last semester's Evening of Scenes.
In addition to being a member of the RC Players, she was the President in 2019 and the Website Administrator in 2018. Being President of the RC Players was the most rewarding and challenging part of her college experience. The RC Players has been like a family for her, and they will all forever have her heart.
Jazzaray James is a Creative Writing and Literature and English major who is minoring in Art and Design. In her Junior year, she wrote a notable piece called Stunted that was published in the Cafe Shapiro literary journal. Alongside her writing, art in the RC was influential in her life. Her time spent in the RC printmaking studio class led her to a Letterpress residency in Baltimore. She now works with Toby Millman in the Printmaking studio to help other artists find their way. She longs to one day infuse her short stories with her eccentric and eerie linoleum prints. Her near-future plans, post-pandemic, will be spent teaching in South Korea, as she continues to write and carve stories from her dreams.
Noah Keeler-Seiser is an LSA Senior graduating in Communications and Media. It is the RC, though, that has made the greatest impression on him. He extends his thanks to the incredible faculty that have been with him at every step and misstep. He is honored to have explored the arts and humanities under their guidance. His work in photography, handling such topics as false worship, male ego, decay, and environmental destruction, would not have been possible without their input and encouragement.
Noah plans to pursue a career in journalism and photo editing. His passion lies in art and social commentary. He believes that these pursuits are interrelated. Though the future remains uncertain, they provide him with a sense of purpose and direction. He encourages fellow students to seek the same.
Delaney Leach has spent her four years in the RC studying Creative Writing & Literature and Film, Television, & Media, and spending all of her spare time in the Keene Theater or drinking coffee. Throughout her college career, Delaney has written for the page, the stage, and the screen. In the RC, she has worked primarily on short stories in tutorials and workshop classes. This semester, Delaney was nominated to read in Café Shapiro at Shapiro Undergraduate Library. In her junior year, she wrote a feature length screenplay through her FTVM major. Delaney has also been involved with the RC Players since her freshman year. She has written for their Red Eye and Evening of Scenes productions. Delaney has also produced, directed, acted, and more with the group. In the future, Delaney hopes to continue writing whether that be short stories to pass the time, or something else to pay the rent. She is truly honored to receive an award from a school that has given so much to her personally and (hopefully) professionally.
Abigail Nutter is majoring in Creative Writing and Literature in the RC and Psychology in LSA. She received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 Science as Art competition and was nominated this year for Café Shapiro. In 2018 she spent the summer at the New England Literature Program, backpacking and studying Transcendentalist literature. That experience and a childhood spent loving the outdoors has influenced her fiction prose towards a lyrical voice, often drawing inspiration from the magical, romantic, and mysterious aspects of nature. She is also enchanted by everyday interactions and relationships between people, how subtle things can be so important, which is reflected in both her Psych major and her writing. She’s extremely grateful for all the support and opportunities she’s been given so far, and excited to see what happens moving forwards.
Award for Outstanding Service in Community Engagement – The “Tommies”
The Residential College established these awards in 2006 to honor former RC Director, Thomas Weisskopf. The “Tommies” are given annually to students who have made substantial contributions to the communities around them – whether to East Quad, to the University campus, or to communities in the region or beyond – during their undergraduate careers.
Hannah Agnew is a Sociology major graduating with Honors who has focused her studies on Mass Incarceration, Women’s experiences with Incarceration, Prison Abolition, and Sexuality Studies. She is the President of the Student Executive Committee for the Prison Creative Arts Project and for the past two and a half years has co-facilitated the Sisters Within, the longest running theatre workshop in a Women’s Correctional Facility in the U.S. She is eternally grateful for the time she has spent learning alongside the Sisters and other folks affected by incarceration and would not be where she is without them. In the Fall, she will be starting her Masters in Social Work at the University of Michigan, continuing her work with the Sisters, and learning how best to support incarcerated women/women at risk of incarceration. Her long-term goal is to help end mass incarceration and to work towards building a world in which the presence of support structures such as mental health treatment, strong public education, universal health care and other forms of community support and engagement negate any need for prisons.
Megan Bloem strives to combine her love of learning languages while engaging on a community level. To equip her in this endeavor, she double majored in Spanish and Sociology with a subplan in Law, Justice and Social Change. While at Michigan, she volunteered with many different organizations with one of her favorite and longest commitments being the Residential College’s Proyecto Avance, Latino Mentoring Association (PALMA). During her four years, she enjoyed tutoring and mentoring students and seeing their growth. To further engage in the community, she participated in the Spanish Language Internship Program where she got to work with a diverse group of ESL students at Scarlett Middle School. She is grateful for the opportunities she’s had to see students’ growth while growing alongside them. Additionally, outside of the RC, she is thankful to have been a part of First-Generation College Students @ Michigan which advocates for first-generation low-income students on campus. She is extremely grateful for all the experiences and support she’s had at Michigan. Next Fall, Megan will continue her journey of language learning and community engagement abroad as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Portugal.
Brandon Bond will be graduating with degrees in Biopsychology, Cognition, Neuroscience, and International Studies: Global Environment & Health with a minor in Community Action Social Change. As an RC student, Brandon not only participated in the Intensive Spanish program but branched out and completed the American Sign Language (ASL) sequence and studied Portuguese. To utilize his language skills, he participated in three @cgisumich study abroad programs in the UK, Mexico, and Spain and the first-ever RC Social Justice/Community Engagement Internship program in Brazil. Despite his travels, Brandon always found his way back home at the RC. Since the first day of his freshman year, Brandon has worked as an RC Admissions Assistant helping to recruit and navigate future generations of RC’ers. Aside from that, he’s participated in the RC forums, served as the Hinsdale Hall Representative his freshman year, transitioned from a mentee to mentor in the RC MAP program, RC music courses (Chinese music, Indonesian Orchestra, and Afro-Cuban Drumming) and worked as an RC Summer PA and RA. With all the skills and experiences Brandon has developed over the years, he will continue his passion for community engagement by pursuing a dual master's in Social Work and @umichsph this upcoming Fall as he remains ho〽️e here at the University of Michigan!
Corey Dulin is from Lake Orion Michigan majoring in International Studies and Spanish. After realizing Statistics isn't for her, she switched her minor to Portuguese. She's been an RA in East Quad since 2018 so she tended to hang around East Quad a lot. In her free time, she enjoys listening to funk carioca, going on walks, and every so often pretending like she knows what she's doing in the gym. She has loved her time in the East Quad community: enjoyed the discussions in her Spanish class, speaking with her fellow RAs and residents, as well as spending time with friends in the Greene Lounge.
Taylor is a senior graduating with a degree in history. She joined the Residential College at the end of her freshman year and, in addition to finding great community, immediately got involved. Taylor has been a part of several organizations working around mass incarceration, criminal justice reform, and prison abolition where she has been involved in both the UM and broader communities of Ann Arbor and beyond. She is an active member of the Prison Creative Arts Project, an education leader of the Prison Re-entry project, as well as the executive producer of the While We Were Away podcast— a podcast by and for formerly incarcerated people. In addition to this, Taylor has been an ESL volunteer in Ann Arbor Public Schools and in the English Language Institute working with international graduate students as they transition to teaching at Michigan. She will be continuing her education in New York City at the Columbia School of Social Work. By earning her MSW, Taylor hopes to continue the work towards abolishing prisons, working in re-entry, and implementing transformative and restorative justice practices in both the community and through policy changes for a more just future.
Arthur has always taken great pride in the RC Intensive language community that sparked his passion for foreign language study when he was a student. After excelling in the Intensive Russian program as a freshman, Arthur volunteered his time as a peer tutor for the following three years of his undergraduate years. He regularly attended language lunch tables, organized review sessions, and held regular office hours for students to ask questions and practice their Russian skills. As a passionate linguist, Arthur is convinced that the only way to break down humanity’s divisions is to show appreciation for other cultures, and that starts with communication in a common tongue. By participating in the admirable work of the RC Intensive language program, Arthur has shown commitment and dedication to the community of language scholars on this campus. Outside the RC, Arthur has stood out as a leader throughout his four years in the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club, serving as the Club’s Alumni Relations Manager for one year and as a mentor for the underclassmen in the organization. These communities mean a great deal to Arthur, and he is honored to receive a Tommy and a Janet from the RC!
Michael Russo is a senior studying History and Spanish with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Throughout his four years at Michigan and the RC, Michael has been an active member of PALMA, serving as its Vice President since 2018. He has cherished the time with his students, and is grateful for the relationships he formed while working with the Latinx community in Ann Arbor. Michael deepened his commitment to immigrants’ rights advocacy with the U-M Immigrant Justice Lab, researching and composing asylum petitions on behalf of migrants detained in Michigan and facing removal proceedings. His honors thesis in the History department examines how United States foreign policy in Central America affects human rights and migration. After completing the RC language requirement through the Spanish program, Michael continued to take courses in other languages and departments, studying Portuguese, Catalan and Persian. Upon leaving Ann Arbor in the spring, Michael will be the Václav Havel Human Rights Fellow at Perseus Strategies, a public interest international human rights law firm in Washington, D.C.
Ruby Schneider (she/her/hers) is graduating with a major in Social Theory & Practice and minors in Community Action & Social Change and French. While on campus, Ruby has been involved in many community organizing projects including voter registration and local, state and national political campaigns; she served as Chair of College Democrats in 2019. This year, Ruby has worked with Professors Jennifer Myers and Katie Richards-Schuster, and the Washtenaw County March for Our Lives at the Neutral Zone on her senior project, Understanding Youth Engagement: A Case Study of Gun Violence Prevention Organizing in Washtenaw County. Ruby participated in Semester in Detroit during Spring/Summer 2017 and has continued to work for the program connecting with prospective students and alumni. She has played in RC Chamber Ensembles with Professor Katri Ervamaa, and has continued her French education by studying abroad during 2019 in Grenoble, France, and volunteering at Freedom House with Professor Dominique Butler-Bourrat. After graduation, Ruby is looking forward to working towards the 2020 election, and taking some time off from school before returning to U-M to earn her Masters of Social Work.
Emmanuel Solis is a senior graduating with degrees in Communication and Media and Latina/o Studies and a minor LGBTQ and Sexuality Studies. Throughout his undergraduate career, Emmanuel was involved in many RC related units. He was a PALMA tutor during his first two years via the Intensive Spanish Program and Spanish-Language Internship Program. Emmanuel has also been active with The Quito Project serving as a tutor for the 2017 summer camp and is one of the current Co-Presidents. Emmanuel also found community in the RC by joining the Semester in Detroit cohort of 2018 interning with WDET Detroit Public Radio. Additionally, Emmanuel put his creative talents as the Editor-in-Chief of Latinidad Magazine to uplift Latinx artists on campus and beyond. After graduation, Emmanuel plans to take a gap year before moving to New York to pursue his graduate education in Latinx related media.
Award for Exceptional Achievement in a Foreign Language - The “Janets”
This award, inaugurated in 2010 and renamed in 2015 to celebrate Janet Hegman Shier, the Head of the RC German Program and Director and Faculty Administrator of RC Deutsches Theater, is given to graduating seniors who have shown outstanding accomplishments in the mastery of foreign languages, including a deep engagement with a language and its culture beyond proficiency, the active use of a second language in the RC or surrounding communities through community engagement programs and/or the arts, and/or a serious engagement with more than one foreign language. Language faculty often consult with each other about nominees and students may be nominated for more than one language.
Samantha Dunlap is an International Studies and Spanish major in addition to being a member of the RC. She passed the RC Spanish proficiency test in the fall of 2017, and declared her Spanish major the following year. She studied abroad in Santiago de Compostela, Spain in the spring of 2019, through the CGIS study abroad program. She also holds a minor in Translation Studies, which will culminate with her senior capstone project, a translation of poems from the Spanish Golden Age.
In addition to academics, Samantha has been involved with theatre through the RC Players and through the student theatre group Not Even Really Drama Students (NERDS). She is currently the Treasurer of NERDS’ Cabinet. In the fall of 2018, she was also an RC MAP mentor, guiding a group of first-year RC students to make their transition to RC and campus life as smooth as possible.
Next year, she will complete her fourth year at U of M as a graduate student in the Program in Transcultural Studies.
Zofia Ferki is a double major in Creative Writing with Honors and German. Zofia discovered her love of writing through her first year seminar “The Personal Essay” and was awarded a Sweetland First Year Writing Prize for her final project in the class. She has continued to pursue this passion as a writer and editor-in-chief of The Every Three Weekly, Sweetland Peer Writing Consultant, University of Michigan Press intern, and through her Creative Writing thesis. Through the Prison Creative Arts Project and Youth Arts Alliance, Zofia has also worked to advance the creative arts in local incarcerated communities. She is a two-time Deutsches Theater student, interned abroad as an editor and translator at Europe’s largest hotel, the Estrel Berlin, and studied abroad at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, where she was awarded the Junior Year in Munich Goethe Prize. She also served on the LGBT+ Michigan executive board and worked in the East Quad Dining Hall. Last year, she had the honor of being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi as a junior. Zofia plans to live in Germany after graduation, having been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.
Abbey is graduating from the RC with a major in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. She is an RC resident advisor in East Quad, an ESL tutor for Latinx adults through PALMA, and a research assistant for the Michigan Cognitive Aging Project. Over the past summer, Abbey spent 6 weeks in Cusco, Peru for a Spanish internship program. She was able to combine her passions for psychology and Spanish by volunteering as a health care assistant at a gerontological center. Next year, Abbey will be returning to Ann Arbor to work as a lab manager for the Michigan Neural Distinctiveness Study and hopes to continue her involvement in the RC as a mentor for foreign language students. In the future, Abbey plans to apply to a clinical psychology doctoral program and one day open a practice to provide bilingual mental health care to the Hispanic community.
See his bio above in the "Tommies" section.
The Residential College is what convinced Erica Meyers to attend the University of Michigan back in the spring of her senior year of high school. She attended a Campus Day led by a panel of current RC students and could tell how enthused they all were about their experiences and how they all seemed to feel at home in East Quad. Erica was excited for the small community within the RC and the opportunity to carry on with her German studies that she began in 8th grade and continued through high school. After her first semester in the RC German Language program, Erica achieved German Language Proficiency, which gave her the confidence to study abroad in Berlin the following summer at the Goethe Institut with fellow RC students. To make sure she kept up with her German beyond the RC’s requirements, Erica declared a German Major within LSA and continued taking LSA German courses throughout the rest of her college career. During her final semester, Erica was asked to offer tutoring and classroom support to the Intensive German 1 students and was grateful to stay connected to the RC German program while helping the new German learners.
Claire Peabody is a senior in the Residential College majoring in Biomolecular Science and minoring in French. She has been studying languages since she was young and so was eager to continue them in college. She speaks both French and Spanish. In her first year, she joined the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) – a global health club focused on delivering sustainable healthcare and health education to underserved communities around the globe. She participated in a Summer International Health Fellowship with FIMRC in the Dominican Republic. There, she worked on a project with the goal of teaching eight Dominican women who were leaders in their community to be “health promoters” which meant that they were health point people for their respective communities. She also helped organize mobile clinics in other rural communities and lead diabetes health clinics in Restauración. In her third year at UM, she joined an organization called Community-Led Interpretation for Medical Equity (CLIME) where she became a certified Spanish medical interpreter. She has been interpreting for Spanish speaking patients at the University of Michigan Student Run Free Clinic. She also volunteers at Freedom House Detroit where she teaches an English class to French speaking refugees.
Ajilan Potter has dedicated his time at the University pursuing a variety of interests, from cognitive science and linguistics to music and creative writing. One of the constants for much of his time at Michigan has been Latin, winning the Phillips Classical Prize Exam twice, for levels 2 and 3. He has also gone abroad to further study Latin verse and intern for organizations that promote Latin learning in Italy and around the world. Though he’s had to step away from Latin in the academic field, he hopes to continue his learning of the subject as he pursues his plans of publishing his novels and entering the entertainment industry through writing, art, and music composition.
The Spirit of the RC Award – The “Charlie”
Established in 2013 to honor former RC Director, the Charlie is awarded to the member of the senior class who best exhibits the animating spirit of the RC as defined by a demonstrated commitment to the RC and its mission in undergraduate education. She or he or they has embraced the values associated with the liberal arts and a well-rounded education; has taken full advantage of all that the RC has to offer and has encouraged others to do the same; has played a significant leadership role as a part of this community; and has excelled academically.
Camilla has been a leader in promoting RC student governance, primarily through her involvement with the RC Student Union. As the Union’s Outreach Coordinator, she participated in planning and facilitating regular Fireside Chats and the RC Open House, served as a student representative for RC Executive Committee meetings, and advised students during RCSU Advising Hours. Camilla has served on the staff of the RC Review for the past four years, with recent titles of Prose Editor and Poetry Editor. She has also served as an RC Academic Peer Advisor and an RC Student Ambassador, and currently serves on the RC Identity Task Force. With an RC and Youth Arts Alliance partnership, Camilla has additionally facilitated poetry workshops with a local juvenile detention center. Outside of the RC, she has augmented her academic career studying environmental science and urban studies with a diverse set of extracurricular activities, including interning with the Office of Campus Sustainability, as well as researching in the Urban Scenarios Lab and for the Michigan Sustainability Cases program. She has served on the Center for World Performance Studies Student Advisory Board and Central Student Government Sustainability Commission. Camilla recently returned from completing research abroad on New Zealand long-tailed bats.
The Emerging Writers Award
The Emerging Writers Award was established in 2014 to recognize, nurture and encourage creative writers in the Residential College’s creative writing program who demonstrate excellence in creative writing but have not previously received a writing award recognizing their writing achievements.
See her bio above in the "Janets" section.