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Alumni Weekend

The 5th Annual Alumni Weekend

First and second year WISE RP students will have the opportunity to interact and ask questions in small group settings to get to know WISE RP alumni. Each year current students rave about how much they have learned from the alumni and had positive experiences. 

2020 Alumni Guests

Janie Brink

Janie Brink was a student in the WISE RP during the 2013-2014 school year and returned as a WISE RP sophomore mentor for the 2014-2015 school year. She held leadership roles as Dancer Relations Coordinator and Team Captain for Dance Marathon during her me at Michigan. Janie graduated in the spring of 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in actuarial mathematics and a minor in business administration. She currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts and works for Ernst & Young as an actuarial consultant where she primarily works with life insurance and annuity products for large insurance clients. In her free me, Janie enjoys going out with friends, cooking, and exercising.

Chondra Love

Chondra Love is from Muskegon, Michigan. She served as a WISE RA, the Mojo Multicultural and Hall Council Co-President, School of Social Work curriculum developer and held many other leadership roles. She graduated with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Master’s in Accounting. She is now a Forensic Accountant in Chicago, IL.

Samantha Eaton 

Samantha graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering. During undergrad, she was a Program Board member in WISE RP, the President of the girls in EECS (gEECS) student organization, an undergrad researcher through UROP, and an EECS student advisor. After graduation, Sam accepted a full-time position at Harris Corporation where she spent five years designing and implementing 4G LTE and Small Stat Satellite projects. Most recently, Sam has accepted a job designing and implementing software on government aircraft systems through Northrop Grumman. On her own time, Sam completed a master’s degree in Engineering Management through UM Dearborn (online) and is currently pursuing a PhD in Computer Engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology. She also is very involved in college recruiting activities, participating in volunteer work, and the Society of Women in Engineering (SWE). Sam loves Disney World, swimming, and doing crazy activities, such as skydiving and swimming with whales, to cross off her bucket list! One day Sam hopes to be a Software Architect, own a restaurant on the side, and have a family.

Ana Reyes

Ana Reyes is a second year medical student at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. She is also pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health with an interest in population health. During her time at Michigan, she studied Electrical Engineering where she focused on signal processing for biomedical applications. She hopes to combine her interests in engineering and medicine by using technology to improve health care access and quality for people traditionally underserved by the healthcare system. In undergrad, Ana was a community member of the WISE RP, a peer mentor, and a resident advisor for 2 years. She was a member of the club gymnastics team and served as president of GlobeMed, a global health and community service organization. Ana participated in the UROP program and pursued research in a range of areas from tissue engineering to materials science to biochemistry. She also interned at Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, NM where she worked on automated x-ray image recognition.

Elyse Fleck 

My journey with WISE-RP started my first year of college as a mentee in the program and continued the following year as a mentor. After four years of undergrad studying materials science and engineering, I stayed at U of M to earn my master's in biomedical engineering with a concentration in biomaterials and regenerative medicine. During that time I served as the GSI for WISE-RP with the previous program director, Chris Bass. Presently, I am working for the Extracorporeal Life Support Laboratory at Michigan Medicine as a research project engineer. In this role, I am leading a research project trying to fabricate a truly microfluidic artificial lung device via stereolithography. Before finding myself in this role, I was involved with ovarian cancer research developing 3D tumor models for understanding the emergence of cancer stem cells. During graduate school, I also spent a summer interning as a biologic formulations scientist working at Zoetis, Inc. - an animal health pharmaceutical company. In summary, my experiences lie heavily at the intersection of materials science and biotechnology, but my interests surround healthcare in general. Outside of my professional life, I love to spend my time practicing yoga, traveling, and cooking/baking/eating new foods.

Crystal Mink

Crystal Mink was a WISE RP member in '98 -'99 (living in a triple!) and a WISE big sister in '99 - '00.  It was during this time that she saran-wrapped herself to one of her roommates, demonstrating how close you grow together in the WISE program.  She graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering, a Masters from Cal State Long Beach in Aerospace Engineering '07, and a graduate certificate in Automotive Systems Engineering from U of M Dearborn '15.  She worked for Boeing in Southern California for 5 years, first as part of Space and Intelligence Systems working on proprietary satellites (If I tell you, then I'll have to kill you) and then with the Commercial Aircraft division working on the 747-8 (seriously, how does a 1-million pound airplane lift off the ground?).  She returned to Michigan and after a brief stint of teaching at ITT Tech (now bankrupt!), she started at Toyota.  She's worked on proving ground development, advanced joining, and every Sienna minivan since 2008 in the vehicle performance development group.  She's currently the team leader for body and chassis strength.  Unbelievably, she actually solved a partial differential equation as part of a bolted joint analysis in January!  She works in one of the fields where she does actually use her undergrad textbooks (but not all of them!).  She's very passionate about leadership development and serves as the chairperson on Toyota's women's leadership organization.

2019 Alumni Weekend

Cara Canady

Cara Canady currently works at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry as a Senior Business Intelligence Analyst. Cara uses data, visualizations, and resulting analysis to empower administrators, faculty, and service providers to make data-driven decisions that positively impact the community. Before that, Cara served as the Director of Residential Services at Ozone House Youth & Family Services, where her passion for data and community was ignited. Cara has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Health Informatics from the University of Michigan School of Information. In her spare time, Cara volunteers at the Michigan Science Center and sits on the Board of Directors at the Young Non-Profit Professionals Network of Washtenaw County.

Rachel Crittenden

I’m Rachel Crittenden and I am a first year dental student at The University of Michigan School of Dentistry. I was fortunate to be in WISE RP while in undergrad and on top of that, I worked at the Mojo dining hall, served as Secretary and Activities Chairwoman of my sorority, and was also the Volunteer Coordinator for Detroit Partnership for three years. I have always been interested in psychology, business and science and knew that pursuing a dental degree was my ultimate goal. I majored in Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience as it aligned not only with my interests, but many dental prerequisites as well. Additionally, I volunteered in a social psychology lab throughout my sophomore and junior year and gained valuable research experience. I graduated early in only three and half years, so I had about six months of extra time on my hands before beginning dental school. In this time, I worked at the University of Michigan’s Cancer Cancer in the Breast Imaging Department and was able to enjoy many Michigan baseball games and a little bit of traveling around the U.S. I feel very lucky to have stayed in Ann Arbor to continue my dental education; GO BLUE!

Ashleigh Eldemire-Poindexter

Ashleigh Eldemire-Poindexter left her hometown of Boston, MA in 2005 to earn a B.S.E from the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. As an undergraduate at UM, Eldemire studied chemical engineering and nearly completed a minor in Japanese language and culture. She held engineering internships with AirProducts & Chemicals Inc. and the Space Life Sciences Lab at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and participated in a six-week study abroad program in Japan. Outside of coursework, Eldemire engaged with and served the UM community as a WISE-RP mentor, a residential advisor (Baits II- Zewit, Cross), a N.S.B.E board member, and as treasurer of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the N.P.H.C. Prior to graduating in 2010, Eldemire married aero-space engineering student, Reginald Poindexter, and grew an entire person, Evelynn “Evey” Poindexter. Post undergrad, Eldemire-Poindexter began to indulge her interest in economics with ad hoc coursework. With encouragement from supervisors and instructors, she began graduate work in Finance in the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina in 2012. Eldemire-Poindexter joined the faculty of the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee in 2017 and began her appointment as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Finance in 2018.

Rachel Johnston

My name is Rachel Johnston, and I am currently a third year PhD Candidate in the Molecular Cell Biology program at Washington University in St. Louis. I graduated from the University of Michigan in 2016, where I was a WISE RP Member for 2 years, becoming a Peer Mentor in my second year. During my time at Michigan, I was also a WISE RP Recruitment Team Member, a WISE Advisory Board Member, and a counselor for the WISE GISE Summer Camp for girls in science. I was awarded the Elaine R. Feldman Summer Research Award in 2014, where I worked in an epigenetics lab with Dr. Jennifer Dalton. In 2015, I was a Doisy Undergraduate Research Scholar at Saint Louis University, working with Dr. Susana Gonzalo on a project related to breast cancer. During my final year at Michigan, I managed the teaching labs for the Programs in Biology. Currently, I work with Dr. Jeffrey Bednarski, where I study the role of the DNA damage response in the developing immune system. Additionally, I am an active member of our Graduate Student Advisory Committee, as well as the Founder and President of a Graduate Women in Science Group at the university. 

Brittany Vill

My name is Brittany Vill and I graduated in Spring 2018 with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. In undergrad, my two greatest passions and involvements were in WISE RP and in Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan. I am currently in UM's Masters in Physiology program and will to be applying to medschool this coming cycle. Through the years, I have become much more comfortable with "climbing the jungle gym" and if you are there too, know that you are not alone! 

Shonique White

Shonique White attended U of M from 2008 - 2012. She was involved in WISE RP throughout the duration of her undergraduate career, and became a WISE RA during the second term of her sophomore year. Outside of WISE RP, Shonique was an active member of NSBE and their volunteer efforts, and had the opportunity to travel to China with GIEU and UMTRI. Following undergrad, Shonique moved to San Diego, CA, where she worked to establish a health and wellness program for high school students in City Heights. After her two year contract ended with HealthCorps, she relocated to Washington, DC. There, she planned and executed STEM-focused after school programs for middle and elementary school girls through Techbridge, another non-profit organization hoping to increase the number of women in the STEM pipeline. Making a bit of a career shift, she currently works as a licensure and credentialing specialist for 2U, a company that provides online infrastructure for graduate school programs.

Adina Williams

Adina entered UM in September 2006. She lived in WISE RP for two years, mentored younger students, tutored chemistry, and held three research assistantships (social psychology, molecular biochemistry, neuroscience). Along the way, she received a State Department scholarship to study Mandarin in Suzhou, and graduated in 2010 with two BSs (in Neuroscience and in Asian Studies-Mandarin). After UM, she took a year off and volunteered in a language acquisition laboratory, investigating Mandarin-English bilingual word acquisition. This volunteer work introduced her to linguistics, which she further pursued at MSU. In 2013, Adina received her MA in Linguistics, for her work on the neural basis of word meaning using neuroimaging tools such as electroencephalography. She continued this line of research at NYU. Along the way, Adina learned NLP and Machine Learning, and contributed several high-impact papers in these areas as well. After receiving several offers for academic postdocs, she accepted a highly-sought-after post-doctoral researcher appointment at Facebook AI Research, where she currently investigates cognitive science questions using computational tools. Throughout her career, Adina has always let curiosity guide her career path, and would encourage other women with interdisciplinary interests to do the same!

2018 Alumni Weekend

Dr. Amira May Woodruff

I had a wonderful time participating in Alumni Weekend. What an amazing experience to be in the presence of all of these young women who are striving towards greatness. I appreciated the opportunity to be able to share with them information that I felt I would have found helpful when I was in their shoes. They all had such thoughtful questions; and I cannot wait to see the great things they will do in the world in the future.

Sydney Foote

It was great to come back to the WISE program and see how the newest group of students is adjusting to university life! I believe my perspective as a recent graduate and current Masters student allowed me to provide direct insight into many of the problems and worries the students were having. I am also so glad that I had the opportunity to expose this cohort to Public Health and Epidemiology, career paths that I feel are often overlooked or simply unknown to students. Overall, Alumni Weekend was a great opportunity and I hope I was able to empower the current WISE RP students to stand up for themselves and pursue all of their goals, big or small!

Kristen Wolff

The WISE RP Alumni Weekend was a great experience for me (and hopefully for the current WISE RP woman). I really enjoyed chatting with current students informally over lunch learning what has changed and what has not changed since I graduated. The highlight of the event for me was the panel discussion. I had a ton of fun sharing insights, reflecting on my college experiences, listening to the perspectives of other alums, and hearing (and hopefully assuaging) the anxieties of current students. The students were incredibly engaged and the other panelists were impressive, which made for a great event.


Kathleen Abenes

After spending all four years of my undergraduate career with WISE RP, speaking with current students during Alumni Weekend was an incredible way to give back to the community. It gave me the opportunity to share my past experiences as well as what I've learned after reflecting on my time at Michigan. I hope by sharing my story, current students will remember that everyone struggles at one point or another, and it is 100% okay to ask for help and to step back and take time for yourself.

Student Alumni Weekend Reflection

Ana Timoficiuc

"It was really cool to hear their experiences here at umich, and very reassuring as well. These women had ALL gone through it, faced many of the same challenges we did, and came out on top on the other side. It was also very empowering to hear how they did with real life obstacles like sexism, a negative inner voice, and balancing life and work. It really shows me that I can do it, despite people maybe asserting that it would be too hard for me to do so. They also really inspired me to take classes outside of engineering; I had been wondering about the benefit of doing so, and these women had an overwhelmingly positive experience doing so. Thus, I will sure try to take more classes outside of STEM. 

About the fact that no matter how hard you feel you have failed, you can and WILL conquer it all. When Dr. Amira May Woodruff spoke about her absolutely horrible exam experience (barely waking up in time, spilling pop all over herself, etc...) it showed me that, one: I am really happy that has not happened to me **yet**. And two, that no matter how bad it may seem, I will be able to bounce back from a, seemingly, impossible and horrible situation." -Ana Timoficiuc

2017 Alumni Weekend

Here is what our 2017 Alumni Team had to say: 

  • "Returning to WISE RP was a fantastic experience. Being able to give real answers/advice about what happens after college truly made an impact on the girls. I was able to prove through my experiences that the moments in college that feel crippling turn out to be the best moments for your future!" -Stephanie Pierce
  • "Alumni weekend was a great opportunity for me to give back to the community that shaped much of my college experience. I was able to share what I learned during my college experience and give advice I wish I heard as a freshman/sophomore. It felt so good to know I was helping the community. Several students have reached out to me over the past few months with additional questions about what comes after college, and it feels great to know I can still help WISE members, even after graduation." -Alicia Speck
  • "Having the opportunity to speak to some of the women in WISE during Alumni Weekend blew me away. They were so strong and had gone through so much to get to where they were, they gave me hope--not just for the future of the STEM fields but the future in general. I'm still not sure how much of an impact my words may have had on them, but I am sure that as long as the WISE RP family continues to grow with such talented and driven individuals, each of its members will continue to succeed, not matter what obstacles they may face." -Maria Mate-Kodjo