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Ask The Professor Live

Enjoy a decades worth of fantastic ATP broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

Episode # 2446

Air date: 7/21/24


Originally aired in February 2007, this week’s episode features host Kathy Bush with Professors Beth Oljar, Dan Maggio, Jeffe Boats, Lazaros Kikas, and special guest Andrew Mansour.

ATP 2446 transcript


Episode # 2445

Air date: 7/14/24


We hope you enjoy this rebroadcast of an Ask The Professor episode recorded in October 2005.   Long-time ATP moderator Kathy Bush is joined by Professors Jeffe Boats, Beth Oljar, Roy Finkenbine and Dave Koukal.  With special guest Sharon Vlahovich.

ATP 2445 transcript

Episode # 2443

Air date: 6/30/24


More ATP memories from October 2005.

With Professors Kathy Bush, Jeffe Boats, Beth Oljar, Jerry Curtsinger, Roy Finkenbine, Dave Koukal, and guest panelist Sharon Vlahovich.

ATP 2443 transcript


Episode # 2442

Air date: 6/23/24


Recorded in October 2005.

Host Kathy Bush is joined by Professors Beth Oljar, Jim Tubbs and Dan Maggio.


Titans Service Day with ARISE Detroit set for Aug. 3

Join fellow Titans in helping clean up the community for ARISE Detroit‘s 18th annual Neighborhoods Day on Saturday, Aug. 3.

The University has partnered with Demographics Inspiration – Detroit to clean up community gardens and lots located just five minutes away from the McNichols Campus. The volunteering will take place at 15368 Fairfield Street in Detroit.

With any questions, please reach out to Alumni Relations at 313-993-1540 or alumni@udmercy.edu.

Sign-up to Volunteer!

More than a dozen people stand outdoors and pose for a photo in front of a playground and other buildings.

Residence Life hiring peer mentors for the new Titan Mentor Program

Residence Life is now hiring peer mentors for the new Titan Mentor Program, starting with the 2024-25 academic school year.

The Titan Mentor Program is a new program aimed at impacting some of UDM’s first-year students. Through the mentor/mentee relationship, our students will have another layer of support navigating their first year at Detroit Mercy.

Residence Life is seeking student leaders who are interested in mentoring members of the freshman class. The Titan Peer Mentors will have 3-5 mentees and help guide them through their freshman year. The Titan Peer Mentors will receive a $200 scholarship each semester. There will be training held on Saturday, Aug. 17 and a kick-off meeting on Monday, Aug. 19.

Email Sandra Alef at alefsj@udmercy.edu for more information or apply on HandShake for the Graduate Coordinator or Titan Peer Mentor positions. Interested students can reach out through the form below.

Titan Peer Mentor Interest Form.

A dark blue graphic with text reading Hiring a Titan Mentor Graduate Coordinator and additional text reading The new Titan Mentor Program is seeking a Graduate Coordinator for the 2024-25 academic year. Also featuring a Detroit Mercy logo in the lower right corner.

Coaches Cookout features Titan basketball, July 31

Join the Department of Athletics for a Basketball Coaches Cookout on Wednesday, July 31 from 5-7 p.m.

Enjoy a delicious barbecue, drinks, music, and games with the Titans basketball coaches at the tennis court pavilion behind Calihan Hall.

Head women’s basketball coach Kate Achter and new head men’s basketball coach Mark Montgomery will be in attendance to meet and greet with guests, before sharing updates with their programs and previewing the upcoming seasons.

Fans will be able to renew, reserve, or purchase season tickets ahead of the 2024-25 basketball seasons.

RSVP for the Cookout!

Graphic for the Titan Basketball Coaches Cook-out

Crafters needed for Homecoming pop-up shop fundraiser

Titan community, crafters are needed to the Adia J. Palmer pop-up shop during Homecoming on Saturday, Sept. 28 from 4:30-7:30 p.m.

Consider donating to the Adia J. Palmer Memorial Scholarship Fund, which supports students in need. Suggested items to donate are jewelry, pottery, knit wear, artisanal products, seasonal goods and more. The donations will be accepted from Sept. 3-17 at the McNichols Campus Library.

For more information, email palmervl1@udmercy.edu.

Learn more and donate!

A green graphic featuring a photo of Adia J. Palmer with text reading "Join us for The Adia J. Palmer pop-up shop event, Saturday, September 28, 2024, 4:30-7:30, discover a curated selection of unique goods, support a meaningful cause in honor of a cherished member of the Detroit Mercy community, all proceeds provide financial assistance for students in need." It features a QR code at the bottom as well as text reading University of Detroit Mercy, McNichols Campus, Fountain Lounge.

Charlton Center to host annual Money Matters Camp, July 29-Aug. 2

More than a dozen students stand on the steps of the Chemistry Building posing for a photo. Two students hold signs that read Large Cap and #WealthyHabits.The Charlton Center for Responsible Investing will host the Money Matters Camp from July 29 through Aug. 2 on the McNichols Campus.

More than 300 Metro Detroit elementary, middle and high school students, along with volunteers and camp counselors will be at UDM. They will participate in an exciting week of education and fun-filled activities centered on financial literacy, investing, and life skills.

The Charlton Center’s Mission of reversing the trend of under-representation of people of color and females in the investment industry by providing academic excellence and hands-on training to this demographic aligns with the focus of the camp.

The camp’s founder, Gail Perry-Mason, attended the University. A longtime senior investment professional, author, and renown speaker, Perry-Mason’s passion for financial-based education led her to found Money Matters for Youth in 1996. The camp has helped provide important financial learning to thousands of Detroit students.

Earn $40 through Detroit Mercy’s mental health study

Detroit Mercy students, staff and faculty can earn $40 through a mental health study at the University. The Department of Psychology is looking for participants for the study.

To qualify, you must be 18 or older, have experienced a traumatic event and have the ability to complete questionnaires and interview about current mental health symptoms in English. Each in-person appointment will take approximately 60-90 minutes.

Participants will be asked to fill out a few self-report questionnaires relating to traumatic experiences, relationships, emotions and coping. They’ll also be asked to participate in a confidential videotaped clinical interview regarding traumatic experiences.

The study will use the information to help clinicians diagnose trauma-related conditions and design better programs for people who have experienced traumatic events.

Please call 313-993-1486 or email Katelyn Lowe at loweke@udmercy.edu with any questions or to see if you may quality for the study.


Professor of English Nick Rombes was interviewed about his new novel, “The Rachel Condition,” and its connection to Michigan by Vol. 1 Brooklyn. It was published on Monday, July 8.

Read the full interview.

Save the date: Wellness Expo 2024

Calling all vendors for the 2024 Wellness Expo, which is set to take place Thursday, Oct. 3 from 12-2 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.

The Wellness Center is looking for departments, organizations, clubs, and local businesses that care for our student’s and employee’s wellness and well-being. Holistic wellness is larger than the physical or mental health services we typically think of first.

Wellness includes occupational, financial, spiritual, social, and community well-being, so almost all organizations, departments, and businesses are welcome to participate.

If you are interested in hosting a table at the expo, please contact the Wellness Center at 313-993-1185 or wellnesscenter@udmercy.edu.

Two people stand behind a table with blue Detroit Mercy bags. Tables and vendors are pictured inside of the Student Union Ballroom behind them.

Summer tutoring available at Student Success Center

A 2024 logo for the University of Detroit Mercy's Student Success Center.The Student Success Center is open during the summer months, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday each week.

Students should continue to make appointments for tutoring using the online scheduler, Tutor Trac. Tutor Trac is available for students under “Academic and Career Resources” in their MyPortal (my.udmercy.edu).

Both in-person and online appointments are available. The following list of summer courses has available tutors:

  • BIO 1090: Current topics in Biology
  • BIO 2040: Application Nutrition
  • BIO 2320: Principles of Human Anatomy and Physiology Lecture II
  • BIO 2330: Principles of Human Anatomy and Physiology Lab II
  • BIO 2600: Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • BIO 2700: Genetics
  • BIO 2900: Biostatistics
  • BIO 4801: Advanced Human Anatomy for Pre-Professional Students
  • CHM 1040: General, Organic and Biological Chemistry for the Health Sciences
  • CHM 1080: General Chemistry II
  • CHM 1120: Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry Lab
  • CST 1010: Fundamentals of Speech
  • ECN 2960: Macroeconomic Principles
  • ENL 1310: Academic Writing
  • ENL 2350: Study of Fiction
  • HIS 1500: Introduction to History
  • LEAD 4000: Leadership Capstone
  • MTH 1020/1030/1040: Algebra A, B, C
  • PHL 1000: Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHL 2010: Foundations of Ethics
  • PHY 1300: General Physics I
  • PHY 1310: General Physics Laboratory O
  • PHY 1320: General Physics II
  • PHY 1330: General Physics Laboratory II
  • PYC 2500: Developmental Psychology
  • SOC 1000: Introduction to Sociology
  • SPA 1100: Introduction to Spanish I
  • STA 2250: Statistics
  • TRE 1310: Introduction to Theater
  • UAS 0950: Elementary Algebra

With any questions, please feel free to call 313-993-1143 or email ssc@udmercy.edu.

More on Student Success Center.

Eleven people stand and pose for a photo inside of the Student Success Center, two of them sitting and one holding a dog.

College of Business Administration accreditation extended

The College of Business Administration has received a five-year extension of its accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).

“We’re grateful for the support provided to us by AACSB, and proud to maintain the distinction of AACSB accreditation,” said CBA Dean Joe Eisenhauer. “Our students and alumni can be justly proud of earning their academic credentials from one of the finest business schools in the world.”

Only the top 6 percent of business schools in the world have achieved AACSB accreditation; Detroit Mercy’s College of Business Administration has remained fully accredited since 1949, making this the 75th anniversary of its accreditation.

Earlier this year, U.S. News & World Report ranked the College’s MBA No. 17 in the nation for Management, making it the nation’s top-rated Catholic business school in this category.

Front facade of Commerce & Finance Building.

University names new dean of Libraries
Kate Harger
Kate Harger

Kate Harger will join University of Detroit Mercy as the new Dean of Libraries. She will join the University August 1.

Harger has more than 20 years of experience leading academic libraries in the metropolitan Detroit and Chicago areas. In addition to a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Wayne State University, Harger has earned a Doctor of Business Administration degree from Baker College, a Post-Baccalaureate Paralegal Certificate from Lansing Community College, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Hope College. She joins Detroit Mercy from Henry Ford College, where she was Director of Library & Academic Support Services.

Prior to her position with Henry Ford College, Harger was dean/executive director of the library at McHenry County College, Ill., and library director at Baker College of Clinton Township. She has experience leading library teams through periods of transformational change, including library renovation projects and large-scale library system implementation projects. She is skilled at engaging stakeholders to better understand and anticipate evolving needs, aligning library initiatives with the strategic goals of the institution, and implementing innovative library resources and services that foster student and faculty success. A fan of all things Detroit, Harger has a particular fondness for Eastern Market and the Detroit Film Theatre. When she isn’t working, she enjoys swimming, flower gardening and traveling.

She will replace Marilyn Dow, who served as interim dean for more than two years.

UDM to hold information sessions for in-demand health career programs

A photo of healthcare professionals gathering in a circle to discuss something.University of Detroit Mercy’s online Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS) and Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs will host information sessions this June and July.

Information sessions for the AGCNS program are scheduled for Thursday, June 20 and Thursday, July 25, at 1p.m., while Post-Master’s DNP program information sessions are scheduled for Thursday, June 13, at 6 p.m.; June 27, at 1 p.m.; and Tuesday, July 9, at 6:30 p.m.

The AGCNS program gives graduate degree-seeking students the transformational experience of becoming an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in the role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). This program also provides an easy pathway to complete a student’s remaining DNP program requirements.

CNS professionals help change the trajectory of care for populations of patients to exceptional outcomes by prescribing advanced, compassionate, holistic care to patients/family caregivers. In addition, CNS professionals receive advanced training and education to make nursing and medical diagnoses. These highly trained APRNs also prescribe pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical care options while assessing the nursing environment and bringing best protocols to the bedside.

Coursework for the AGCNS program is 100% online and conducted asynchronously through active engagement with faculty. This program equips students with the knowledge they need to be independent clinicians and to practice across clinical settings. Students are trained to be a generalist AGCNS overall, and skills will merge with their specialty or setting of choice in their CNS career.

The program is also distinctively different from others because it incorporates several doctoral level courses, which allow students who complete AGCNS requirements to finish their doctoral work now or at a future time. This aspect of the program is delivered through a blend of asynchronous and synchronous learning, which culminates with a DNP project.

The Post-Master’s DNP welcomes master’s prepared certified APRNs in the clinical specialties of nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and CNS. Additionally, MSN-prepared nurses in specialty areas such as nurse administration, executive leadership, and nursing informatics are also encouraged to apply to the program. The online program builds upon a student’s current skills to become effective leaders in healthcare as they work to improve the health outcomes of patients. The DNP represents the highest level of clinical nursing competence—students gain in-depth knowledge of nursing, biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational sciences. Using sophisticated informatics and decision-making technology, they develop collaborative strategies to optimize the health of individuals, families, communities, and UDM’s faculty and student mentoring approach, flexibility in clinical experiences, and affordable tuition makes this Post-Master’s DNP a unique experience.

Information Sessions

For more information on the AGCNS Program and/or to sign up for an information session, please visit the AGCNS webpage.

For more information on the DNP Program and/or to sign up for an information session, please visit the DNP Program webpage.

You may also contact Julie Bazydlo, recruiter for UDM Graduate Nursing, at gradnursing@udmercy.edu or 313-993-1828.

Center for Social Entrepreneurship invests in the community

Eight people stand and mingle inside of Boost Detroit with photos, television screens and a countertop pictured in the photo. The words DETROIT BOOST are displayed on the wall.

This story is featured in the Spring 2024 Spiritus magazine, arriving in mailboxes this week.

Dee Pearl stands holding a mechanical design inside of a computer lab.
Dee Pearl

Dee Pearl ’05, ’07 used to spend her summers as a teacher leading STEM-based camps in Detroit. It was a way for the longtime educator to introduce young children to science, engineering, technology and math. But a few years into it, she noticed something. 

“I started realizing that I enjoyed my summers a lot more than I did my September through June,” she said. “If I’m still working with kids and able to have an impact, how can I translate the summer camps into a full-time position?” 

That realization was the inspiration behind her starting Pearl SMART School, a STEM preschool that focuses on early literacy. She opened her first preschool in Monroe last fall, with a Detroit location scheduled to open this year. 

Pearl was able to move her business forward thanks to University of Detroit Mercy’s Center for Social Entrepreneurship, which works with local entrepreneurs who want to address social issues and help communities through business. 

The Center provides social entrepreneurs with skills, resources and mentorship through programming such as Boost, a 10-week intensive workshop for early-stage social enterprises.  

This work is the mission of the Center, which reached a long-awaited milestone this academic year by issuing the first loans to social entrepreneurs through its Social Innovation Fund. 

Pearl and Jermaine Wyrick each received loans of $5,000 to help with their businesses after completing the Boost program and pitching their idea to the Social Innovation Fund’s loan committee. Wyrick started a law firm to represent men in their fight to maintain a presence in their children’s lives. 

Social enterprises can face challenges raising funds or getting loans to support their businesses because “they’re not strictly motivated by profit,” said Derrin Leppek, the Center’s director. That’s where the Center and its Social Innovation Fund come in, providing initial support to help them achieve bank-readiness. 

“It’s harder to get an investor, like a bank, or others to take on that extra risk that a social enterprise faces,” Leppek said. “We kind of bridge that gap to help them get that initial funding that they need to do important things.” 

Impacting the Community 

Jermaine Wyrick smiles standing in a suit and tie outdoors.
Jermaine Wyrick

Wyrick has worked as an attorney for nearly three decades. He started Father’s Justice Law in May 2021 because of his own “existential crisis.” 

“I went through a custody dispute involving my minor daughter,” he said. “It enlightened me in terms of advocacy that’s needed to fairly and justly handle cases on behalf of men in family court.” 

Based out of Taylor, Father’s Justice Law works with men in the areas of custody, parenting time, divorce and prenuptial agreements. Wyrick does this work to help ensure that men can be involved in all areas of their children’s upbringing. 

“We’re not just looking at the short-term service that we give men while they’re facing a custody dispute or divorce,” Wyrick said. “We’re looking at 10, 15, 20 years down the road, when their kids grow up. Do they become a better, happier or more emotionally stable adult because they had their dad in their lives?” 

Wyrick says yes and he’s backed up by data. According to research collected by The Fatherhood Project, involved fathers who use authoritative and loving parenting can lead to better emotional, academic, social and behavioral outcomes in their children. 

Getting a Boost 

The Center’s Boost program offers social entrepreneurs a thorough jumpstart in the early stages of their businesses. 

A wide range of business fundamentals are covered in the program, from mission statements, legal and marketing to strategic thinking, finances and business models. Communication is a key aspect to help social entrepreneurs develop the ability to pitch their businesses. 

Leppek teaches Boost to social entrepreneurs, but UDM alumni and students also play a role. Alumni mentor participants and give presentations on their expertise, while students assist by solving problems in the classroom. In return, some of the businesses have welcomed UDM students as interns. 

Boost is taught by Leppek every fall and winter. More than 100 people have gone through the program, which is completing its 15th cohort. There is no cost to the social entrepreneurs for participating, as tuition is covered by alumni support and corporate sponsorships.  

Leppek sees the social entrepreneurs helping each other during class sessions. 

“They’re all giving input to each other and helping each other solve problems, which is really beautiful, because that peer support and sharing knowledge is highly effective,” he said. 

That peer support helped Wyrick, who was drawn to Boost because of its social impact, make partnerships with other participants in areas such as marketing. 

Boost appealed to Pearl because of the Jesuit and Mercy values of giving back, which were instilled in her while studying at UDM. She participated in two cohorts to solidify her business plan and believed that discussions with her peers were impactful. 

“As a social entrepreneur, is it about the money or is it about the people you ultimately want to touch?” Pearl said. “Having those conversations and being in class with other social entrepreneurs, it definitely gave us a meaning point.” 

As Pearl SMART School grows, Pearl wants to be intentional when considering additional locations. 

“We’re looking at areas that have childcare deserts,” Pearl said. “There’s a lot of data around the different counties that are struggling with the lack of preschools and childcare options. We’re looking for areas where we can be impactful in our state.” 

Making a Difference 

Issuing the first loans to social entrepreneurs through the Social Innovation Fund wasn’t an overnight process. It’s something Leppek had been working on for several years.  

After raising funds and getting everything in place, the Center held its first funding round during the winter 2023 semester. 

During the funding round, entrepreneurs pitch their social enterprises to the Center’s loan committee, which consists of members from its advisory board and CBA students and faculty. The loan committee looks at two things, Leppek said: The ability of the loan to move the business forward and the social entrepreneur’s ability to repay it.  

After listening to pitches and asking entrepreneurs questions, a collective decision is made. 

“It’s a process that works, because they get vetted pretty thoroughly,” Leppek said. “Students get a great benefit from this, too, because they’re part of this process of determining if a business is loan worthy.”

No loans were issued during the Center’s first funding round, but last fall, Pearl and Wyrick successfully pitched their businesses to the committee. 

“It’s definitely given us a boost to continue with our work of impacting kids with our preschools,” Pearl said. 

Working with the social enterprises, Leppek sees the UDM students applying what they learn in the classroom. “On top of that,” he said, “they’re engaging with local businesses that are doing good. It shows that business can be done in this way that helps others.” 

Participating in the loan committee and learning from people experienced in business was effective for Jason Zanchetta, a student in the five-year MBA program.  

“All of these businesses that are pitching to us have some kind of core value in improving community,” Zanchetta said. “It’s very fulfilling to be able to be involved in giving out these loans, but it has a higher purpose.” 

With the Center’s first loans issued, Leppek is hopeful that the businesses can be successful and have a positive impact in the community. 

“We owe it to Detroit to help make our community better, and that’s what we’re doing at the most basic level,” he said. “I want the entrepreneurs to be successful more than anything, because if they’re successful, everybody wins. They’re better because they have a sustainable living, they’re comfortable, but they’re improving the lives of others.  

“Being able to serve in this way to make Detroit a better place for everyone, it’s something I’m really proud of. I’m happy that we can do this for everybody involved.”

— By Ricky Lindsay. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.


College of Health Professions Dean Ahmed Radwan was recently featured on the APTA-Michigan Oncology Rehab SIG (Special Interest Group) Podcast.

He discussed a recent publication that he co-authored titled, “Top 10 Tips Palliative Care Clinicians Should Know About Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Language Pathology.”

Listen to the podcast on Spotify.


Associate Professor of English and Department Chair Mary-Catherine Harrison published a review of Annette Federico’s Charles Dickens: But for You, Dear Stranger in Victoriographies: A Journal of the Long Nineteenth Century.

Read the review here.

University to honor employee with a tree

Chaka HughesChaka Hughes was more than just a member of University Mail Services; he was a cherished friend, a bright smile, and a positive presence who touched many lives every day at University of Detroit Mercy.

He passed away suddenly on Oct. 8, 2022. To honor his memory and his lasting impact on the McNichols Campus, friends and co-workers are raising funds to plant a memorial tree on the Detroit Mercy campus. Alongside the tree, a plaque will be placed to commemorate his life and the joy he brought to the Detroit Mercy community.

They hope to raise $400 to cover the costs of installing the plaque. Your generous donation, no matter the size, will help create a lasting tribute to Hughes’ memory and his contributions to our community.

Donations can be made online https://www.givecampus.com/aiqiv7 or dropped off to Darrin Brown in University Advancement on the Second Floor of the Student Union.

To mail a donation by check, make it out to University of Detroit Mercy with “Chaka Hughes tree dedication” in the memo line and send it to: University Advancement, University of Detroit Mercy, 4001 W. McNichols, Detroit, MI 48221.

Tickets available for PGA Tour’s 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic

A collage of photos featuring people and the private suite at PGA Tour's Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.

For the sixth-straight year, the PGA Tour returns to Detroit for the 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic, which will be held June 27-30 at the Detroit Golf Club.

University of Detroit Mercy is offering the Titans and the community several ticketing options for the tournament, including a discounted rate for private suite tickets next to green of hole No. 15.

Suite tickets are only $250 for each day of the tournament, Thursday through Sunday. General admission tickets range from $65-80. Suite tickets include complimentary food and beverages.

A portion of the ticket price is a tax-deductible gift to Detroit Mercy Students Scholarships. Since 2019, UDM’s partnership with the Rocket Mortgage Classic has helped raise more than $45,000 for scholarships.

This year’s field includes defending champion Rickie Fowler, several players ranked in the top-50 in the world rankings including Will Zalatoris, Tom Kim, Cameron Young, Akshay Bhatia, Chris Kirk and Min Woo Lee, among others. Also included are major champions Gary Woodland, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink. Miles Russell, a 15-year-old phenom, will also make his PGA Tour debut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He became the youngest player ever to make the cut on the Korn Ferry Tour earlier this season.

More information/purchase tickets!

Complete the 2024-25 FAFSA by July 1

The priority deadline for grants from the State of Michigan is Monday, July 1.

Don’t forget to complete your FAFSA form for 2024-25!

More info.

A red-painted rock outdoors on the McNichols Campus featuring the words, WELCOME TITANS and SOAR 2024.

Summer food drive to benefit UDM organizations, pantries

Little Free Pantry is stocked with food outside of the stairwell that leads to TDR.The HIVE student pantry, Office of Admissions, Little Red Pantry and Little Free Pantry are looking for food donations this summer.

The food donations include any non-perishable food items, pasta, soups, and boxed or canned items. Male and female hygiene products will also be accepted. The drive will run from May 28 through June 30.

These is a donation box located in the lower level of the Student Union, next to the vending machines.

Each person that donates any items will also be entered into a drawing to receive a $25 gift card or Detroit Mercy apparel.

Women’s soccer to host Nike Soccer Camp for all skills, July 8-12

A graphic for the Nike Soccer Camp, July 8-12, Half Day, Full Day, Summer 2024.

Detroit Mercy’s women’s soccer program is holding youth camps for those interested in soccer, including one on the McNichols Campus from July 8-12.

The day camp is focused on fun and teaching kids the game of soccer.

There are two camps — one at Detroit Mercy and the other is in Waterford, Michigan from June 24-28. Both camps are co-ed and for skill levels of all ages.

Anyone is welcome to join!

Sign-up/more information.


Assistant Professor of English Elena Garcia has recently had two writing pieces published at the same time. The first, “Considering the Factory Floor” is an article in Technical Communication Quarterly that she wrote with her father, a retired factory machine operator.

The second is the chapter, “Please! Stop Doing More with Less,” in the edited collection Disruptive Stories: Amplifying Voices from the Writing Center Margins, that focuses on ableist practices in academia and writing centers in particular.

Interrupted hours for Wellness Center from June 10-21

The Wellness Center is undergoing renovations this summer and its building will be closed from June 10-21.

The staff will still be able to Personal Counseling clients and Health Clinic patients via telehealth during that time and will also be checking voicemails during business hours. You can also continue to reach out through emails at wellnesscenter@udmercy.edu and personalcounselingwc@udmercy.edu.

The Wellness Center Health Clinic will also be closed during the week of July 4. Please reach out to the Personal Counseling office directly during that time at 313-993-1562 or personalcounselingwc@udmercy.edu.

The Wellness Center thanks everyone for their patience through the renovation period and will continue to work diligently to ensure all students have the wellness services they need during that time.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Wellness Center with any questions or concerns!


Executive Associate Dean of Optometry and Associate Professor Sulman Hans has been appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to the Michigan State Board of Optometry. Hans was appointed to represent optometrists during a two-year term.


Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Pamela Zarkowski was a panelist at one of the symposiums at the Academy for Professionalism in Health Care meeting in Philadelphia.

The topic was Educating for Ambiguity in Professionalism: Perspectives from Different Disciplines. More than 200 members joined the meeting in person and virtually.

Summer volunteering opportunities are available with TENN

Looking for volunteer hours over the summer, while also making a different in our community?

Join Detroit Mercy’s Titan Equity Nourish Network in delivering produce to our neighbors and in our garden. Produce deliveries are Monday and Friday, while garden days are throughout the summer.

Sign-up for Monday’s deliveries, which are every other week 12-2 p.m.

Sign-up for Friday’s deliveries, which are every other week 10 a.m. to noon.

Sign-up to help in the garden.

With any questions, please contact Chelsea Manning by email at mannincp@udmercy.edu.

A graphic featuring photos of the Titan Equity Nourish Network, including the produce deliveries and garden. Text reads, Summer Volunteers Needed, Join us in the garden and delivering produce to our neighbors, for more info, email tenn@udmercy.edu.

Join colleagues for A Time to Breathe, June 14

Pause the workday and join fellow Detroit Mercy colleagues for “A Time to Breathe,” on Friday, June 14 from 12-1 p.m. in the Student Union, Room 208.

A Time to Breathe is a time of reflection and sharing and those attending may bring their own lunch if they wish to eat during the gathering.

This opportunity is for all Detroit Mercy staff and faculty to step away from the business of the workday to just take the time to breathe and build community with colleagues.

To register, please email Judy Wernette at wernetjm@udmercy.edu and indicate “A Time to Breathe” in the subject line.


Professor of History and Department Co-Chair Roy Finkenbine presented a paper at the Midwestern History Conference on May 30 in Grand Rapids titled, “Strange Bedfellows: A Diverse Underground Railroad Network in Antebellum Wisconsin.”

It told the story of how Stockbridge Indians, African Americans, and whites cooperated to aid and protect freedom seekers from slavery escaping through northeastern Wisconsin.


Professor of English Nicholas Rombes appeared on Stateside at Michigan Public Radio on May 31 to talk about his new novel, “The Rachel Condition,” and its connections to Detroit.

Listen here.

Titan Mentor Program looking to hire Graduate Assistant for 2024-25

A blue graphic that features large text reading Hiring a Titan Mentor Graduate Coordinator. Additional text reads, the new Titan Mentor Program is seeking a graduate coordinator for the 2024-25 academic year, $15 an hour and tuition renumeration for 1 class/semester, email Sandra Alef at alefsj@udmercy.edu or apply on HandShake for the Graduate Coordinator, Titan Mentors.The new Titan Mentor Program is looking for a graduate assistant for the 2024-25 academic school year.

The Titan Mentor Program is a new program aimed at impacting some of the first-year students at Detroit Mercy. Through the mentor/mentee relationship, students will have another layer of support navigating their first year at UDM.

The graduate coordinator for the Titan Mentors will advise the mentors and help with the administrative tasks of the program, including kick-off events, training and assessment throughout the program. The GA would receive a $15/hour wage as well as tuition renumeration for one class per semester.

The Titan Mentor Program was one of the awarded projects from the 2023 Titan Innovation Fund.

Interested graduate assistants can apply through handshake or email Sandra Alef at alefsj@udmercy.edu.

Open pickleball set for Tuesdays, Thursdays in May

Faculty, staff and guests are welcome to open pickleball at the Student Fitness Center every Tuesday and Thursday, 5-6 p.m., during the month of May!

Paddles and balls will be provided for the matches.

For more information please contact Mike Wynn Jr. at wynnmi@udmercy.edu or 313-993-1782.

A graphic featuring a pickleball racket and ball and players. Text reads, Faculty and Staff Open Pickleball, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5-6 p.m., paddles and balls provided, Student Fitness Center, wynnmi@udmercy.edu, 313-993-1782.

Rombes reads from new book in Ann Arbor, June 5

A book cover of The Rachel Condition by Nicholas Rombes.Professor of English Nicholas Rombes will be reading from his new novel, “The Rachel Condition,” at the Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 5.

“The Rachel Condition” is at once a political thriller, a family saga, and a mind-bending love story that plays out through the mysterious byways of Detroit.

More on the book.

Summer tennis lessons available for all at Detroit Mercy

Two UDM students play tennis on the courts outside of the Student Fitness Center.Titans, get ready for an exciting summer with the Motor City Tennis Club!

Join this tennis program on the McNichols Campus from June 17 to Aug. 12 for the Summer Lessons Program, designed for all skill levels. Sessions will be held Mondays and Fridays from 6-8 p.m.

Spaces are limited, so sign up today and serve up some fun this summer!

The tennis courts are located at 4001 W. McNichols Road in Detroit on the McNichols Campus of University of Detroit Mercy.

Junior Registration.

Adult Registration.

Family Registration.


Professor of History and Department Co-Chair Roy E. Finkenbine gave a talk on “What Caused the Civil War?” to the Michigan Regimental Round Table at the Farmington Community Library.

The talk discussed the many factors attributed to be causes of the Civil War and why slavery was the real cause.

Summer reading recommendations from the English Department

Books are stacked on a beach with water in the background.Each summer, members of Detroit Mercy’s English Department offer reading recommendations to the UDM community.

This year’s recommendations include books that folks have loved and books they plan to read this summer.

Read the recommendations on Between the Pages!

Also leave your own recommendations in the comments.

2024 Commencement: Download photos, watch replays and more

Congratulations, Class of 2024!

The world gained new Titans with more than 1,000 University of Detroit Mercy graduates receiving their diplomas across four different Commencement ceremonies May 10-11 inside Calihan Hall on the McNichols Campus.

Watch replays of the ceremonies through the University’s YouTube channel.

Click here for a full array of photos from each of the ceremonies, as well as the Multicultural Graduation and other ceremonies.

For full profiles, programs, replays and more from 2024 Commencement, visit udmercy.edu/commencement.

Titan commitment honored at 2024 Spotlight on Excellence awards
Seven people pose for a photos, three holding lamps, in front of a blue University of Detroit Mercy backdrop, inside of the Student Union.
From left to right with President Donald Taylor: Karla Lewis, Arthur Ko, Megan Novell receive mission awards, and Pam Zarkowski and Diane Praet are honored for their 45 years of service to the University.

Dozens of members of the University of Detroit Mercy community were honored Monday during the 2024 Spotlight on Excellence awards ceremony inside of the Student Union Ballroom on the McNichols Campus.

The University acknowledged the contributions and achievements of the faculty, staff, administrators and retirees during the ceremony.

Among those honored were Administrative Assistant in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Jane Schley for 50 years of service, Provost Pam Zarkowski and Associate Vice President/University Registrar Diane Praet for 45 years of service to the University and dozens more people who are marking 40, 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10-year milestones.

The 2024 Faculty Recognition Awards went to:

  • Faculty Excellence Award — Claudia Bernasconi, Professor, School of Architecture & Community Development
  • Faculty Achievement Award — Nadine Wodwaski, Associate Professor, Nursing, College of Health Professions & McAuley School of Nursing
  • Jesuit Community Faculty Stipend — Rosemary Weatherston, Associate Professor, English Department; Erin Henze, Associate Professor, Psychology Department; Rachel Lee, Assistant Professor, Psychology Department; Sarah Rowe, Assistant Professor, Psychology Department

Earning the 2024 Commitment to Excellence Awards were:

  • Rising Star Award — Dwayne Arnett, Helpdesk Technician, ITS
  • Commitment to Excellence Staff Award — Lalisha Griffin, Administrative Assistant, Biology, College of Engineering & Science
  • Commitment to Excellence Administrator Award — Tyra Dahlerup, Executive Director of Admissions, Admissions & Recruitment

Receiving the 2024 Mission Leadership Awards were:

  • Agere ex Missione Staff Award — Karla Lewis, Administrative Assistant to the Dean, College of Engineering & Science
  • Agere ex Missione Administrator Award — Megan Novell, Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Compliance Specialist, Co-Director of Women’s and Gender Studies
  • Agere ex Missione Faculty Award — Arthur Ko, Associate Professor, College of Health Professions & McAuley School of Nursing

Visit udmercy.edu for a full list of honorees and award winners.

Full photos from Spotlight on Excellence.

New Rocket Mortgage benefit helps home buyers

Detroit Mercy community, homeownership may be closer than you think with ONE+ by Rocket Mortgage, which is a new and affordable low down payment option.

With ONE+, you can put down 1% and Rocket Mortgage will cover the other 2%, giving you all the benefits of a 3% down payment. You can take advantage of even more savings because you don’t have to pay the mortgage insurance, either.

Who is eligible for ONE+?

ONE+ is for first-time home buyers and repeat home buyers who make less than or equal to 80% of the area median income (AMI) of the location they’re buying in. It’s available for purchase loans and can’t be combined with other promotions.

Visit VIP.RocketMortgage.com/DetroitMercy or call 866-378-6088 to get started.

A graphic featuring two people holding boxes. Text reads, Homeownership may only be a 1% down payment away, Homeownership may be closer than you think with ONE+ by Rocket Mortgage, a new affordable low down payment option.

Job opportunity: Work in Office of Admissions this summer

Detroit Mercy’s Office of Admissions has two positions available for the summer: Tour Guides and Welcome Desk Associates.

For more information or to apply, please email Darrius Hicks at hicksdm5@udmercy.edu.

A graphic featuring two students in an office setting. Text reads, Work in Admissions This Summer, We're Hiring Tour Guides and Welcome Desk Associates, To apply, email Darrius Hicks at hicksdm5@udmercy.edu.

Class of ’24: Co-Valedictorian ready to care for world as Pre-Med graduate

MacKenzie Patterson smiles and stands inside St. Ignatius Chapel.

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy’s Marketing & Communications department profiles members of the graduating classes. Students chosen were nominated by staff and faculty for their contributions to the life of the University. Click here for more information about 2024 commencement exercises.

MacKenzie Patterson’s life and what she wanted to do with it was transformed when she was 11 years old.

That was when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Patterson witnessed first-hand the great care that doctors provided her mom.

Fast-forward to her senior year at University of Detroit Mercy, and Patterson is on the doorstep of realizing the dream of becoming like the doctor that helped her mom.

Patterson, one of the Class of 2024 Valedictorians, will graduate Saturday with a Biology degree and is preparing for the next step in her educational journey: Medical school.

“I just remember feeling pretty grateful to my mom’s doctor,” Patterson said. “I heard amazing things about her dermatologist and how thorough she was, and the cancer was a really tiny spot. She caught it and took really good care of my mom during the process.

“That’s when I became more interested in medicine and science. I just wanted to become like her and helping patients like my mom and improving overall quality of life.”

Patterson, from a small town outside of Buffalo, N.Y., initially visited the University because of an opportunity to run track and field for the Titans. Before visiting, she was looking at schools close to home and her family but reconsidered after touring UDM.

“Before Detroit Mercy sent me that email, I had never considered running on a Division I track and field team, but after visiting, it forced me to reconsider my college options and open myself up to new opportunities,” Patterson said. “When I toured here, I liked that it was a small campus, small class sizes, professors know you by name, the track and field scholarship and I had the opportunity to be a Pre-Med student.

“That one visit changed my path, and I may even argue, my life.”

Patterson said Detroit Mercy became a second home the moment she stepped onto the McNichols Campus as a freshman. She attended an outdoor Mass hosted by University Ministry during her first week at UDM and she’s been involved with the organization since.

“I just instantly felt welcomed by Ministry, I felt like they were going to be the people I would be spending a lot of time with,” Patterson said. “I met my best friend Hannah there, we sang together at Mass, and that’s a friendship that’s going to be part of my life forever. 

“I feel like in a sense Ministry has become my family away from home.”

Patterson immersed herself in a lot of other activities during her time at Detroit Mercy, too.

In addition to being a track and field student-athlete and involved with University Ministry, Patterson is a member of Gamma Phi Beta, Zeta Nu Chapter and the Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit Honor Society, as well as the MEDLIFE student organization, which raises money for medicine, education and development projects in underdeveloped countries.

“When I first came here, I didn’t know anybody,” she said. “I feel like the Detroit Mercy community has really become my home; the people have been amazing to be surrounded by. I’ve had a lot of good experiences.”

While she volunteered at a cancer institute and alongside physicians, nurses and other medical professionals in high school to further her interest in health and medicine, Detroit Mercy has offered her the opportunity to fully prepare for a life in the medical field through her academics.

Patterson said that professors such as Michelle Andrzejak, Klaus Friedrich, Greg Grabowski, Jacob Kagey, among others, in the College of Engineering & Science have been integral with their time, support and encouragement.

“Dr. Friedrich met with me almost every day of the week to tutor me, he’d meet with me over Zoom to try and explain something to me,” Patterson said. “I’ve had a lot of amazing professors like that. I feel well-prepared for medical school because the classes are set up in a way where you’re kind of preparing for it.

“The way they teach, it seems synonymous with how med school will be, especially with some of the research assignments they give us to do.”

Beyond the professors, the UDM community impacted Patterson, including Dan Greig and Anna Lawler in Ministry and Si Hendry, S.J., among others.

“There’s been a lot of people here who have believed in me even when I wasn’t sure I could do it, people who have rooted me on throughout my education here,” Patterson said. “There’s a lot of those connections that I’m going to miss when I graduate from here.”

Patterson said she felt the Jesuit and Mercy values and mission throughout her UDM career.

“I liked the individualized care aspect of it,” she said. “It really does show through courses and how staff and faculty conduct themselves, you can tell that our University is really grounded in its mission. We’re trying to actively better our community.”

Patterson started her UDM career during COVID and arrived in Detroit not knowing anyone on campus. She’ll leave with lasting relationships, a degree that prepared her for the next step in her life and the distinction of being a valedictorian.

“The fact that UDM chooses a valedictorian using a ‘whole person’ concept, not solely on academic achievement, lends to the entire experience I’ve had on campus and the person I’ve been molded to become,” she reflected. “Receiving this privilege is a reminder that anything is possible.” 

From early days Patterson, the oldest of four children who grew up in a military household with her dad being deployed multiple times throughout her childhood, was a caretaker helping with her younger siblings.

Her interest in caretaking was then strengthened by watching the care her mom received and volunteering at a cancer center shortly thereafter.

Now, with a college career full of new experiences and an education preparing her for medical school, Patterson is ready to care for the world at large.

“When I decided to attend Detroit Mercy, I had no idea if I was making the right decision, but now I know with certainty that I was meant to be at Detroit Mercy,” she said. “I don’t know if it was luck or fate, but Detroit Mercy saw something in me that I had not yet seen in myself.

“Looking forward, I can only hope to repay that kindness by going out into the world and showing them what a Titan can give.”

— By Adam Bouton. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.

Class of ’24: First-Gen, Pre-Law grad felt supported by Detroit Mercy

Jacob Yasso stands smiling inside of the Gardella Honors House with stained glass windows behind him.

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy’s Marketing & Communications department profiles members of the graduating classes. Students chosen were nominated by staff and faculty for their contributions to the life of the University. Click here for more information about 2024 commencement exercises.

Jacob Yasso didn’t know if a four-year college was for him.

His high school guidance counselor suggested that he should possibly try the community college route first to see if college was the right call.

That’s when a University of Detroit Mercy Admissions counselor visited his school.

“He looked at my transcript and he said, ‘you’re in.’ I was really kind of shook, I didn’t think that I would get in anywhere,” Yasso said. “All of my friends were applying, touring and putting in applications and I was really behind. I guess I was considered a late applicant, but Detroit Mercy didn’t make me feel like I was late at all.”

Two people stand indoors smiling, one wearing graduation gown and cap and the other wearing a suit.
Jacob Yasso (right), with Genevieve Meyers.

Flash-forward to May 2024 and Yasso confidently says he made the right call in choosing Detroit Mercy. Yasso will be the first in his family to graduate from college when he walks across the Calihan Hall stage May 11 to receive his Political Science, Pre-Law degree.

UDM answered every question Yasso had from the start, helping him fill out his FAFSA, assisting with scholarships and just being there for him.

Matt Fortescue, the UDM Admissions counselor who visited his high school, Henry Ford II in Sterling Heights, also identified Yasso as a candidate to be a tour guide at UDM. Yasso was able to feel at home during his freshman year of 2020-21 — in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — because of his tour guide job.

“Matt recommending me for that position already made me feel like I was at home because he knew me so little, but he saw my potential,” Yasso said.

If he hadn’t felt at home before, he did during the first week of classes, which were held online due to the pandemic. Sitting in a parking lot outside of the Fisher Building on the McNichols Campus, Yasso found out he was the only student who hadn’t taken a quiz in Associate Professor of Political Science Genevieve Meyers’ Basic Government class.

He didn’t even realize there was a quiz. What happened next was a turning point.

“Professor Meyers said, ‘it’s okay, thank you for your honesty and I’ll reopen it for you,’” Yasso reflected. “And I thought, ‘this is going to work out for me the next four years.’

“That’s really when I became more comfortable with my studies, I really started to care about my work and do better and now my grades are much better than they were in high school.”

The caring gesture from Meyers was a theme Yasso saw throughout his time at Detroit Mercy: The supportiveness of many throughout the UDM community, from Financial Aid, Student Life and Admissions to many staff and faculty in the College of Liberal Arts & Education and many more.

That care began the day Fortescue visited his high school.

“Everyone has been so supportive, otherwise I don’t think that I would be here right now.”

Starting as a tour guide, Yasso became involved in much more during his Detroit Mercy tenure, joining the Honors Program, Political Science Student Association, Chaldean American Student Association and Student Alumni Leadership Council, and serving as an ambassador for his college and in Admissions, in addition to many other activities.

Yasso was director of freshman orientation during the summer of 2023 before his senior year. He said it was by far one of the best experiences during college.

Jacob Yasso stands next to a Detroit Mercy backdrop.Academically, Yasso started as a Theatre major but switched to Pre-Law, which he says fits him well. Theatre actually helped get him there.

“Every stage you step on is a stage for justice, no matter what show you’re doing,” he said. “That’s how I got there into law was from theatre. I was always argumentative and my theatre teacher in high school taught us about intersections of theatre in law.” 

He said partaking in the moot courts — even during COVID — only solidified his ambitions of becoming a lawyer one day.

“My first year I had Intro to Law with Victoria Mantzopoulos, and she found a way to let us do a Moot Court online during COVID and she asked me to serve as the judge,” he said. “It was a really fun experience for me even though I was at home. We did at least one-to-two every year.”

Yasso said that his Literature minor also had a big impact on him, especially as he prepares for law school.

“Reading a lot of older literature books with diverse voices, it helps you articulate your ideas and write better, which is great for law school,” he said. “My literature minor is something that I’m proud of.”

He said he felt the Jesuit and Mercy values embedded throughout his course work, and not only in the community service classes each UDM student is required to take.

“These pillars that we have opened up our eyes to new possibilities and I think my career goal may be law school, but a real-life goal is a utilitarianist idea of creating the most happiness for the most amount of people,” he said.

Yasso, who has two older brothers who are also considering college, is following the lead of his parents in the way that he attacks each day.

“I watched them work hard during their lives and be successful and I just try and mimic that, working hard,” he said. “They wanted me to go to college, but if I didn’t, you obviously have to work. It motivates me every day.

“It’s definitely very special for my parents.”

A fixture for nearly four years to hundreds, if not thousands, of prospective students, parents, alumni and many others as a tour guide, leader and face of the University, Yasso is glad he decided to attend UDM even if his first tour of campus was a little terrifying.

“The initial tour was scary, I think most people would be nervous going on a campus tour,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect from a college campus as a first-generation student, I didn’t even know where the Admissions office was.

“But Detroit Mercy definitely helped me figure out my way.”

— By Adam Bouton. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.


College of Health Professors and McAuley School of Nursing Assistant Professor Ashlee Barnes was selected as the winner for the Distinguished Alumni Nightingale Awards for Nursing Excellence. She was honored May 8 at Oakland University.

The Nightingale Awards honored 10 winners in 10 different nursing categories. The nominees were nominated by peers and supervisors and were recognized as exceptional nursing leaders in their community.


Assistant Director for Educational Development at the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning Erin Bell has published a reflection of her study abroad trip to Cuba with University of Detroit Mercy in Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education.

You can read “Encountering Cuban radical hospitality” here.

Class of ’24: Business grad uses empathy to measure success

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy’s Marketing & Communications department profiles members of the graduating classes. Students chosen were nominated by staff and faculty for their contributions to the life of the University. Click here for more information about 2024 commencement exercises.

As a child of immigrants living in upstate New York post 9/11, Nisha Miah saw the effects of racism and financial uncertainty her parents endured, and the toll it took on their mental health.

“As a child I wasn’t supposed to see certain things, and I wasn’t supposed to experience certain emotions, but I did,” she said, recalling those years. “I witnessed things that I knew my friends did not see, because my friends didn’t have to deal with them.”

Miah’s tumultuous upbringing has led her to a deep sense of empathy for people and has shaped who she is today. While exploring colleges, Miah, who goes by Ivy, said, “I was looking for a very specific type of university, one that would cater to my long history of nonprofit work and volunteering.”

A Business Administration major with a minor in Leadership, Miah “wanted my education to actually be utilized in the real world. It didn’t matter whether I studied business, political science, even art; whatever I chose to study, I wanted to be sure the knowledge I gained could be used for some force for good.”

When she read University of Detroit Mercy’s  mission statement and vision during her college search, she knew it was where she needed to be.

“I was led to apply because there were so many niche opportunities that really aligned with what I wanted to do,” she said.

“When I talk to prospective students one on one, I ask them, ‘what is your definition of success?’ Then I tell them to take that definition and completely erase any idea they have of success — whether it be that CEO position, working at Google, making a certain amount of money — and think of success as your own personal development and growth.”

The way Miah sees it, UDM requires students to become a member of the community, which is a good thing.

“I think that that forcefulness is something that opens students’ eyes to a whole new perspective. Here, students gain a sense of humility, understanding their privileges and understanding the concept of empathy, which is critical during the time of university where you’re actually developing that frontal lobe and developing who you are.”

When speaking to prospective students at Visit Day, Miah tells them, “If you want to see the knowledge acquired be a force for good, I truly cannot recommend any other place than right here, because it’s not only encouraged, but each professor I have had ensures that their curriculum has some type of ethical component to it.

“Professors make sure that it’s 1% textbook, 99% projects/real-world simulations, making you do things outside of the classroom that apply those concepts of business to the real world.”

Those real-world simulations have translated into competitions in which Miah has participated throughout her time at UDM.

During her freshman year, she participated in the Michigan Colleges Alliance MC3 competition and devised an educational game to teach financial literacy to low-income Detroit youth.

“I was playing the ‘Sims’ video game at the time and thought it would be a great idea if this was educational, because people of all ages are obsessed with ‘Sims.'” Her team worked the entire year, partnering with a local nonprofit to create a business proposal for “Cashtopia,” a simulated video game in which elementary school students create an avatar that is taught financial literacy through game play. As that avatar grows older, it learns more advanced concepts of financial literacy. Her team won third place overall in the state of Michigan.

Another competition she took part in recently was the International Business Ethics and Sustainability Competition, where she and her team went to Los Angeles and competed against 33 global universities. Miah took first place in the category of 90-second presentation, while her team took second place in the 25-minute presentation category.

When asked what she learned most about her community service work, she’s quick to answer. “Empathy. And acknowledging the importance of humility and the importance of wisdom. These are the three canons that I learned very quickly would dictate my life.”

However, she does not like to call her community service ‘volunteering.’

“This is my job as a human being,” she said. “This is my job as somebody who’s supposed to care for my global community. I would have nothing if it were not for the other members of society. The clothes I wear were sewn by somebody in a country that I will never ever go to. The food I have was made by farmers who are paid 25 cents a day. Everything I have is from the hands of another. So, I don’t see this as volunteering. I see it as my duty as a human citizen of this earth to you, another human citizen.”

Upon graduation, Miah plans to secure a job with a nonprofit while also pursuing her master’s or Ph.D., which she would like to do at UDM. Public speaking is also in her wheelhouse, and she has a passion for it. “I’ve done it my whole life,” she said.

Her hopes and dreams for the future are truly multifaceted and are connected to helping people and her community, which stands at the heart of the UDM mission.

“I would love to be an intellectual and academic one day, somebody who is able to teach others and open their eyes to experiences that are far beyond their own experiences and instill that idea of humility, the importance of wisdom, and the number one thing, empathy,” she said. “I’m hoping to be the person who can impart those positive, powerful tenets for change.”

Her idea of success may not be typical of young people graduating from college.

“It does not look like the ideal: a big house, a nice car,” she said. “My idea of success is having made an impact on the people around me, the people that love me and care for me, and having developed beautiful relationships and connections.”

— By Julie A. Erwin. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.

Class of ’24: Far from home, Architecture student looks to tomorrow

Iryna Olkhovetska stands in front of a series of designs and pictures located on the wall inside of the School of Architecture + Community Development.

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy’s Marketing & Communications department profiles members of the graduating classes. Students chosen were nominated by staff and faculty for their contributions to the life of the University. Click here for more information about 2024 commencement exercises.

“Starting life anew in a foreign country is not an easy task,” said Iryna Olkhovetska. The native of Lviv in western Ukraine will graduate from University of Detroit Mercy May 11 with a master’s degree in Architecture.

Iryna OlkhovetskaOlkhovetska is a first-generation college student, who made the difficult decision with her family to leave their home in Ukraine and move to the United States in search of a brighter future six years ago. Today, she is proud to be an American citizen. More importantly, she embraces her identity as both a Ukrainian and American and strives to honor her roots while building a future in the land of opportunity.

Upon arriving in the U.S. and joining her parents, Olkhovetska enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to learn a language she had little experience with.

Though apprehensive by what seemed like daunting steps to apply to any university, she chose UDM because of the tight-knit, community-type atmosphere. Before leaving Ukraine, she had completed her bachelor’s degree in Architecture in Ukraine and found that the one year the MCD program required was a great selling point over other universities with traditional two- or three-year master’s degree programs.

“What makes UDM special is the architecture student’s explosion into the field,” she said.  “Students hit the ground running from the outset. On day one of class, students are required to introduce and then defend their thesis/idea on a small, paper-sized poster before an audience of classmates and professors.”

Olkhovetska recalls being terrified at this task of presenting her ideas to people who were basically strangers. She remarks on how astonishing it felt nine months later when she not only presented an elaborate thesis but defended it with poise and confidence.

She is passionate about her thesis, “Paradigm Shift: Rethinking the Notion of Detroit’s Suburban Neighborhoods by Exploring European-Inspired Design Strategies.”

“This topic is very close to my heart as an immigrant who moved to the Detroit suburbs and was struck by the stark differences from the more vibrant, community-oriented neighborhoods I was used to back home,” she said.

She notes that her thesis is “a heartfelt plea for a more human-centric approach to urban planning, one that recognizes the deep impact our built environment has on our quality of life. I want to use my skills and passion to create a better world, one neighborhood at a time.”

In her experience relocating from Ukraine to a Detroit suburb, Olkhovetska said, “I was amazed by the car-centric design, lack of walkability and absence of lively public spaces compared to the mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly communities I grew up with.”

It piqued her curiosity and motivated her to explore European design strategies such as prioritizing walkability with well-connected street grids, neighborhoods centered around lively public squares, parks that foster social interaction and investment in robust public transit networks to reduce car dependency, all of which could potentially transform the quality of life and sustainability of Detroit’s suburban neighborhoods.

“My goal was to show how even auto-centric suburbs could evolve into more inclusive, sustainable, and inspiring places through strategic urban design interventions,” she said.

“If the opportunity presents itself I would love to apply some of these concepts to my work at Fishbeck,” she added.

Fishbeck is a Michigan-based architecture and engineering firm, where she will intern on the healthcare team working on design strategies for hospitals and labs. She landed this opportunity after a mock interview in a professional environment preparation class as part of her curriculum at UDM.  “I’m optimistic that we’re at a paradigm-shifting moment for Detroit-area suburbs, and I am eager to contribute through research and practice.”

Outside of her classwork, Olkhovetska is also an artist who uses her talent to support her war-torn homeland. A group of women from the Ukrainian community in the Detroit area created a nonprofit organization called Ukrainian Girls Help Together, and she has played an active role in the organization.

The group comprises a talented cast skilled in beading, T-shirt printing, and jewelry making as well as communication and networking. Olkhovetska initially added her paintings to the handmade products of group members who sell at various Ukrainian exhibitions and events. Her participation in this group has evolved into teaching art classes and donating her earnings to the group. Girls Help Together supports not only Ukraine’s military but also its orphanages, homes for the elderly, and even animal shelters.

“I am incredibly proud of these girls because, despite our busy lives, we remain committed to our common goal and continue working tirelessly toward it,” she said.

At an early age, Olkhovetska knew her future would involve creativity, and in high school, she developed a clear interest in the exact sciences.

“I believe that my creative soul and precise mind are perfectly suited for a career in architecture, where I can combine my passion for design with my analytical skills,” she said. “Architecture is so fascinating. If it’s new, it’s not boring because I’m learning. I’m exploring something new.”

Her next steps include obtaining her architecture license. She is grateful for the help of her professors who aided her on this journey. She also appreciates the dedication of her adviser, Wladek Fuchs, and program director Claudia Bernasconi, under whose guidance she was able to blend her “creative and technical instincts.”

To prospective UDM students, Olkhovetska offers some advice: “Don’t be afraid to seek help; just ask for it. Part of the distinctiveness of UDM community is not only its professors, but also the students, where everybody helps each other. Communication is key,” she says. “There is nothing you can’t solve together.”

By Julie A. Erwin. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.

UDM partners with Kaplan to offer students free test prep for graduate-level admissions and licensing exams

A student studies in front of a book case in the McNichols Campus Library.University of Detroit Mercy announced today that a new partnership with global educational services provider Kaplan is now providing all of its students with free test prep courses for graduate-level admissions exams, including the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT and DAT, and free test prep for professional licensing exams including the bar exam, INBDE, NCLEX-RN exam, and Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination. Additionally, students can prepare for a number of business and financial-focused products for free.

The new partnership aims to improve matriculation to graduate and professional schools, improve professional licensing passage rates, and improve employability for UDM graduates.

By investing in Kaplan’s All Access License, colleges and universities can help their students prepare for a variety of high-stakes admissions and licensing exams that they need to score well on to reach their ultimate professional goals — with zero out-of-pocket costs for students. Kaplan has prepared students for standardized tests for more than 85 years, and UDM is Kaplan’s latest All Access partner.

“This partnership supports UDM’s Jesuit and Mercy mission by providing another transformative, student-centered opportunity to prepare for these challenging examinations without the worry of cost for these services,” said Pamela Zarkowski, UDM provost and vice president for academic affairs.“As a result, University of Detroit Mercy students are one step closer to becoming competent, compassionate leaders ready to serve in a vulnerable world.”  

“Kaplan’s All Access comprehensive course offerings are going to deliver a career path-changing experience to University of Detroit Mercy students and we’re proud to work with the school’s administration to make this a reality,” said Kim Canning, vice president of university partnerships, Kaplan.“By becoming an All Access partner, UDM is demonstrating that they are committed to their students’ long-term success and see in them the leaders of tomorrow in a wide variety of industries, from business to law to medicine, and beyond.

“Kaplan’s All Access License breaks down barriers and instead creates pathways for students striving to excel on crucial exams. We can’t wait to have UDM students in our classrooms soon to help them jump start the next phases of their life journeys.”

UDM students who are interested in enrolling in a Kaplan course should contact their academic advisor.

Celebrate seven Jesuits in Metro Detroit making milestone anniversaries, May 18

Photos of seven Fathers, with text at the top reading, 2024 Detroit Jesuit Jubilarians, additional text reading, Fr. Justin Kelly, SJ (70 years in the Society), Fr. Leo Cachat, SJ (70 years in the Society), Fr. Robert Scullin, SJ (60 years in the Society), Fr. Cyril Whitaker, SJ (25 years in the Society), Fr. Robert Flack, SJ (50 Years in the Priesthood), Fr. Patrick Kelly, SJ (25 years in the Priesthood) and Fr. Lorn Snow, SJ (25 years in the Priesthood).Help celebrate seven Jesuits in Metro Detroit who are marking milestone anniversaries of service to the Society of Jesus at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 18 inside of the Ballroom of the Student Union.

From parish work to education and care for the vulnerable, these seven men—and the seven ministries serving Metro Detroit—have positively affected countless lives.

The seven being honored are Fr. Justin Kelly, SJ (70 years in the Society), Fr. Leo Cachat, SJ (70 years in the Society), Fr. Robert Scullin, SJ (60 years in the Society), Fr. Cyril Whitaker, SJ (25 years in the Society), Fr. Robert Flack, SJ (50 Years in the Priesthood), Fr. Patrick Kelly, SJ (25 years in the Priesthood) and Fr. Lorn Snow, SJ (25 years in the Priesthood).

Family, friends, parishioners, students, alumni, colleagues, collaborators, and all who have been touched by the gift of Ignatian spirituality are invited to express gratitude to these dedicated men, and to join in honoring the legacy of our seven Jesuit ministries.

The Society of Jesus has been active in Detroit since 1877.

Let’s celebrate “Jesuit Detroit” together this Pentecost weekend!

For more information/register!

Class of ’24: Law grad continues family legacy after leaving HR role

Two people stand outdoors next to University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Riverfront Campus sign.

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy’s Marketing & Communications department profiles members of the graduating classes. Students chosen were nominated by staff and faculty for their contributions to the life of the University. Click here for more information about 2024 commencement exercises.

Being a lawyer is in Kevin Lynch’s blood.

His father, mother, a pair of uncles, an aunt and grandfather have all worked as attorneys.

“There actually was sort of this built-in path of going to law school,” Lynch said. “I knew that I had a lot of family members who had done well at it. But I never wanted to choose it just for that reason.”

“If I was going to do it, I wanted to have my own reason to do it.”

That reason was Lynch’s favorite part of his previous career: working with attorneys.

He spent nearly a decade in human resources and worked with outside counsel in his role.

“I always thought that was neat,” Lynch said. “They were leading the show, and I was more in an assisting role in HR. I liked their job and I thought, ‘I want to do that job.’

“So, I ultimately made the decision to go to law school on that basis.”

Three years later, Lynch will graduate from University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Law on May 10. He is set to join Butzel Long in September as an associate in the firm’s labor and employment group.

Lynch chose Detroit Mercy Law for a variety of reasons. He wanted to work in the Detroit area and remain in southeast Michigan, where his family is located. His father, Terrance Lynch ’83, is a Detroit Mercy Law graduate, and he enjoyed the friendly atmosphere from the campus community during a tour.

Having lots of family connections to law was helpful when Lynch made the leap to attend law school.

“I think it gave me confidence that this was a good decision, sort of a tried-and-true one for my family,” he said. “They just had all kinds of advice. I think that’s part of what led me to Detroit Mercy, because I knew my dad had a great career, and he did it through going to Detroit Mercy. I wouldn’t have known that reputation but for him.”

Lynch dedicated his Detroit Mercy Law experience to Law Review, where he served as editor-in-chief the past academic year. He oversaw Law Review’s annual symposium and had an article published in its winter 2024 issue. The article, Beyond Right-to-Work’s Repeal: Examining Other Reforms to Michigan Labor Law, had ties to his days in human resources.

“Law Review was my life for the last couple years, and that was deliberate,” Lynch said. “I didn’t take on anything additional outside of that, just because it’s a huge commitment. It’s humbling how much work is involved with it and you really need to give it your full dedication, I think, to do it right.”

Lynch’s career in human resources consistently intertwined with law.

His first job in the field was at a small employment law firm that did human resources consulting with companies. In that role, he investigated employment disputes.

From there, Lynch took a job in the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation’s (SMART) human resources department as a labor and employment specialist, where he worked with attorneys.

Those interactions piqued his interest, and around two years before starting law school, Lynch said he started thinking about making a move: Go all-in on human resources or study law?

“I ended up taking a transfer within the company to another area of HR, recruiting, and I didn’t like it,” he said. “The idea in taking the role was to explore another area of HR, and it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t meaty enough for me.

“It’s really important getting good people in your company, but after a while, it became pretty routine for me. I like big, complex puzzles, I don’t want to just keep repeating the same thing week in and week out.”

Going to law school after already being established in a career was crucial for his success, he said.

“I needed it. I did not have the discipline coming out of undergrad to be successful in law school,” Lynch said. “It’s tough. Going to law school is the hardest thing I ever did.”

Lynch worked for Butzel Long as a summer associate last year and is happy to be returning to start his career. Working in the firm’s labor and employment group is a full circle moment, he said, after so many years in human resources.

“I actually worked with one of the guys at Butzel when I was in SMART,” he said. “I used to be his client; now, I’m his coworker.”

Lynch feels properly equipped for his next journey as a lawyer. He appreciates the breadth of his law education and enjoys the direct experience he gained at Detroit Mercy Law.

“My favorite moments at Detroit Mercy have been hands-on and clinics,” he said. “We got to do mock trials and try out doing different oral arguments. I was in the Federal Pro Se Clinic, so I got to work with real clients, actually doing some employment law stuff. It wasn’t just that I got to work with clients, but it’s also in the field I’m going into. I got some really good opportunities to do some lawyering.

“Beyond that, the reason I came here is also turning out to be true: It’s set me up for success in Detroit and in Michigan.”

For Lynch, his Detroit Mercy Law experience and all that has come from it has been beyond his wildest dreams.

“I didn’t see it coming,” Lynch said. “I knew I was going to try my hardest to get as much as I could out of this. I’m just so grateful for how it turned out. Really, I just feel lucky.”

— By Ricky Lindsay. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.

Call for Commencement volunteers on Saturday, May 11

Titans, if you are available Saturday, May 11, the University could use your help!

The Commencement Planning Committee is looking for dependable students and employees to help make Commencement Day 2024 a special event for graduates and their families. There are many opportunities to volunteer!

Employees who volunteer receive Presidential Hours in exchange for your time, and lunch is provided. This opportunity is available to employees from the School of Law and McNichols campuses. Volunteers are needed at various times May 11 for the following events:

  • Baccalaureate Mass (Student Union Ballroom) — 8:30 a.m.
  • Undergraduate Student Commencement Ceremony — 11:30 a.m.
  • Outdoor Undergraduate Reception (Fountain Area) — Immediately following ceremony
  • Graduate Student Commencement Ceremony (Calihan Hall) — 3:30 p.m.
  • Outdoor Graduate Reception (Fountain Area) — Immediately following ceremony
How do I volunteer?

Check out available slots/times and register to volunteer on our Sign-up Genius. Contact Arneshia Austin, Alysa Jackson or Emily Johnson for additional information.

Volunteer meeting

All volunteers are required to attend a mandatory meeting Tuesday, May 7 at 1 p.m. via Zoom.

Dress Code

Employee volunteers are asked to dress in business casual and/or Detroit Mercy gear. A volunteer name badge will be provided at check-in, which is located in the Athletics Office in Calihan Hall.

Presidential Hours

As a thank you for volunteering, an employee who is not already being pair to work by the University on May 11 will receive Presidential hours to use at an agreed-upon time with your supervisor before December 31, 2024.

THANK YOU for supporting this exciting day for our University community!

Ten people in graduation outfits smile for a photo outdoors underneath a large balloon display.

Join colleagues for A Time to Breathe, May 10

Pause the workday and join fellow Detroit Mercy colleagues for “A Time to Breathe,” on Friday, May 10 from 12-1 p.m. in the Student Union, Room 208.

A Time to Breathe is a time of reflection and sharing and those attending may bring their own lunch if they wish to eat during the gathering.

This opportunity is for all Detroit Mercy staff and faculty to step away from the business of the workday to just take the time to breathe and build community with colleagues.

To register, please email Judy Wernette at wernetjm@udmercy.edu and indicate “A Time to Breathe” in the subject line.

Class of ’24: Helping create a healthier community is her goal

Each year, University of Detroit Mercy’s Marketing & Communications department profiles members of the graduating classes. Students chosen were nominated by staff and faculty for their contributions to the life of the University. Click here for more information about 2024 commencement exercises.

Afsana Uddin wears a white coat in a selfie photo.Afsana Uddin has been attending classes at University of Detroit Mercy since 2012.

“I’ve grown up here,” she joked.

This year, she will graduate with a doctorate in Nursing Practice, after having earned a bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a graduate degree in Family Nurse Practitioner.

Uddin’s parents emigrated to the United States from Bangladesh and didn’t have a high school education. She is the third of their three children to receive an advanced degree and their first to receive a doctorate. She followed her two sisters to Detroit Mercy, where her nephews are also students.

“There were so many factors as to why I chose Detroit Mercy,” said the native of northwest Detroit. “I liked the closeness, I loved that we’re embedded in the city of Detroit, I like the small campus because we have access to professors and other resources to help us.”

But it was the service learning programs that truly inspired her. Her participation in the Fresh Incentive program helped her see that good health starts long before a person needs a doctor.

“When you work in the community, you get to see and be exposed to things you didn’t know about and that can affect a person’s health,” Uddin said. “And it meant a lot that we were working right in the Fitzgerald neighborhood.”

Fresh Incentives began at Eastern Market and delivered fresh fruits and vegetables to people in Detroit neighborhoods who don’t have ready access to healthy foods. Funding through the Ford Community Corps Foundation paid to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables expand the program to the Fitzgerald neighborhood.

Access to food and education on taking care of your health are the two largest barriers to eating well.

“Going into this, we thought that access to food would be a major deterrent,” Uddin said for a story about the early days of the program. “We are learning that education is a big part of that as well.”

She expanded the work for her doctoral studies, introducing physical activity modules to get people moving. It was the first project where students entered the homes of the people they serve and it was eye-opening to her.

The results were very positive. People lost weight, which led to benefits like lower blood pressure and the ability to exercise more. Working in homes led to connections and students, led by Uddin, expanded goals to decreasing intake of soda and salty snacks. They created a map of the many farmers markets nearby so people knew where to go to get fresh food.

“There were positive outcomes on so many different levels,” she said. “It is a really important program.”

Uddin hopes to introduce the model to the home care company she has worked at for two years.

When not in class as a student, Uddin serves as an adjunct professor in the College of Health Professions.

Her passion for spreading the word about healthy eating to populations that don’t have that history has been a very welcome surprise.

“I originally had no plans about doing something like this,” she said. “But I’m so glad it found me.”

— By Ron Bernas. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.


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