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CASC Advisory Board

The Community Action and Social Change Student Advisory Board is comprised of student leaders in the minor who offer perspective and guidance through direct counsel on program initiatives, strategic planning, and partnership efforts with the School of Social Work. Through bimonthly meetings with CASC staff and faculty, advisory board members provide critical feedback loops on all major program areas and new initiatives to ensure alignment with the minor’s mission and vision. In addition to providing counsel to the minor, the advisory board review and develop innovative social justice education programs that engage CASC minor and School of Social Work students, as well as the broader campus community.

Aliya Hakim

Aliya Hakim LSA, Economics 2022, is a sophomore studying Economics with minors in Spanish and Community Action and Social Change. Her passion for implementing change in the world started while volunteering at a local non-profit when prior to college. Through this non-profit, she learned about systems of inequity, particularly in Southeast Michigan.  Unable to come to terms with the disparate experiences of marginalized women and children in her community, she decided to create her own business, Soap4Hope, in order to contribute. Through running Soap4Hope, she learned about the importance of social impact in corporations, nonprofits, toward community change. She is also the co-founder of Propel Business Club, active member of the Arab Business Society, and Alpha Phi Omega, a volunteer based fraternity.

Elsa Borrello

Elsa Borrello, BBA ‘20 is an undergraduate junior with a major in business, a minor in CASC, and supplemental studies in environmental sustainability. While growing up in Saginaw, Michigan, a city facing many economic and social challenges, she witnessed the many ways small businesses and organizations can drastically impact community. In addition to her involvement on the CASC student advisory board, Elsa is a member of Net Impact, an organization dedicated to furthering social impact and sustainability through business. In the summer of 2017, she interned at Voices for Earth Justice, an urban garden and environmental justice nonprofit in Brightmoor, Detroit. She learned about some of the ways in which communities of color are unproportionately targeted and affected by negative environmental impacts. Through the process, she was exposed to many forms of community organizing. These experiences have helped shape Elsa’s passions in food access and economic empowerment through financial inclusion.

Grace VandenBosch

Grace VandenBosch LSA, Communications 2021, is a junior studying Communication and Media studies with a minor in Community Action and Social Change. Prior to college, she began volunteering with her father and grandfather in multiple non-profits focused on food insecurity, poverty, and mental health in her home community. Upon attending the University of Michigan, Grace decided to dedicate her life and work to service --  the CASC minor offered her a community of social change agents to engage in this effort. She is eager to take what she learns from the CASC minor into nonprofit management with a particular focus on mental health and education. On-campus, she is also a member of Alpha Phi Omega, Kid’s Kitchen, and Friends for St. Jude’s Hospital.

Hope Crystal

Hope Crystal, BBA ‘21 is an undergraduate sophomore studying business with a minor in Community Action and Social Change (CASC). As a Chicago suburbs native, Hope became very interested in social justice during her junior year of high school when she did a research paper on the non-academic spending of her public high school. Through this paper she realized how large of a divide there is between the funding of her high school and the Chicago Public Schools. She aspires to make a positive social impact and help the Chicago Public Schools through her business career. She was eager to join the CASC minor during the first semester of her freshman year and has taken an active role in the CASC minor. She is involved in Lean-In, Sigma Delta Tau sorority, and is part of both the CASC Outreach Board and the CASC Advisory Board. Please reach out to her if you have any CASC-related questions!

Jaya Thyagarajan

Jaya Thyagarajan, BS '21, is a junior studying Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience (BCN) with a CASC minor. Her involvement with CASC began as a freshman when she recognized healthcare disparities that were not emphasized within the pre-medical education; she sought to learn more about social injustice and how to initiate change. Through CASC she has interned with 'Telling It', supporting healing and learning needs of children through youth-driven experimentation with creative arts. Jaya also volunteers with adults with memory loss, guiding art and music therapies. In addition, she is involved with a campus organization known as F.E.M.M.E.S. that teaches young girls about STEM+ fields and encourages their involvement within these disciplines.She hopes to one day use her CASC knowledge combined with her medical background to create trauma-informed programs, specifically for children and adults coming from low resource backgrounds.

Tanzima Ahad

Tanzima Ahad, BA ‘21 is an undergraduate junior majoring in Communication and Media and minoring CASC. Growing up in Hamtramck, Michigan, she was exposed to many of the inequalities in the system at a young age, particularly in the education system. With the majority of students in Hamtramck coming from underprivileged backgrounds, many struggled to thrive in an environment that had a lack of resources and opportunities. It became relevant to her that there were power forces in play that created many divides in society. It was through her personal experiences that she gained her passion for social justice. Tanzima enjoys working with children by volunteering at local elementary schools. In addition to being on the CASC student advisory board, she works closely with the Comprehensive Studies Program initiative called Bridge Scholars PLUS, where she is a Peer Academic Coach to first year students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. She also serves as a chair on BSP’s First Year Experience committee, planning events for CSP students.

Tiahna Pantovich

Tiahna Pantovich, BA 2020, is a senior studying psychology, with a minor in CASC. Tiahna is a U.S. Army veteran and a first generation transfer, who identifies as a nontraditional student. Her involvement with The CASC minor came about because of a great conversation with an advisor in the School of Social Work. Because she is interested in pursuing a Master of Social Work and she was already an active member of social change agent groups, the CASC minor allowed things to fall into place. As a student in the CASC Minor program, one of her most notable experiences included participation in the Contemporary London Program, where she studied issues related to diversity and inclusion among students and faculty. Aside from her CASC experience, she identifies as a student activist, and has been featured in student publishing platforms in discussion about issues pertaining to equity, fairness, and justice.

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