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Students & Alumni

Admitted 2019

  1. Tanya Omolo Tanya Omolo

    Tanya Omolo is a dual-degree graduate student at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the School of Social Work at The University of Michigan. Her early childhood years were spent living in Moscow, Russia and Mombasa Kenya before moving to California at the age of seven. Growing up in a multi-cultural and multi-racial family fueled her interest in international policy and international social work. Tanya's social work and policy focus predominately concentrates on the intersection of gender, equity and human rights for women in developing countries. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Pomona College, concentrating on gender, race, and equity. Prior to graduate school, Tanya managed the Workers’ Compensation program for Morley Builders, a large construction company in Los Angeles, where she created and led a program focused on providing injured workers with a voice and outlet for all concerns related to their injury. As a Global Activities Scholar, Tanya hopes to learn how to leverage her social work and policy education to develop humanistic policies and programs for a more equitable global community and women’s advancement.

Admitted 2018

  1. Candace Hoitenga Candace Hoitenga

    Candace was born and raised in Holland, MI and graduated from Calvin College with a BSW and minor in Latin American Studies. During her undergraduate studies, she spent a semester abroad in Honduras through Calvin College's Justice Studies Semester. She is passionate about working with children and teenagers in both a global and local context and has had experience working in a safe home for teenage girls, after school programs, an early childhood center, and a summer camp. Candace joined the GASP program in order to gain knowledge, cultural humility, and skills to apply when working with children in international contexts. She hopes to one day work with immigrant or refugee populations, specifically children and youth.

  2. Gabrielle Wassilak Gabrielle Wassilak

    Gabbi was born in Bethesda, Maryland but grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She graduated summa cum laude from Hope College with her BSW and a minor in Peace and Justice Studies. During her time at Hope, she participated in several summer research projects, a May-term to Nyamata, Rwanda, an academic semester in Aberdeen, Scotland, and an ASIANetwork fellowship to Zhengzhou, China. Through her summer research and during her time in China, she realized her passion for global social work, program development, and program evaluation. While working with several non-governmental organizations serving parents of children with disabilities, she felt herself gravitating toward mezzo and macro oriented tasks. Additionally, Gabbi wishes to obtain her MSW concentrating on community organization in order to work with a variety of communities on program development as it pertains to conflict resolution and capacity building. Through GASP, she is excited to engage with sustainable community development projects.

  3. Isla Peterson Isla Peterson

    Isla grew up in Holland, Michigan. She graduated from Calvin College with a BSW and a BA in Spanish. As an undergraduate, Isla studied South American history, culture and language in Arequipa, Peru. She returned for a summer to work with Solidaridad en Marcha, a non-profit organization focused on community health for indigenous children and aging adults. After graduation, Isla completed a service year with Cherry Health AmeriCorps as a community resource coordinator for patient populations with language and cultural barriers to accessing health care. Isla looks forward to completing her MSW with concentrations in Interpersonal Practice and Health. As a Global Activities Scholar, she hopes to broaden her understanding of Social Work issues on a macro scale, as well as increase her cultural humility and cross-cultural practice skills. In her free time, Isla enjoys nature walks and exploring new restaurants.

  4. Jessica Castro Jessica Castro

    Jessica Castro is from Los Angeles California. She received her B.A. in Social Welfare and a minor in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with immigrant populations in Los Angeles advocating for mental and physical health access. After graduating, Jessica is interested in working with an organization that assists families and individuals who have been deported from the United States, specifically in Mexico and Central American countries. During her time at GASP she intends to further develop her Spanish proficiency as well as learn and collaborate with the communities in her placement.

  5. Jordon Drohner Jordon Drohner

    Jordon was born in Fountain Valley, California but has called Lake Geneva, Wisconsin home for the past twelve years. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a Bachelors in Sociology and Spanish. He has lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina and conducted research through the Ronald E. McNair Bachelorette Scholars program which sparked his interests in Global Studies. His populations of interest are low- income, immigrants, minorities, refugees, asylum-seekers, and how they relate in the healthcare field. Jordon hopes to gain experience and skills with connecting underserved populations to healthcare as well as fighting for social justice and equity in these populations through his time here at the School of Social work and as a Global Activity Scholar. In the future he hopes to explore how intersectional identities dictate persons experiences and care in the health field and hopes to someday work at a hospital or refugee/immigrant clinic as a Medical Social Worker.

  6. Maki Usui Maki Usui

    Maki was born and raised in Japan until she was 13, when she joined an international boarding school in India where she spent six years of her youth. She graduated from Lawrence University in Wisconsin with a BA in psychology and minors in music and studio art. She worked at a social welfare agency in Japan, assisting persons with disability for three and a half years before she served at a local deaf school in Rwanda as a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) volunteer for two years. Maki hopes to gain social work skills in international context through Global Activities Scholars Program so she can work at an international agency to empower children, youth and families in marginalized communities in the world.

  7. Mary Kay Hazel Mary Kay Hazel

    Mary Kay comes to Michigan from the State Department, where she designed creative educational and cultural diplomacy programs and launched the Storytelling for Social Change initiative. Previously, Mary Kay spent four years as the director of a youth-focused nonprofit in India and received the Maharashtra Human Rights Advocate Award and the Symbiosis Law School Humanitarian Medal for her work with children and families from marginalized tribes. Through the Global Activities Scholars Program, Mary Kay plans to develop skills connecting vulnerable groups to the policymaking process and filling in the gaps between laws and positive social outcomes. In her spare time, she is an arts nerd and accomplished French horn player who has performed on international stages from Lincoln Center to Athens, Greece. Mary Kay earned her BA in French literature and music from Emory University, with additional studies at Université Paris-Sorbonne.

  8. Mia Lehman Mia Lehman

    Mia is a Pacific Northwest Native with a passion for mindfulness and bagel shops. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a degree in International Development, a minor in Spanish and a certificate in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching. She just completed her Peace Corps service as an education volunteer in Indonesia 2016-2018. She has worked in anti human trafficking in the Netherlands and taught elementary ESL. Working with people from a variety of backgrounds has inspired Mia to pursue a career in international social work. Now entering the GASP program, she hopes to broaden her perspective of social justice and cultural humility through learning the many ways social work is practiced outside of the United States.

  9. Nora Lynch Nora Lynch

    Nora grew up in Beverly Hills, Michigan as well as Guanajuato, Mexico. She graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in Spanish and Sociology. During her time at MSU, she traveled to Lesvos, Greece, where she worked alongside NGOs supporting refugees on the island. Last summer she lived in San Ignacio, Belize, interning with a Mayan women's group as they discussed professional development, marketing, and social media branding for their crotchet business. She is particularly interested in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in higher education, and upon completing her MSW would like to work on a college campus. Nora joined the Global Activities Scholar's Program to learn more about social work on the global scale.

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