The University Record, February 4, 2002

Students are the key to keeping the dream of MLK alive

By Theresa Maddix

As part of the ongoing 2002 Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration two award ceremonies were held to honor students: the MIRT awards offered through the Center for Human Growth and Development (CHGD) and the North Campus MLK Spirit awards.

The Minority International Research Training Awards (MIRT) presented honors for international research projects to three graduate students and five undergraduates. Three of the students—Wroksie Jackson, Takisha LaShore and Chinasa Nwankso—will go to the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa, to work on the Violence Intervention Project. The other five students—Bersabell Asaye, Joy Ervin, Marisela Huerta, Karin Kemp and Rakiya Labaran—will go to the University of Santiago, Chile, mainly to work on subprojects with the larger focus of combating iron-deficiency anemia.

Chinasa Nwankso, an LS&A student whose future plans include running a free or low cost clinic for underprivileged women and their children, says, “I want to be able to provide other people with some of the same advantages [I have] by making sure that their basic healthcare needs are taken care of and that they receive the education needed for self-care so that they will be ready to learn and excel in other aspects of their life.”

Faculty leaders this year for MIRT are Betsy Lozoff and Vonnie McLoyd. Lozoff is director and senior research scientist at the CHGD, as well as professor of environmental health sciences, and of pediatric and communicable diseases. McLoyd is professor of Afro-American and African studies and of psychology, as well as senior research scientist at CHGD.

The MIRT program is funded by the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health. More information on the program is available from Kathleen Restrick, restrick@umich.edu or (734) 764-2443.

At the MLK Spirit awards ceremony, students from the four main schools on North Campus were selected for what Faye Burton, executive secretary at the School of Music, defined as “keeping the spirit and dream of Dr. Martin Luther King alive.”

“Recipients were chosen on the basis of how well they project the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.,” says Burton. “All of the students are active in their communities, supporting both youth and senior programs. They are striving to finish their degrees so they can give back to their community. Receiving this award gives them something tangible to remind them to continue to make the world a better place to live in.”

Recipients from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning were Jeffrey Hoad, Michael Leaveck, Toni Loiacano and Jaron Lubin. From the College of Engineering: Debra Ely, Brian Johnson, Brian Netter, Priya Sehgal and Brandon Wright. From the School of Art and Design: Jennifer Jo Boyer, Jacob Martinez, Cecelia Mendez, Otitigbe Obaroene and Carrie Russell. From the School of Music: Keith Dixon, Leslie Hill, Kenneth Kellogg, Frederick Peterbark, Adrianna Wadkins and Angus Wood.