The Delores Soderquist Brehm

Center for Special Education Scholarship & Research

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Class of 2014-2015

Aisha Darnell

Aisha Darnell

Aisha Darnell

I work as a student staff employee at Eastern Michigan’s University Children’s Institute. I have concentrated on the dance art form of ballet. Currently, I am dancing as a company member with People Dancing, a professional non-profit dance company based in the community. At the age of 10, I began to sign at my church. The exposure to sign language is what led me to my area of study, Hearing Impairment Special Education. I had the awesome experience of performing hearing test on neonates as a volunteer at St. John Hospital during undergrad. Music and acting are a great part of who I am. If you were to ask someone that knows me to describe me, they would say that I am always smiling, I am determined, I live my life with passion, and that I have a great desire to make a difference in the lives of children and families. Having a positive attitude is so much a part of me and definitely helps me get through tough times.

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Christina Kim

Christina Kim

Christina Kim

I was born in South Korea, and immigrated to America at four years of age. I grew up in Chicago, and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. After working at an at-risk school for a year, I decided to pursue a teacher certification program in Chicago. During this time, I got married and my husband’s job led us to Ann Arbor, Michigan. My plan was to finish my teacher certification program, but that changed after the birth of my first child. I made a decision to stay at home, and was a stay at home mom for fifteen years with my three children before deciding to go to graduate school for special education. Outside of school, I spend my time volunteering in my church and community. I also find time to volunteer at my children’s schools when possible. As a mom of three children, I also spend a lot of time driving them around to and attending their extracurricular activities. When I am able to find some free time, I enjoy running, reading fictional books, and organizing. I also enjoy watching musicals, and trying different ethnic foods.

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Mardee Kohnmann

Mardee Kohnmann

Mardee Kohnmann

After spending the previous several years teaching Special Education with some of New York City’s most at-risk high school students, I moved to Ypsilanti this past fall to begin Eastern’s SLP graduate program. My students inspired me to begin painting, a hobby that I find both stress relieving and fun. About six years ago, I met my husband, a native Staten Islander and social worker. Together, we enjoy traveling and spending time with family. We also share a love for learning and working with people to make positive change. An area in which I would like to see progress is the awareness, prevention, and treatment of PTSD, specifically in the veteran population. Through my own personal experience, my father’s as a veteran, and my students’ exposure to trauma, I have found effective communication partners to be an imperative domain of PTSD that relates to my field of study; therefore it has become the focus of my thesis. Acceptance into the SLP program and receiving the Brehm Scholarship has boosted my confidence and motivation to pursue my goals in higher education.

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Derek Leverette

Derek Leverette

Derek Leverette

I came to speech-language pathology via our neighbor to the south, Mexico. It was there that I began teaching English and discovered how much I enjoy helping people better communicate. I especially like working with clients one-on-one because I come to know them as friends, and their priorities become my own. My education in speech-language pathology allows me the opportunity to make a profound and positive difference in the lives of my clients. My research originates in the conviction that effective therapy depends on collaboration between the client, his or her support network, and the therapist. We therapists must facilitate the learning that goes on outside the therapy room. We need to better understand what clients do in their daily lives in order to make therapy meaningful. I hope that the work I do in expanding the science of communication disorders will lead to improved outcomes for our clients. Aside from speech-language pathology, my other interests include film, literature, music, and cooking. Also, coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

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Rachel Lewandowski

Rachel Lewandowski

Rachel Lewandowski

I am a graduate student in the SEM-T Cognitive Impairment program. I grew up in Bellaire, Michigan. As the daughter of two teachers in a small rural town, I grew up in the wild places of nature as much as in the margins of books. Some of my favorite activities include reading, writing, gardening, biking, camping, yoga, and spending time with my family in nature. I have a B.S. Psychology and Anthropology from EMU. I have previously worked as a social worker in Washtenaw County for Child Protective Services. From my experiences with children afflicted by abuse and poverty, I decided I could help children in a more permanent role as an educator. I am currently working full time as a paraprofessional aide in a local kindergarten classroom. I have seen first hand the struggles teachers have with inclusion, bureaucracy, and educational policy in Michigan. As modern neuroscience is only beginning to grasp the role of neural plasticity in disability, disability is something that can be explored, challenged, and overcome. Disability is a culture, disability is a place we create. What kind of place will we create for our children?

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Candice Marrin

Candice Marrin

Candice Marrin

I work at a home health care agency as an administrative assistant and home health aide. I completed my Bachelor’s in Speech-Language Pathology at EMU in 2013, and am currently in EMU’s Master’s program for Speech-Language Pathology. After graduation I plan on working as a traveling Speech-Language Pathologist in hospital settings with patients who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, strokes, or other conditions affecting their speech and language abilities. Outside of school and work, I enjoy riding horses, participating in 5k fun runs and obstacle courses, as well as hiking and running. I also love to spend time with my nephews and niece.

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Melissa Robinson

Melissa Robinson

Melissa Robinson

I am a 42 year old, non-traditional student with a supportive husband of 18 years and 3 children with special needs, adopted into my family. I work as a full-time homemaker, self-employed business entrepreneur, and full-time student. College has been a long but fulfilling journey and adventure for me that started in 2005 at Jackson Community College. My achievements are: Associate Degree, National Writing Fellows Honor, Michigan Campus Compact Award, Braille Transcribing Scholarship for Literary and Nemeth Braille, Dean’s list, transfer scholarship, and Brehm Scholarship. Outside of work and school, I enjoy outdoor adventures with my husband and children, spending time with family and friends, crafting, dancing, singing, playing the piano, and gardening. My passion and inspiration are in music and helping others. I believe music can reach people everywhere and bring a message of hope to all. The pursuit of a degree in Teaching in the Special Education field is out of a desire to help and give hope to others regardless of disabilities. My other activities outside of work and school are working on projects to help others. The most current activity is crocheting 100 slippers by Christmas to donate to Mott’s children hospital. My life is my family, which God has blessed me with, and helping others in need regardless of circumstances.

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Claudia Rushlow

Claudia Rushlow

Claudia Rushlow

I am currently enrolled as a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University. I am employed by Wayne Westland Community Schools as a Business Education Shared Time Teacher. I also work part-time for the ARM Program which is a for-profit organization that contracts with various courts in Michigan and Illinois to perform psycho-educational programs for offenders of economic crime as well as individuals with alcohol and drug related offenses. I have extensive experience (13 years) working with at-risk youth and families residing in substance abusing homes for Henry Ford Health Systems Maplegrove Community Education. Outside of work and school, I enjoy spending time with my four children. They are a very active bunch and we have a lot of fun together. We also manage to squeeze in time volunteering in the community. Although I have taken a leave of absence from my duties as a board member on the Livonia Save Our Youth Task Force, my children and I have been active volunteers in the past. My children have also volunteered with me in HFHS Maplegrove Community Education Children’s Program since 2001 as well as St. Colette Summer Catechism Programs.

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