The College of Health and Human Services congratulates all our outstanding students. The recipients of this honor have excelled academically, as well as through service to their program, the university, and to their communities. In many cases, their academic achievements are coupled with raising families, volunteering, working, and overcoming personal challenges.
As you read the biography of each remarkable student, keep in mind that this is just a snapshot of their accomplishments. Many have or will make a lasting impact on their chosen profession. They have emerged as leaders within their programs, mentors to their fellow students, and valuable contributors to the College of Health and Human Services and Eastern Michigan University.
Kasey Baker - Health Administration
Kasey Baker is a leader and when she graduates, she will leave her fingerprints all over the health administration program, the EMU campus, and the greater Southeast metro area community. An Honors College student since her freshman year, Kasey was recognized with an Undergraduate Research Stimulus Award for her research on U.S. infant mortality rates and related health policy trends. She will present her work at the upcoming Undergraduate Research Symposium. In 2020, Kasey participated in an exclusive leadership webinar as part of the Automotive News Leading Women Conference and was highlighted in the Honors College Student Spotlight. Whether it is serving as a Heelys Campus Representative, distributing meals as a homeless shelter volunteer in Detroit, or demonstrating her athleticism with the EMU Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu clubs, Kasey Baker is a positive force for good wherever she goes.
Luke Baker - Master of Occupational Therapy
Luke is a second-year graduate student. Prior to starting at EMU, he received his B.S. in Behavioral and Biological Sciences at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He has been an active student leader in the MOT program as a member of the Student Occupational Therapy Association, a member of the planning committee for the Lyla M. Spelbring Conference, and member of EMU’s chapter of Phi Theta Epsilon occupation therapy honor society. Luke is the graduate teaching assistant for a course taught to first year students in the MOT program. He looks forward to his career as an OT practitioner. He also looks forward to being a professor in an occupational therapy program.
Rachel Blonde - Combined Athletic Training Program
Rachel is a first-year student in the Combined Athletic Training Program. She was elected as the Secretary of the Athletic Training Student Organization (ATSO), where she demonstrated her leadership skills. During the past year, she worked alongside many talented certified athletic trainers to advance her clinical skills. Rachel balances her studies with several part-time jobs and strives to be an example of how hard work and commitment can result in accomplishing your goals. Rachel approaches all that she does with enthusiasm and is dedicated to helping her patients work through both their physical and mental challenges.
Clare Byrne - Orthotics and Prosthetics
Clare is an exceptional example of what a healthcare provider should exude. She is compassionate, energetic, intelligent, thoughtful, and always willing to go above and beyond. She has excelled both in and out of the classroom and has been a reliable source of support for classmates and faculty. She will continue to excel as she moves forward into her residency.
Alexis Chevalier - M.S. in Sport Management
Alexis Chevalier is more than an outstanding Sport Management graduate student. Not only does she excel in the classroom, but her work as an Athletic Media Relations graduate assistant earned her a placement in the prestigious NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar. Her graduate assistant work includes the implementation of NCAA LiveStats for EMU soccer and volleyball teams, growing the EMU soccer Twitter and Instagram accounts by over 16%, and creating media guides and game notes for a minimum of four teams per year.
Megan Curtis - Doctor of Nursing Practice
Megan is one of the inaugural DNP students at EMU. She has spent her entire nurse practitioner career specializing in Neurosurgery-Spine, working first at Detroit Medical Center, and for that last eleven years at Michigan Medicine in the ambulatory Neurosurgery clinic. She is also an adjunct faculty member for the University of Michigan School of Nursing, where she enjoys precepting nurse practitioner students. She is a member of the Midwest Nursing Research Society and has recently presented a poster at their national conference. Education is Megan’s passion, and it is no surprise that her DNP project is focused on evaluating a preoperative education program for patients undergoing lumbar fusion surgery. This project is underway and has already received grant funding. In the future, as a DNP, Megan would like to transition to academia and start formally teaching nursing students.
Kenli Dachenhaus - Therapeutic Recreation
Since entering the Therapeutic Recreation program, Kenli has maintained an exceptional GPA resulting in Dean’s List recognition for each semester of the program. She demonstrated outstanding leadership skills having served as the program’s student organization President and has demonstrated a diverse array of volunteer and work experiences volunteering at the Lutheran Home nursing facility in Napoleon, OH, and Sarah’s Garden in Wauseon, OH providing interventions for people on the autism spectrum. In addition, Kenli has acquired an impressive list of practicum experiences: providing mental health services through Promedica Regional Hospital in Defiance, OH, community- based therapeutic recreation services through F.L.O.W. of Fort Wayne, IN, and Physical rehabilitation services through the Quadco Rehabilitation Center in Stryker, OH. Currently, Kenli is participating in her 600-hour internship at the Regency at Whitmore Lake, serving long-term care residents.
Nicole DeBrincat - Master of Public Health Education
Nicole was selected as this year’s Graduate Student of the Year due to her extraordinary achievements in the classroom and her personal and professional commitment to Public Health Education. Nicole initially came to the MPH program to open up career advancement opportunities at her corporate job. In 2020, however, Nicole parted ways with her 22-year career as an instructional designer to purse other personal opportunities and professional goals as a health educator. A personal experience at home ignited a passion that not only became a running theme throughout her master’s degree program, but also inspired the design, development, and piloting of the Recovery Ally Workshop (RAW) at EMU. RAW closes the knowledge gap about Substance Use Disorder amongst young adults and cultivates a culture of allies in support of other young adults living in recovery. In her spare time, after learning of healthy weight management as a protective factor against contracting/dying from COVID-19, Nicole lost 50 lbs. and now coaches others in their weight management journeys, both individually and as part of a greater online community. Nicole excelled academically and demonstrated strong leadership skills in the classroom all while balancing school, career, and family.
Chelsea Goodes - Clinical Lab Sciences
Chelsea has been an exceptional student in the Clinical Lab Sciences’ program. She maintained a 3.95 GPA and will graduate Summa Cum Laude.
She balanced work and family, and still maintained excellent attendance and engagement in class activities. She contributed to class discussions by delving deeper into course content with relevant questions and additions. She exhibited leadership qualities with the lab setting by helping others.
Raihannah Hall - Public Health Community Health Education
Raihannah exemplifies involvement with community and is the Public Health Community Health Education student of the year. She has been a residence hall advisor for 3 years and served on the RA advisory board. In that role, she facilitated programs that focused on the health and wellness of students. Raihannah held a leadership role in the Public Health Education honor society, Eta Sigma Gamma. She is on the Dean’s list and maintains a GPA of 3.6. Raihannah is a volunteer with the Peer Health Exchange mentoring high school students on public health topics. She was an EMU pen pal with local elementary students, and she also participated yearly in social justice oriented Alternative Spring Break projects addressing environmental health issues. She is currently an intern at the Corner Health Center working on client public health education outreach. Raihannah hopes to continue to graduate school and work in the non-profit sector.
Greg Halloran - Sport Management
Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, a big sports city, Greg’s love for both competition and sport blossomed. He will graduate from Eastern with a Bachelors of Science with a double major in Sport Management and Marketing. He is actively serving in the United States Marine Corps and holds the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. Upon graduation from Eastern, he will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, and continue his career in the military for an additional ten years before retiring from the Marines. Along the way, he intends to pursue his Master’s degrees in both Sport Management and Marketing. After retirement, his goals are to work side-by-side training professional athletes, and/or working in the sport marketing field.
Carlos Sanches Juan - Exercise Physiology
Carlos was an international student-athlete from Spain competing in long jump for EMU during his graduate studies. He has been a track and field athlete for 10 years, competing in several international meets and World Championships with his home country. His academic goals have been in the areas of health and sport. He first studied Physical Therapy in Spain and then completed a Masters in Exercise Physiology at EMU. While serving as a physical therapist and soccer coach in Spain, he also completed his undergraduate project assessing different bandages to palliate the pain of medial tibia stress syndrome which was awarded as the most creative project of the year. He currently works in a physical therapy health clinic in the sports injury section of his hometown. Carlos is looking to pursue a Ph.D. in Applied Physiology, focusing on performance in Spain.
Lauren Kline - Aging Studies
Lauren is a Social Work major with a double minor in Health Administration and Aging Studies. After receiving her BSW and MSW she would like to focus her career on older adults and being an advocate for their quality of care.
When not working or studying, she enjoys watching Netflix, reading true crime mysteries, playing with her cats, and face timing with her family.
Julie Long - Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
Julie is a graduate student in the Master’s in Nursing: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program. She currently works at Beaumont Hospital as a Neurosurgery operating room nurse. She will graduate in December, and currently has a 3.9 GPA. Julie serves as a student mentor of the Master’s Program Admissions and Curriculum Committee, and secretary of the Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners EMU chapter. She also serves as a mentor for first-year graduate students and has a passion for helping others succeed.
Kameron MacIver - Exercise Science
Kameron has excelled in and out of the classroom during his time at EMU. He completed his exercise science major and all the pre-admission courses for physical therapy with a 3.89 GPA. While doing so, Kameron contributed to research in Dr. Catherine Gammon’s lab on student physical activity levels before and during COVID. He has been very involved in the data analysis for this project and presented the findings at the EMU Undergraduate Symposium in March. In addition to his scholarly achievements, Kameron managed to find time for a long list of community service activities, which include playing movies for children at the Alpha House, making toys for dogs at the Huron Valley Humane Society, and collecting canned food and monetary donations for local families in need. Kameron’s impressive achievements are the reason why he was accepted into the Wayne State University Doctorate of Physical Therapy program.
Vanessa Marr - Master's in Social Work
Vanessa has been an integral part of the organization of the Bachelor of Social Work program as the BSW graduate assistant. She has an outstanding academic record and is highly respected across the social work program as a person who embraces the National Association of Social Work code of ethics and fearlessly challenges the status quo for what is ethically and morally right. Vanessa has been an asset to the social work program, stepping in whenever needed. She is admired among the students and faculty and will be an excellent clinical social worker after graduation.
Ashley Miks - M.S. in Dietetics
Ashley earned a B.S. degree from EMU in Exercise Science and originally thought she wanted to pursue physical therapy. Ashely wanted to learn more about nutrition, so she changed course and pursued an M.S. in Dietetics from EMU. Her current interests are sports nutrition, clinical nutrition, and work with those with eating disorders. Her dream job is to become a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics and work with athletes. However, she would also love to work with active individuals who want help with their nutrition. After getting some experience under her belt, she could see herself becoming a preceptor.
John Morris - Accelerated BSN Program
John began his journey toward becoming a nurse after earning his B.S. in Health Administration from EMU in 2018. During his time in the accelerated program, he has worked full-time at Mott Children’s Hospital as a Patient Care Technician obtaining valuable experience and cultivating his passion for the field of pediatrics. John stands out for his academic achievement in the program and his overall persistence. His passion for advocating for adolescents with special needs and working in pediatrics is further evidenced by his time volunteering with the Special Olympics foundation. After graduation, John will obtain his Registered Nurse credential and seek a position in pediatrics at Mott Children’s Hospital. His career goals include going to graduate school to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership, as well as acquiring his Nurse Manager and Leader Certificate.
Athena Michelle Prine - Clinical Research Administration
Michelle joined the Master of Science in Clinical Research Administration program in 2019 and will graduate in April 2021. She is an excellent student and maintains a 4.0 GPA. Her M.S. Thesis study was impressive and is titled “A Comparative Meta-Analysis of FDA Medical Device Recalls Reviewed by the Premarket Notification (510 (k)) and Premarket Approval Regulatory Pathways. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is employed as a Clinical Subjects Associate at the University of Michigan in the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics and Imaging Laboratory. Her area of research there has been with breast cancer patients. After graduation, Michelle plans to gain experience working for a medical device company and apply to a Biomechanics Ph.D. program.
Roehl Publico - Sport Management
Roehl Pulico is from Ann Arbor, MI. His love of basketball led him to choose Sport Management as his major. He will graduate this spring from the program, and with a minor in Management. During his time with the Sport Management program, Roehl interned for two years as a student manager for the EMU women’s basketball team. This experience helped to cement his decision to pursue a career in basketball operations at either the collegiate or professional level.
Lynn Schodowski - RN to BSN
Lynn works as a nurse in an Internal Medicine office for Henry Ford Health System. She feels fortunate to work closely with physicians and patients coordinating care to improve patient’s health. Once she completed her ADN at Macomb Community College, she worked part-time at St. John Macomb Hospital on an orthopedic med/surg floor. She later worked full-time in a private oncology office for eight years where she not only administered chemotherapy but worked one-on-one with patients to help them during their battle with cancer. Lynn then worked in a float pool at outpatient Henry Ford facilities where she could use all of her experience in other areas of medicine: urology, cardiac surgery, and internal medicine. Internal medicine was a good fit for Lynn, so she accepted a permanent position at a Henry Ford facility near her home. Even though she is in the latter part of her career, the sense of accomplishment and doors that it will open with the completion of her BSN makes it worth all the hard work.
Kate W. Spurgin - B.S. in Dietetics
After a ten-year career in communications, Kate has been thrilled to follow her fascination with nutrition and dream of being a Registered Dietitian through EMU’s distance program. Kate embraces the challenges and learning opportunities offered by her classes and dietetics rotations, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She has volunteered extensively in her Portland, Oregon community, most notably with Oregon Food Bank’s Nutrition Education Program since 2014. As a cancer survivor, Kate plans to specialize in oncology nutrition after graduating and becoming a RDN later this year.
Jonathon (Jon) Twork - Master of Health Administration
Jon is the graduate student every program wants to enroll. Not only has he performed exceptionally in the classroom, Jon has been a valuable student leader and was directly responsible for the program’s contributions and achievements with the state professional community. As a representative on the Midwest Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives (MCACHE) Student Activities Committee, Jon was instrumental in planning multiple student professional development and networking events. He served countless volunteer hours with local organizations supporting disadvantaged students and patients in addiction/recovery programs. Jon was an active mentor for many grad student peers and led the MHA graduate team in two Midwest student case competitions. Results: 2nd place in 2018; and champions in 2019! Jon will be sorely missed in our department, but we are excited for what his future holds.
Emma Vega - Bachelor's in Social Work
Emma feels very lucky to have started attending EMU as an Early College Alliance student in 2016, and graduate in 2021 with this award. Her long-term goal is to become a school social worker because she has an immense passion for working with children. Emma’s learned so many essential skills at EMU, and through her internship at UNIFIED HIV Health and Beyond. She’d like to thank Dr. Ann Rall and Dr. Caren Putzu for nominating her for this award.
Claire Young - M.S. in Athletic Training
Claire graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science in April 2020. In her first year as an Athletic Training student, she has worked with EMU’s football team, as well as Concordia University’s women’s basketball and soccer teams. During this time, she has worked on connecting with the athletes who do not start or are not the most popular. Claire has learned a lot about mental health from her preceptors and professors. She hopes to make this issue a focus when she becomes an athletic trainer. Her goal after graduation is to land a job as a Division 1 collegiate athletic trainer and change the lives of her athletes like her own athletic trainers did for her.
Charles (Al) Zeiher - M.S. in Human Nutrition
Al was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 19 years. Ever since then, he has been trying to discover how food can help his condition. He pursued the M.S. in Human Nutrition to better support his fellow IBD Warriors and students that he works with at Saline High School. Al is currently in his sixth year of teaching, and his fourth year at Saline High School. He teaches a variety of courses which include, Human Physiology, Anatomy & Physiology, Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science courses, Chemistry, and Biology. He is also in his third year as the Head Varsity Baseball Coach. Proper nutrition is a big part of this program. Al thanks all EMU faculty who have supported him throughout this journey. Go Eagles!
We wish these students well in their future endeavors, and thank them for trusting the College of Health & Human Services with their education. If you'd like to help future EMU students succeed, please consider donating to the CHHS here.