How the CAS Opportunity Fund helps students

Would you like to help a UM-Flint Anthropology student attend archaeology field school? What about assisting a Physics major with a research project? Or maybe you would like to help a student attend a language immersion program to help them gain skills in conversational Spanish?

You can make a difference in a student’s education by contributing to the CAS Opportunity Fund. Small gifts to the Opportunity Fund empower students in the College of Arts & Sciences to take part in transformational projects as part of their studies. These unique experiences make an immeasurable impact for students as they prepare for the next steps after graduation. The CAS Opportunity Fund helps students gain research experience, network in their industry, build new skills, and much more.

Read on to see four examples of the CAS Opportunity Fund in Action.

Studying the Flint River

Led by Associate Professor Heather Dawson, a team of undergraduate students is studying the biology of the Flint River. With the removal of the Hamilton Dam, students and faculty have teamed up to study how the Flint River ecosystem is changing. CAS Opportunity Fund dollars were used to purchase a sonar device to track how the morphology of the river is impacted by the dam removal.

“I am getting the experience I need for graduate school. I’m also learning from Dr. Dawson how to approach my goals for that next step [in my career],” Daniel Victor, (Wildlife Biology ’20) says. “It’s about learning as much as you can from an experienced and capable mentor, plus I get to work outside and fish. What’s better than that?”

Archaeological Dig in Cape Cod

For students like Genevieve Rainey (’21), studying Anthropology creates many possibilities for a future career. The hard part is finding the right specialization in such a broad field.

Genevieve received assistance from the CAS Opportunity Fund to attend archaeological field school in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She worked to excavate the Doane Family Homestead, a family of original settlers who separated from Plymouth Colony in 1644.

“Taking part in an archaeological field school was a great experience; it helped me to decide the particular field of archaeology I want to pursue, gave me hands-on training, and allowed me to meet some amazing new friends,” Rainey says.

Pop-up T-Shirt Shop in Flint

Art & Design students get ample opportunities to turn theory into practice with the community mindset embraced by the program. One recent example is “The Change Machine,” a pop-up t-shirt shop that was on display during a spring celebration on Flint’s Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

To help bring their talents to the community, students were awarded a CAS Opportunity Fund grant, which provided funds for supplies like blank t-shirts, silk screens for printing, and vinyl for signage.

“It is easy in design classes to make things that don’t actually impact anyone and just get a grade. This class is great because you get to see the results of your work in the community,” Stephanie Streeter (Art & Design ’20) says.

Internship with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival

Quill Neuville, (Theatre Design and Technology ’18), spent a summer as an assistant in the costume shop of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. While there, Neuville was part of a team that completed costumes for five shows in just nine weeks. It was an intense experience that took all of Neuville’s creative stamina – invaluable preparation for a career in professional theatre.

“I feel very grateful that I was afforded such an opportunity. It makes me want to work even harder to live up to the incredible gift I was given, in order to show that the faith put in me by my professors and CAS was not misplaced,” Neuville says.

The CAS Opportunity Fund helped defray travel costs for Neuville, just as it has helped dozens of other students across the College take ownership of their education and achieve things they didn’t previously believe possible. To help create more stories like those shared above, give to the CAS Opportunity Fund at:!/give/basket/fund/362928.