Author Archives: Logan McGrady

About Logan McGrady

Logan McGrady is the Communications Specialist for the College of Arts & Sciences at UM-Flint.

a group of students collecting fish from the Flint River

$100K goal for Endowed Opportunity Fund is in sight

Several years ago, the College of Arts and Sciences leadership set out to create an endowed fund with the explicit purpose of funding best practices for student growth, supporting projects that foster excellence in education, scholarly or creative activity, community engagement, and service.  Since the fund’s creation, numerous donors have given to the CAS Endowed Opportunity Fund and put the college within $9,000 of reaching the $100,000 goal. 

This fund is a flexible resource that enhances the student and faculty experience by providing funding not appropriated in other portions of the college’s budget. In the past year, funds like these have assisted dozens of students and faculty in conducting such things as:    

  • Phone interviews on health information
  • Research on fish populations impacted by the Hamilton Dam removal
  • Payment for students to have academic work submitted for publication
  • Assistance for students attending virtual conferences
  • Helping a student to develop prototype signage in a Flint neighborhood to improve community connections
  • Purchasing biological materials for use in lab research
  • And more!
A photo of Cam McLeman

Dr. Cameron McLeman is the incoming chair of the Department of Mathematics and Applied Sciences and the Chairperson of the CAS Student Support Committee charged with raising funds for the project. Dr. McLeman is excited about the progress and hopes the goal might be reached by the end of June. When asked about the fund, he said, “This year we made the fund a priority for Giving Blueday and the community responded. This progress represents the coming together of students, faculty, staff, and the community to dedicate funds to support our students’ academic experience at UM-Flint.  Closing the fiscal year by reaching our goal would show such a strong commitment to our faculty and students.”

At the College of Arts & Sciences, we pride ourselves on creating lifelong learners whose college experience outfits them with the skills necessary to succeed in their personal and professional lives.  The skills gained by involvement in the types of projects supported by the Opportunity Fund are critical to that effort. 

Please consider making a gift to the CAS Endowed Opportunity Fund!

two students sitting with their laptops smiling.

Five Resources for CAS Students in 2021-2022

Students in the College of Arts & Sciences at UM-Flint can expect so much more than just attending classes! We love seeing our students have amazing experiences outside of their normal class schedule, and we’re passionate about providing students with the resources to have those experiences.

Here are five opportunities CAS students can take advantage of in the 2021-2022 academic year.

1. Professional Academic Advisors

Psychology advisor Nicole Altheide advising a student

Every major in the College of Arts & Students has a dedicated professional advisor to help students create a personalized degree plan to fit their needs.

Meeting with your advisor helps to ensure that you graduate on-time, meet requirements for your degree, and gain the experiences needed for life after graduation. For example, advisors help students who are preparing for medical school to ensure they meet application requirements.

And don’t miss out on other academic supports like the Writing CenterTutoring, and Supplemental Instruction.

2. CAS Opportunity Fund

The CAS Opportunity Fund helped Art & Design students open a pop-up t-shirt shop.

The CAS Opportunity Fund helps to fund research projects, travel, professional development, and more for our faculty, staff, and students.

Recent projects funded with help from the CAS Opportunity Fund include archaeological field school in Massachusetts, a pop-up t-shirt shop in Flint, and a language immersion program in Cuernavaca, Mexico. We will let everyone know when the application period begins for the next round of Opportunity Funding!

3. Research with Professors

Sabrina Dougherty (left) and Dahlia Kassel (right) presented their research at the American Psychology-Law Society in New Orleans.

Your interaction with professors can be so much more than hearing lectures in class. Many students work directly with professors on research projects, allowing them to explore their interests further and build their resumes while still in school.

And with the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and Summer Undergraduate Research Experience Program, students can even get paid while gaining valuable research experience.

Biology students are studying the ecology of the Flint River with their professors, and two psychology students studied eyewitness testimony and presented their findings at a national conference.

4. Career Advising

Myesha Cannon is available for career advising for a year after graduation.

Myesha Cannon is the career advisor for students in the College of Arts & Sciences. She offers a number of workshops throughout the academic year, covering topics such as: interviewing, job offers, salary negotiations and online networking.

In addition to one-on-one and small group advising sessions, students also have access to industry resources like Handshake, an online job board that allows you to network with employers both locally and across the nation.

5. Minors and Certificates

The Department of Africana Studies offers both a minor and a certificate.

You’ll learn so much more in college than just your major, and there’s no better way to broaden your horizons than by adding a minor or certificate to your major field of study.

CAS offers six undergraduate certificate programs:

Africana Studies Certificate
Design Thinking & Practice Certificate
GIS & Geospatial Technology Certificate
Interaction Design Certificate
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Certificate
Women & Gender Studies Certificate

UM-Flint also offers close to 80 minors, so you’re sure to find something that both interests you and complements your major.

There are plenty of other resources to help you have a great 2021-2022, but this list should help you get started. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact CAS at

Dr. Kimberly Bender speaking in front of the class

Exploring Criminal Justice at UM-Flint!

CAS Student Ambassador April is a Communication Studies major exploring other fields of study offered by the College of Arts & Sciences. For this article, she sat down with Dr. Kimberly Bender to learn more about Criminal Justice.

This is Dr. Kimberly Bender’s fifth year as an assistant professor with UM-Flint’s Criminal Justice program. Her research focuses on corrections–individuals in jail or prison, or those out on parole.

There are three main areas of emphasis for criminal justice students at UM-Flint:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Courts
  • Corrections

After taking the required introductory courses, Dr. Bender explains that students can take additional elective courses relevant to their particular interest. For example, there are class offerings that offer a critical examination of gender, racial, and class implications of criminal laws and criminal justice practices (CRJ 433: Social Inequality and Crime).

After speaking with Dr. Bender, a great intro course to learn more about criminal justice (and the program itself) is CRJ 185: Introduction to the Criminal Justice System. This course gives you a great overview of the program and will help to debunk the myths surrounding crime, courts, and more. Any students interested in pursuing the program further can work towards a minor or a major in criminal justice!

Preparing for the Future

There are many different career options for students studying criminal justice. Some students take their education further by pursuing law school after gaining a valuable understanding of how the system works. Other students start work following graduation in careers working with juvenile facilities, a variety of city departments ( like Flint’s Department of Health and Human Services), or law enforcement positions such as a police or parole officer. With three different focuses, students can select coursework that best prepares them for future careers.

What I found most interesting about the criminal justice program was the real world experiences students can gain while earning their degrees. In Professor Bender’s corrections course, students take a trip to a prison to gain additional insights on what they learn in class. In a course focused on how minors interact with the criminal justice system, students get a similar experience by stepping into a juvenile detention facility. These out of class experiences bring a new level of understanding to what students learn in theory. There is also an optional internship course, allowing students to gain further real-world experiences and to build their resumes while earning course credit.

a physics classroom

Exploring Physics at UM-Flint!

CAS Student Ambassador April is a Communication Studies major exploring other fields of study offered by the College of Arts & Sciences. For this article, she sat down with Dr. James Alsup to learn more about the Physics program.

One of the first tasks of my day is pouring my morning coffee. It’s so routine I don’t even think twice about how it happens, let alone that physics plays a key role in getting the liquid boost to my ceramic cup every morning! We may not realize it, but physics is a part of our everyday lives. From the atoms that compose our genetic makeup, to the forces involved with moving cars, all the way to outer space, the art of physics plays a role in everything. 

Physics is much more than meets the eye, or the atom, or the universe!

I got the unique opportunity to have a discussion with Dr. James Alsup, an associate professor at UM-Flint who researches High Energy Theory, Quantum Mechanics, and Black Holes within the physics program. Having never taken a physics class myself (not even in high school) I had a lot to learn from Dr. Alsup.

Dr. James Alsup

Physics contains a wide range of different specializations, from particle physics (dealing with electrons and photons) to cosmology, the study of the universe. Somewhere in the middle there is Biological Physics; which deals with radiation and nuclear medicine, Electricity and Magnetism; this is where much of engineering comes to play, and classical physics; which dives into how and why objects move. I know what you’re thinking; this all sounds extremely fascinating! Where can I learn more?

A great course for students to learn all about everything physics has to offer is First Year Experience: Tales From The Dark Side. This class challenges its students to be curious about the world around us. Students get to see a lot of different kinds of physics and even get their feet wet with some experiments and calculations! If interested in pursuing a career in Physics, there are many possibilities from which to choose. It’s typical for Physics majors to continue their education in graduate school. From there, they can decide what specialization is most interesting to them. Most graduates will go on to conduct groundbreaking research through studies and experiments.

Students, Faculty, and the Physics Luncheon

One of my favorite aspects Dr. Alsup about the Physics program was how connected they were. Once a month, students and faculty from the department come and have a “Physics Lunch” together, where they discuss current research and all things physics! This luncheon really stood out to me as a clear example of how dedicated and passionate everyone in the department is about learning and growing together. No student has ever been turned away the opportunity to expand further on different aspects of research. Although there may not be a specific class for each physics specialization, the program ensures students will get a taste of each subcategory. Upon beginning their capstones, students get the opportunity to work closely with professors on their final projects. Students have access to advanced scientific equipment to use for their research efforts. They are granted complete access to pursue whichever field of physics they please in their capstones. Dr. Alsup recalled one of his favorite pieces of research conducted with his students on the study of black holes. They closely reviewed the forces involved around two black holes that are stuck next to each other. Dr. Alsup explained to me that their research was closely correlated with planet formation!

What you need to know about the Physics program

If you’re passionately curious about the world and the forces within it, physics might just be the major for you! At the University of Michigan-Flint, you will be exposed to three major branches within physics: theoretical, experimental, and computational. The study of theoretical physics is the use of mathematics to make scientific predictions. Experimental Physics takes those predictions and tests them in the lab. The study of computational physics, as Dr. Alsup puts it, is “sort of its own thing.” To put it simply, it’s a combination of computer science, physics, and mathematics to solve complex problems. I know you must be jumping out of your seat, eager to get started, but there are a few things to be aware of before being a physics major. It is apparent that as a student you have a commitment to yourself, along with your classmates and professors, to learn and grow as a physicist. The physics program is no walk in the park and requires individuals who love the field, and want to be challenged inside and outside the classroom. Dr. Alsup shared that, “Being a little nerdy goes a long way in Physics.”

Giving blueday graphic

A Student’s Perspective on Giving Blueday

CAS Student Ambassador Fernando Ramirez-Medina shares how he is getting involved with Giving Blueday, which takes place on March 10.

So what is Giving Blueday?

In essence, it’s a day that creates new opportunities for students. Supporters of UM-Flint will come together on March 10 by making contributions to initiatives and resources across the campus. Each fund may have slightly different goals or methods in how it supports students, but every gift ensures that UM-Flint remains a vibrant place to study and grow. March 10 will be a great day for us to come together to make great things happen for UM-Flint, as the university has set a big goal of raising $1 million during Giving Blueday this year!

The CAS Opportunity Fund

The focus of Giving Blueday for the College of Arts & Sciences is the CAS Endowed Opportunity Fund. The CAS Opportunity Fund has helped make amazing things possible for students, like archaeological digs in Ireland, language immersion programs in Mexico, and ecological studies of the Flint River. These are fantastic opportunities for students to test themselves and express some creativity while also learning and becoming further involved in their majors.

The Opportunity Fund helped Art students create a pop-up t-shirt shop in Flint. Here, recent graduate Stephanie Streeter applies vinyl decals for the “Change Machine,” the name of the shop.

Student Government

Thanks to my involvement with Student Government, I am responsible for spreading awareness of the Student Government Fund for Giving Blueday. While the money will be used differently by SG as compared to the CAS Opportunity Fund, the goal is the same. To positively impact students on our campus. Supporting Student Government in this initiative has been challenging, but I am excited to see the difference we will make thanks to these resources.

Student Government has remained very active throughout the pandemic – here we are holding a meeting via Zoom.

How to get involved

I urge everyone to make a gift on Giving Blueday (March 10), if they are able to do so. Even just a dollar can make the difference in a student’s experience and the opportunities they can take advantage of. With that being said, COVID-19 has taken its toll on all of us, even financially and emotionally. If you’re not in a position to donate this year, another great way to show your support is to spread the word! Post on social media, tell your friends, anyone who will listen. Your contribution, whether it be financial or otherwise, will be the difference-maker for students.

a screenshot of a zoom meeting with three students

[VIDEO] Students discuss a year of remote learning

Now that we are approaching a year of remote instruction at the University of Michigan-Flint, CAS Student Ambassadors April Bartle (Communication Studies) and Fernando Ramirez-Medina (Communication Studies, Political Science), sat down with Genevieve Heydt (Actuarial Mathematics) to discuss how a year of studying during COVID-19 has presented unique challenges and a few silver linings.

Watch a highlight of their conversation here:

Class formats

The group discussed synchronous vs. asynchronous formats. “Synchronous” means that the online takes place in real-time at a scheduled time. “Asynchronous” courses don’t have a scheduled meeting time; instead, pre-recorded lectures or discussion boards can be completed at a student’s convenience (within posted deadlines). The course format is listed when you are registering for classes.

Getting involved

Fernando mentioned that he has been able to get involved with more student organizations thanks to the ease of scheduling that comes with online events (not having to travel between locations can sometimes be a bonus!). To see opportunities for you to get involved with student organizations, visit the Department of Student Involvement & Leadership.

Burnout & Zoom fatigue

Genevieve pointed out that Zoom fatigue is real. Counseling and Psychological Services produced this video to help you navigate this common challenge. If you are experiencing feelings of isolation or other psychological stressors, CAPS offers no-cost counseling for UM-Flint students.

Academic support

As a student in the College of Arts & Sciences, you have a dedicated academic advisor to help you stay on the right track. Collaborating with your advisor is also important so you can graduate on-time and in the most cost-effective manner.

The Student Success Center offers tutoring and supplemental instruction, so you’re never far from support outside of the classroom.

Blue for You

UM-Flint’s Blue for You campaign highlights resources from across the university, from financial aid to childcare, that will help you succeed and earn your degree. There’s also a form that you can submit with questions – you can expect a prompt response when submitting your thoughts here.

Your success is our utmost concern. If you’re ever not sure where to turn, send us an email at and we will find the answers you need.

Exploring UM-Flint’s GIS Certificate

CAS Student Ambassador April Bartle is exploring the different academic programs offered by the College of Arts & Sciences. Read what April learned about the GIS Certificate in this article.

When I think of the term “map-maker”, the olden days come to mind, when maps were created by quill pens and ink. Maps are an immensely valuable tool that can help scientists find solutions to problems based on spatial data. I had the opportunity to speak with Professor Greg Rybarczyk, Associate Professor of Geography, who talked me through UM-Flint’s Geographic Information Systems Certificate Program.

What is it?

Since 2010, Professor Greg Rybarczyk has been passionate about teaching students the value of maps at UM-Flint. He’s in charge of making the GIS certification curriculum the best it can be for students. GIS stands for geographic information systems, which is essentially using maps to convey data, and then furthermore using that data to solve or understand a problem. It may seem simple by nature, but like every iceberg, much more lies beneath than it appears. Students will learn to be critical thinkers through their use of managing data, manipulating data, and displaying that data on a map. They will be trained in using computer software to aid the visuals and process the information gathered for a cartographic product. By having knowledge of information as it applies to an area, predictions can be made to solve tomorrow’s problems. As Professor Rybarczyk likes to put it, the GIS field is the pursuit of the “whys of the where”.

Basic structure of the program

For those of you itching to get a feel for the field, the course GIS 203, entitled “Mapping and Spatial Data Science” is an excellent first look at geographic information systems. Students get a broad overview of the program, including how to design a map, the ethics of spatial data, and get hands-on using geographic software. If a student is interested in continuing with the program, only four more courses are needed to complete the certification. Students in the program can choose their final course from a variety of seven subject area topics. A popular class among students is the GIS Project Management course. Throughout the semester, students use real-world data to construct a map using geographic software and present their project’s findings. At the end of the course, students will have obtained experience through a GIS project and have pieces to add to their portfolios. Learn more about the GIS certificate here.

Career Possibilities

Careers in GIS geospatial technology are on the rise. Being able to understand and display data for others to utilize is an extremely valuable tool. Stop for a minute and think about those big-name shipping companies. Data is being stored, reporting where levels of delivery are high, and where they are low. Converting that data onto a map can be used to target patterns in areas where delivery levels are lower. More data can be obtained in those areas to determine how to better market and increase delivery usage for that specific region. GIS also makes an appearance in environmental sciences. Viewing levels of temperature changes on a map can help scientists easily compare where more CO2 is being released into the air. Scientists can further use this knowledge to compare what other factors based on geographical features play a role in high temperatures.

You’re invited: UM-Flint’s Murchie Science Building Expansion Grand Opening

The 61,000 sq. ft. Expansion to the University of Michigan-Flint’s Murchie Science Building will transform the future of STEM education in Michigan, thanks to greatly expanded laboratories, state-of-the-art equipment, and a design philosophy that abandons convention in favor of student-centered spaces that encourage collaboration and innovation.

We invite you to join the historic grand opening of this pioneering campus building. You can view the event online on January 28 at 3:30 p.m.

Watch at 3:30: MSB Expansion Grand Opening

By attending this event you’ll be the first to receive a video tour of the Expansion’s interior, showcasing the labs, classrooms, collaboration spaces, and equipment that the next generation of thinkers and builders will use to develop their skills. In addition, the ceremony will also include keynote remarks from several campus and community leaders.

We cannot wait for you to see the amazing opportunities this building will provide for UM-Flint students and the community. See you online soon!

A photo of a UM-Flint banner outside of the Murchie Science Building

8 resources for UM-Flint CAS students in Winter 2021

CAS Student Ambassador Fernando Ramirez-Medina shares the top 8 resources he thinks UM-Flint College of Arts & Sciences students should take advantage of in the Winter 2021 semester. To ask Fernando a question, email and include “Student Ambassador Question” in the subject line.

8. Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)

Whether it be help with battling Zoom fatigue or counseling to address other mental health concerns, The CAPS office provides services to enrolled students that help to maximize their academic and personal potential. The office offers free screenings, referrals, and crisis services to all enrolled students at UM-Flint. As someone who has used their services, I will say it’s a great resource for a stressful semester. 

7. Marian E. Wright Writing Center

For when you’re struggling to get started on your paper, or when you just want another set of eyes to help you spot errors, The Writing Center is a great resource with great writing tutors! These dedicated tutors help you come up with ideas, offer constructive feedback and help fix the little grammar mistakes we all have from time-to-time.

6. Center for Gender & Sexuality (CGS)

The Center for Gender & Sexuality not only offers education and programs like bystander intervention to the UM-Flint community, but they also offer Critical Difference Grants, which are “one-time financial awards for returning students who find themselves in an emergency financial situation that imperils their ability to remain enrolled at the UM-Flint.” Follow the link to determine eligibility for the CGS Emergency Funding Grant, CGS Women+ Critical Difference Grant, and the Mary Jo Sekelsky LGBTQ+ Grant.

5. Student Organizations are still active

Student orgs are still up and active! I encourage everyone to join an organization to get even just a little bit of human interaction that I, even as an introvert, am really craving during the pandemic. Moreover, organizations like Student Government can help get issues that students have to the right people to hopefully fix them! The Student Government’s most recent push for students was advocating for the Pass/Fail Grading modification that recently was enacted!

4. Career Advisor Myesha Cannon

University of Michigan-Flint students and campus stock photos on October 28, 2020.

It is truly never to early (or too late) to start planning and preparing for your career. From general advice to your industry-specific plan, CAS Career Advisor Myesha Cannon is here to help. There are 14 career advising events scheduled this semester. These events range from an Introduction to Handshake, UM-Flint’s career search portal, to resume and cover letter design. Check out the full list here.

3. Emergency Laptop Loan Program

With the pandemic impacting everyone differently, the university wanted to make sure every student in the UM-Flint community had access to technology in order to continue advancing their education. This program loans registered students a laptop for up to one semester, so if you or a student you know needs a computer, spread the word!

2. Tutoring/Supplemental Instruction

UM-Flint offers two modes of additional instruction outside of the classroom: Individual tutoring and supplemental instruction. Supplemental Instruction are weekly review sessions with other students that make that class just a little easier! If groups aren’t your thing, you can also receive one-on-one instruction. Explore more with the Student Success Center.

1. Your Academic Advisor

Your CAS academic advisor is perhaps the best resource on campus to ensure you graduate on time. Believe me, I’ve met a lot with my advisor to make sure I’m on target. Moreover, it is especially important to meet with your advisor if you are considering Pass/Fail for the Winter 2021 semester to see how it can impact your degree and if it is a good idea for you to do so. So meet with your advisor! Even if you’ve already decided which classes are right for you, it’s always smart to get a second opinion. Set an appointment with your advisor here.

UN logo

UM-Flint Model UN: From an idea to conference award winner

CAS Student Ambassador Fernando Ramirez-Medina is a co-founder of UM-Flint’s Model UN team. In this blog post he explains the process of creating a student organization and leading it to a conference award.


Creating an organization is a massive burden anytime, but to do so and maintain it during a global pandemic is a task Donald Weismiller (Political Science major) and I did not expect. Student interest led us to creating the team. Don and I attended an admitted student event representing Student Government and many students asked us if there was a Model UN team. Since Don and I are both Political Science students, interested in global politics, we jumped on the opportunity to give students a space to nerd out on global affairs.

Building During Covid

We had big ideas of hosting recruitment tables and posting flyers all over campus . We even had picked out a room for meeting in the Fall – then COVID hit. In the beginning, we both kept saying that, when this all is over, we can continue on our plans. When late July hit, reality was set in and honestly we were ready to give up. We had done some light advertising, but barely anyone had responded and our goal seemed unreachable. Don saved the organization. In August he did some major recruiting, and faster than I could expect we had our team formed.

Preparing for the Conference

a cartoon of a web conference

With the team assembled, we had to work fast to prepare for our first event at the Lake Erie International Model U.N. Conference in November. It was tough trying to do this over Zoom, and to be honest team bonding wasn’t as strong as I would have liked. We were just hoping to give everyone experience and get ready for our next conference in the winter. As the weeks went by and we started to gain skills, I began to feel cautiously optimistic. It was all hard work. We had to learn how to draft resolutions, learn parliamentary procedure, and learn the history and position of our country in 2 months on top of our normal academic responsibilities. With our countries assigned, our team ended up representing Great Britain, China, Indonesia, and Niger.

The Conference Aftermath

head shot of Donald in Dallas Cowboys gear.
Donald Weismiller

Throughout the conference, everyone who attended felt good about their performances, but we didn’t expect anything. To our great surprise, we received a small school award at our first-ever conference!

We realized our goal even more fully than we expected. This accomplishment is especially meaningful for Don, who is trying to leave a mark in his final year at school.

‘It’s a great achievement for something I wasn’t sure was going to make it far. The Small School Award was an extra reward for the hard work put into organizing this organization,” Donald said.

With the Small School Award under our belt, it lit a fire under us and now this organization is ready for more conferences and more accomplishments. 

Interested in getting involved with the Model UN Team? Contact Fernando at