Danielle Smith - Franke Global Leadership Initiative

Photo of Danielle Smith at the Celebrate Academics Luncheon on March 18, 2015
People in this photo listed in order from the left: Paul Gordon Lauren, Regents Professor Emeritus and Distinguished Mansfield Fellow, Liz Putnam, Interim Dean of the Davidson Honors College, Maggie Linder, Staff Senate President, Danielle Smith, Franke GLI Student
Celebrate Academics was a phenomenal opportunity. I was able to meet people from various worlds within the university, from professors to administrators, alumni to current ASUM politicians, all with the same mindset to promote and celebrate academics. It was incredible to be validated as a scholar. Coming to the end of my four-year undergraduate journey, I often feel underwhelmed and under-appreciated. After all, Google searches of UM render articles about athletes, not English majors. However, Celebrate Academics and the wonderful people behind it reaffirmed to me that UM is truly an academic institution with pride in globally minded scholars. I spent my junior year abroad, and upon my return I learned that going abroad is not something people are interested in talking about. At Celebrate Academics, I was placed at a table with not only a prominent professor of international relations but also the foreign student and scholar services’ program coordinator; I have never met people more interested in my year abroad! Aside from self-affirmation, Celebrate Academics was also a wonderful opportunity for communication across boundaries. It is not often that professors, students, administrators, and heads of various departments sit at the same table as equals, sharing ideas. I am certain that everyone walked away having heard a new perspective: in the end, isn’t that the main goal of any academic institution?