Updated: Apr 29
Hanan Almathil, Staff Writer
Photo of Alumni, Rachel Leonard, in yellow UM-Dearborn t-shirt. Photo// UM-Dearborn Facebook
First generation student and current alumni, Rachel Leonard, is the current advisor of the Student Support Service Program at the Office of TRIO Programs on campus. Starting off as a communications student, Leonard paved her way to becoming an alumna and a staff member at UM-Dearborn to help students with similar struggles she faced during college.
The Office of TRIO Programs helps to provide support services to low-income students, first-generation college students, students who are registered with disability services, displaced students, and other students who may have a high risk of academic failure.
From helping students with classes, financial resources, and their next steps after college, she also partakes in workshops and data analysis to assist in better supporting students.
Leonard is still a very involved member on campus and alongside student organizations.
Alongside her membership with the Alumni Society Board and Chair of the Graduates of the Last Decade Alumni Affiliate, she partners with Talent Gateway, Office of Student Life, Alumni Engagement, and other student organizations to consistently aid students during their college years.
In addition to her exceptional role in helping students, Leonard runs her own photography business: Rachel Leonard Photography. She started her business when she was just a student.
Leonard describes being an alumna as "one of the greatest accomplishments that I’ve had in life.” Being an alumna has taught her many different lessons from management and communication to how to develop her passion and future career.
Yet, the biggest life lesson Leonard learned and would advise to others is: "connections are key.” Working behind the scenes at the Alumni Engagement Office as a student employee has shown her how often connections come from different conversations.
If you are interested in reaching out to alumni, go to the Wolverine Mentor Collective on campus where they can pair you with alumni mentors.