Danielle Balaghi doesn’t back away from a challenge.
She faces it head on.
“I challenge the way people think, both academically and personally, and push their own boundaries and expectations to new heights,” said Danielle, a University of Michigan-Dearborn student. “I think if you are sincere, raw, and real in your intentions, people will respect and listen to what you have to say.”
That mindset is one reason why she earned the title of “Difference Maker.”
“I want to motivate people to not be afraid of being who they are, even if it doesn’t fit some mold or expectation that others have for them,” she said.
Her passion for motivating others will pay off, as she hopes to someday work in higher education as a psychology professor.
“I really think teaching and education is essential for our future, and being able to help others achieve educational success is meaningful to me,” she said. “If I can make students passionate about learning and get them to think critically about the environment around them, then I have reached my goal.”
Danielle also has a philanthropic side. As president of UM-Dearborn’s Poetry Arts Movement, she’s worked with Amnesty International to promote human rights through applied arts.
“I love poetry, but never dreamed of performing, so when I was on the stage, performing words that I wrote, I felt like I found a part of me I didn’t even know existed,” she said. “I fell in love with being able to send a message to the audience in a poetic way, and watching them react to it.”
And with a busy lifestyle, Danielle still manages to lead with optimism.
“Despite the fact that Danielle is incredibly active in both academics and extracurricular activities, she always finds time to enjoy the company of others,” said Robert Hymes, associate professor of psychology.