Stephanie Salvadero knew she wanted to make a difference someday, but her initial plan was to do so after graduation.
The University of Michigan-Dearborn senior’s plan quickly changed after she joined the campus’ Blueprints Leadership Program.
“(That) had a huge impact on me that has helped make me the student and young woman I am today,” Stephanie said. “I acquired valuable interpersonal and teamwork skills that serve me today academically, personally and professionally.”
Blueprints encouraged Stephanie to pursue her passions and led to her volunteer work with local nonprofit Mercy Education Project (MEP), which provides educational and professional programming to low-income, at-risk girls and women in southeast Detroit.
Stephanie’s work inside and outside the classroom earned her the title of “Difference Maker.”
“I believe I am a Difference Maker because I am very focused on giving back to the community, enjoy helping others and am passionate about addressing social issues,” she said. “I love the City of Detroit and do what I can to participate in my community and help make a difference through volunteer service, both on my own time and through opportunities presented by UM-Dearborn.”
Through Blueprints, Stephanie created VisionEDetroit, a program supported by UM-Dearborn’s Women’s Resource Center and Community Involvement and Volunteerism Center that builds sustainable relationships between the university and MEP. She also remains active in the university’s Women in Learning and Leadership Program (WILL), where she organizes campus events and raises awareness about women’s and men’s issues.
“My focus on giving back to others stems from my gratitude for the opportunities I have had, my own struggles and challenges in life that forged me into the young woman I am today and my compassion for others,” she said.
Amy Karaban has recognized Stephanie’s growth over the past couple years, which inspired the assistant director of student engagement to nominate her as a “Difference Maker.”
“In Stephanie’s nearly two years at UM-Dearborn, she has grown from a cautious, tentative leader to a major force for positive social change,” Karaban said. “When I think about the work she’s done to make our region better, I am filled with pride to know that she’s one of ours.”