Scholar Class of 2021-2022
Information Systems, Scholar Class of 2021-2022
Information Systems, Scholar Class of 2021-2022
"Joining CMU has been the most impactful and transformative experience of my life. Not only did I find an improved sense of discipline, communication, and organization in my four years here, but also met the kindest, most generous people I've had the pleasure of calling my friends. The community I've engaged in at CMU has shaped me into the person I am today in more ways than I can express my gratitude for, and I will always dearly cherish my time here. I can't wait to experience more of this and continue learning during my fifth year!"
Originally from Pakistan, Mariyam was raised in Qatar. She studied at the same school for 14 years, after which joining CMU - a very different, diverse, and open environment - initially came as quite a shock. Mariyam came to adore the freedom that came with studying at CMU in courses and extracurriculars, and eventually got involved in the community which was the best decision she could've made. She participated in several service and academic trips, all that left marks on her that she will carry forever. It also opened her up to meeting new people, understanding different perspectives, and left her wanting to have more of an impact on and engagement with the community. This inspired Mariyam to apply for the Fifth Year Scholar program. In her fifth year, she hopes to work on a project that aims to support departments across both Qatar and Pittsburgh campuses in prioritizing student learning with a focus on active communication between faculty and students.
kai ell denazen
Student Defined Major, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Scholar Class of 2021-2022
“Through TINA, I’ve strived to both support and advocate for an ever-growing community of students, staff, and faculty that have been underrepresented and underserved by outdated university systems. Through daring leadership, brave conversation, and vulnerable vertical communication, I know that CMU can develop truly phenomenal work.”
An undergraduate student, kai (they.them) is pursuing a student defined major in Mediated Storytelling through Performance and Technology. Their academic journey at CMU has been winding, vibrant, confusing, and often terrifying. Yet, they relish each experience and have fallen in love with crafting category-defying identities from the scraps of the ‘boxes’ they’ve broken out of. Outside of the classroom, kai has been relentless in their pursuit of connection and justice. Professionally, they’ve taken every opportunity to work in residence life — as a resident assistant and community advisor for Residential Education during the school year and for Pre-College Programs during the summer. Since the spring of 2019, kai has been a community organizer and founding member for TINA (Trans, Intersex, Nonbinary Alliance), an organization that has become their most precious home at CMU. During the era of COVID, their student-activist ventures have continued to expand, including work in immigration and racial justice, competency-building education and awareness, and grassroots organizing in Pittsburgh. Through the Fifth Year Scholars Program, kai is jazzed to continue their advocacy work, develop and connect social justice networks, as well as build a platform dedicated to uplifting TINA voices through documentary film and recording. With their whole heart and soul, kai believes in the power of collective voices, stories, and needs; by centering community in all the work they do, they aim to better serve those collectives.
Materials Science and Engineering, Scholar Class of 2021-2022
Robin grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and came to Carnegie Mellon looking for a very different home-away-from-home where she could have the freedom to explore and grow. She found just that at CMU, along with numerous outlets for creativity in academic contexts and other campus involvement alike. Robin has loved finding new ways to express herself through Dancers Symposium and CMU Cyphers, as well as learning what community, connection, and authenticity mean to her through the Charpie Scholars Program and Residential Education. In her time as a resident assistant and community advisor, Robin has had the opportunity to see the role that one-on-one connection plays in community building and identity.
Robin's fifth year project is motivated by her experiences in ResEd and her love of learning languages. She aims to create heritage language learning resources that will contribute to a better understanding of CMU's linguistic landscape. Robin hopes that her project will allow students across campus to connect to each other on the basis of shared experiences while fostering an environment where students can better understand and find pride in their cultural identity through language.
Mechanical Engineering, Scholar Class of 2021-2022
“Carnegie Mellon has taught me the importance of learning and growing with passion and purpose. My professors have encouraged me to accept responsibility and to learn from feedback, and my peers have inspired and challenged me to deliver work that matters. I’m humbled by the opportunity to expand my education into a new field for my fifth year, and give back to the community that I have grown so much through. In my fifth year, I hope to continue my contribution of creating a more spirited and inclusive culture at Carnegie Mellon.”
Carolyn grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland and came to Carnegie Mellon with one foot in engineering and the other in the arts. As a mechanical engineering major with a concentration in design, she has embraced the interdisciplinary nature of CMU’s offerings, and hopes to employ the same approach to her community project. Carolyn’s fifth year project, the Fix-a-Thon, aims to combine her excitement for hands-on work in an initiative that will draw attention to the importance of sustainability. She hopes this project will elevate awareness of the impact of our society’s excessive throwaway culture, and promote a mindset that encourages us all to be agents for systemic change.