The 313 Project awards scholarship in name of Wayne Law School dean

The 313 Project Scholarship Committee recently presented three Detroit high school students with the Dean Michele R. Miller 2012 Scholarship.

“With dozens of applications from numerous Detroit high schools and many stand-out applicants, the Scholarship Committee had a difficult task in selecting the winners,” said Aisa Villarosa Berg, director of the nonprofit founded by three Wayne Law school alumni. “Nonetheless, we are confident that this year’s recipients will continue to serve their communities, grow academically, and excel at their passions. We’re also pleased to note that our recipients hail from five different Detroit schools and are headed to five different Michigan universities.”

There were two recipients  of the Michele R. Miller $1,000 scholarship:

Juan Sancen is a 2012 graduate of Cesar Chavez Academy and a 2012 Michele R. Miller Scholarship Winner. Sancen graduated second in his class of 129 and during high school, he served as president of the Math Club, Chess Club, and Community Service Club. Sancen’s passion for science has led him to enroll in Saginaw Valley State University in fall of 2012, and he plans to form a physics club at the college to compete nationally. Sancen credits his favorite teacher, Mr. Kelly, for sparking his interest in learning: “From Mr. Kelly, I learned the real strength of Detroit. He taught me that I didn’t need to attend a prestigious middle school in order to have a fervent passion for learning. Instead, I realized that Detroit’s strength lies in the struggles Detroiters have to face every day. Detroit has taught me to work harder than many other students, and to not lose hope in front of adversity.”

Tanneh Nagbe is a 2012 graduate of Western International HS and a 2012 Michele R. Miller Scholarship Winner. She will be attending Wayne State University in fall of 2012 and plans to become an elementary school teacher. Nagbe wants to focus on K-5 special education, drawing upon positive lessons from her own teacher: “A teacher named Ms. Dee saw my potential, and with her help I was removed from special education class by the end of my seventh grade year. With this experience, I know I can relate more with students in this situation and encourage them to be great in spite of all odds.” Nagbe cites her mother as her inspiration for growing and maturing as a student and leader. Her service experiences include volunteering to beautify Clark Park in Southwest Detroit, tutoring youths through Latino Family Services, and packaging food for underserved communities.
Three scholarship finalists received $250 Barnes & Noble gift certificates. .

Malik R. Harris is a 2012 graduate of Cass Technical High School and one of the Michele R. Miller Scholarship Finalists. Harris has found his passion in business, and he plans to attend Michigan State University in Fall of 2012 to major in Business Administration and Marketing with a minor in Urban Planning. Harris’ talent for entrepreneurship even aided his high school, as Harris transformed Cass Tech’s once-unpopular wrist bands into a highly sought-out student purchase: “Our objective was to sell products and generate revenue of at least $100. The wristbands proved to be a success, and after two days, I made a profit of over $400. I was bestowed with school-wide recognition, received an ‘A’ on my final exam, and helped the school store out of its financial slump.” Harris’ volunteer and community work includes packaging food at Forgotten Harvest and serving on the NAACP Youth Council.

Chelsea Ann Pierce is a 2012 graduate of Southwestern High School and one of the Michele R. Miller Scholarship Finalists. Over the course of high school, Pierce showed tremendous improvement in her academic performance — a transformation that she attributes to a crucial shift in her attitude. At the end of the ninth grade, Pierce realized that her academic record might foreclose her from college, and from her ultimate dream of becoming a doctor. She sought out mentors and tutoring, and her perseverance was rewarded: She earned a perfect 4.0 in the following 10 of 11 semesters, and now looks forward to attending the University of Michigan (Dearborn) in fall of 2012. Furthermore, Pierce hopes to serve as a guide for students feeling discouraged and frustrated: “Looking back, I sometimes wish I had done my best when I first began high school. However, I believe my situation has taught me some valuable lessons that I will take with me throughout life, and hopefully I can be a role model to other high school students who struggle academically.” Chelsea still plans to pursue medicine, and she has volunteered at Home Care of Michigan and Oakwood Home Medical during high school.

Hanan Yahya is a 2012 graduate of Universal Academy and one of the Michele R. Miller Scholarship Finalists. Set to attend the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) in fall of 2012, Hanan plans to major in educational administration. After college, she hopes to use her degree to improve Detroit’s communities and educational system: “As soon as I graduate, I’m coming back to Detroit with hardcore ideas and plans . . . I believe if Detroit’s residents speak up and become involved in the decisions that are made, then change WILL happen.” Hanan values her Arab American heritage and in overcoming post-9/11 discrimination, she understands the value of “promoting a more understanding and open-minded society, starting with the youth.” Hanan’s extensive volunteer experiences include participating in roundtable discussions on civil rights and completing over 2300 hours of community service during high school.

For more information on the scholarship and how to donate for next year’s recipients, please email us at