If You Give a Kid a U-M Scholarship…

If You Give a Kid a U-M Scholarship…

If you give a kid a U-M scholarship….

He’s going to advise his peers, design airplane parts, and join a startup company.

At least that’s the story for junior Sam Dion. A Grand Rapids-area native, Sam wasn’t sure where he would go after high school. He would be the first generation in his family to attend college, and would need to pay his own way there.

After seeing the U of M Club of Grand Rapids scholarship posted at his high school, Sam went to work applying. He got letters of recommendation, and had several teachers look at his personal statement. The hard work paid off when it was time for the interview with the club’s board.

“I was able to ask them a few questions about Michigan—at that time I didn’t really know anyone who had gone to Michigan even though it had been my dream for a long time.”

He learned he was awarded the scholarship in the spring—while he was still deciding where he should go to school. As it turns out, that scholarship would be instrumental to his future.

“I’m paying for college myself so this is a big financial burden lifted; especially because the Grand Rapids club scholarship is very generous,” said Sam. “It made a huge impact on my college decision and it has been helping me through today.”


Association writer Logan McGrady attended a Grand Rapids scholarship event over the summer. He met another scholarship recipient while he was there. 

Sam Takes Advantage of the U-M Network

The U-M community provides more than just monetary assistance. 

During his initial scholarship interview, Sam “picked their brains about opportunities available at U-M.” For Sam, the opportunities have been numerous. A mechanical engineering major, he is involved with the Engineering Honors Program, serving on the executive board and advising fellow students. In the Multi-Disciplinary Design Program, he is earning credit working with Eaton Corp., designing parts for the fuel lines and hydraulics of airplanes.

And he is developing equipment to help our football team practice.

During Startup Weekend Ann Arbor, Sam joined with a PhD student to help design an automatic football timer called the Rush Trainer. They won second-place in the competition and pitched the idea to Dan Gilbert, CEO of Quicken Loans. While they didn’t get an investment, it was there they met Courtney Avery, who opened the door to Michigan football.

“We have a couple working prototypes now and last week Courtney actually brought it to Michigan’s practice. Coach Hoke showed it to the offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and they are working on putting in an order for us.”

Sam is taking full advantage of his time here at Michigan. With the help of local alumni, he is proving that a U-M student can do anything given the chance. The Grand Rapids Club scholarship was just the chance he needed.

“This scholarship allows me to have the freedom to explore the amazing opportunities available at the University.”

Check out this interactive map to see if your hometown has an alumni club. 

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