Graduate Studies Coordinator, Cancer Biology Graduate Program

Hometown: Detroit, MI


Tell us about yourself!

I was born and raised on the eastside of Detroit by a single mother. Despite the sacrifices that had to be made, my mother and large family support system always made sure that I had everything I needed. While living in Detroit, I attended private schools in the suburbs, which I always say gave me the best of both worlds. I was exposed to the hardships of the inner city and the privileges of the middle/upper class. This huge gap in services, education, and opportunities is what motivates me to advocate for those who can’t do so for themselves. I’ve always said I think my purpose in life is to help people become the best version of themselves and I truly believe I’ve been given the experiences I have to make that my reality.”


What is your current position? What are some of the things you do from day to day?

“Cancer Biology Graduate Program Coordinator and the Cancer Research Summer Internship Program Coordinator – I am the go-to person for all things cancer bio & CaRSIP related (except the science!)”

What is your favorite thing about working at/for the University of Michigan?

 “I love the worldwide network that the university offers. You can go anywhere and find a Wolverine!”

When and why did you decide to follow your current career?

“After completing my Master’s in Social Work (MSW), I decided that I would rather apply my skills to help students holistically in higher education.”


What did you think you were going to be when you grew up? If it’s different than what you are currently doing, what inspired the change?

“As a young child, I wanted to be a horseback rider. Then, I eventually switched to wanting to be an OB/GYN. Although I think I’d still enjoy being an OB/GYN, I realized that medicine was never my passion. I understood that helping people and interpersonal interactions were what attracted me to want to be a doctor. That is what caused me to direct my interests and career track towards the social sciences and education.”

How are you able to balance outreach or DEI work and your career?

“Outreach and DEI are part of who I am. Many of the initiatives and topics that are being discussed are things that I value personally so it comes naturally to incorporate them into my career.”

What is your greatest source of inspiration to keep pushing toward completing your goals?

“Growing up in Detroit and being given many opportunities that some of the kids in my same neighborhood would never see is what motivates me to keep advocating for those kids.”

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

“Life goes on & it gets better with time. We’ve all made it through difficult times that we thought would break us and came out stronger. That is what fuels my optimism and resilience.”

What do you like to do when you have free time?

“Travel, workout, eat, spend time with family and friends, binge watch new series”


Can students contact you directly?

Yes, I’m pretty open to talk about almost anything. My email is dawneche@umich.edu.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Spotlights are created with the help of Nnamdi Edokobi, third-year PhD candidate, Pharmacology Department.