Graduate ambassadors

Graduate School ambassadors are selected for their determination and hard work in their studies, as well as their ability to share their knowledge and experience with perspective students. They represent a range of degree programs, matched by a wide variety of life experiences.

Become a graduate ambassador

Graduate ambassadors have the opportunity to give back to Wayne State University by participating in Graduate School events, webinars, and other virtual and in-person meetings with prospective graduate students. The graduate ambassador program pays a tuition scholarship of $500 in fall and in winter semesters. The deadline for applications is July 14, 2017.

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Meet the 2016-2017 graduate ambassadors

Jynil Schneider

Jynil Schneider is a proud Wayne State Warrior in the School of Social Work's MSW program.  She has over ten years of experience in the field of substance abuse prevention, and is pursuing her MSW to advocate for more funding for substance abuse and suicide prevention at the local, state, and federal level.  Jynil also received a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwood University in 2004.  Her professional life since then has been working with adolescents to deliver prevention curricula that teach valuable life skills, including the risks associated with substance use and abuse as well as promoting resources available to them for mental health and suicide concerns.

Jynil is very proud to be a Wayne State graduate student, and hopes that her tenure as a Graduate Student Ambassador will allow her to interact with many students and inspire them to pursue graduate degrees at Wayne State University.  She has appreciated the research opportunities and world class faculty that Wayne State has to offer.  She describes herself as a life-long learner, and has found her home for this pursuit right here in the heart of Midtown at WSU.

Ernestine Lyons

Ernestine Lyons is a master's student in world politics in the Department of Political Science within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Born and raised in Detroit, she was always a dreamer who wanted to see the world, and coming to Wayne State has allowed her to achieve those dreams. She completed her undergraduate degree at WSU in Asian Studies with a co-major in International Studies and a minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. At Wayne State, she has been committed to a personal mission of being a global citizen, bringing international cultural experiences and global education to the community. Lyons hopes to eventually work in diplomacy.

Through Wayne State, she has been awarded grants and scholarships that allowed her to travel abroad and conduct research. Ernestine's scholarships include the Center of Academic Excellence in National Security and Intelligence Studies scholarship, this allowed her to travel to South Africa and conduct field research. As a junior, she was awarded an undergraduate research grant which allowed her to travel to Fudan University in Shanghai, China for another research project. She also received the Confucius Institute scholarship to study Mandarin Chinese in Wuhan, China. She was involved with many student groups and organizations like WSU Student Senate, the Indian Student Association, and the Arabic Culture Club this allowed her exposure to more diverse cultural experiences.

As a graduate student, Ernestine organized a trip to Russia to learn the Russian language and gather research. She has presented her research at the Michigan Political Science Association and she gives lectures to high school students on the importance of learning a foreign language. Ernestine is a polyglot who loves learning languages. Her hobbies include singing, leaning ethnic dance forms and writing. Her area of research and expertise are the developing and emerging market economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa or the BRICS, as they are known. She has traveled to and done research in three of the five countries. Her role as a graduate ambassador allows her, in an official capacity, to continue to do what she has always done; tell the world how great Wayne State University is.       

Kristen Venadam

Kristen Venadam has been a Registered Nurse for 20 years.  She has worked as a public health nurse at the Macomb County Health Department for the last 17 years, making home-visits to high risk pregnant mothers and their babies.  Kristen received her Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 1996, graduating summa cum laude.  She is a member of the nursing honor society, Sigma Theta Tau. Besides working full time as a nurse, and master's student, she is a busy mother of three teenage children and very active in her church.

Kristen is currently working towards a master's degree in Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care, here at Wayne State University.  Her decision to attend Wayne State University was greatly influenced by the fact that their School of Nursing is highly respected in the medical community and its association with the Detroit Medical Center.  Wayne State University also provides a safe learning environment for commuting students.

Manish Kumar Shakya

Sipping coffee on his apartment balcony, Manish used to watch speeding cars and semi-trucks on the freeway, showcasing their might and power, which instilled in him a special respect for the technology and engineering that goes into the manufacturing of these automotive giants and a desire to be among those who served in their creation.

Manish received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and is now a graduate student studying manufacturing engineering at Wayne State University.  He has taken industry-based courses blended with some real-time live projects and industry tours. This in combination with his previous experience with various manufacturing techniques and tools has rekindled his passion to be involved with developing technology and ongoing education.

As an international graduate Student at WSU, he is not only focused on his studies, but has found a place in an on-campus job and joined student organizations that allow him to interact with people of different ethnicities and walks of life. He enjoys participating in shared activities and observing different behaviors while learning about others' approach to dealing with life's issues. He has been an active volunteer for many university hosted events on campus and an integral part of a committee that helps towards WSU campus development.

While his research focuses on industry-based activities, he is also a travel and nature enthusiast, and especially enjoys hiking trips, night sky gazing and camping. His advice to those planning to study at Wayne State University: this is a highly diverse, research-oriented campus with a lot of extracurricular activities and all year-round. The facilities are awesome and your student experience will be enriching and memorable. 

If you want to hear more about their experience at Wayne State, email the graduate ambassadors with your questions.