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April 11, 2007 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-11

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68The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, Aprill11 2007


The activists, athletes, artists and organizers
who have left their mark on campus this year

The artistic scientist
SA senior Lia Min stood in don't want to be the one drawing
front of a massive 10-foot-tall the discoveries."
banner with a large, circular In the fall, Min will attend
mirror close to the bottom. She Harvard in pursuit of a doctorate
looked into the engraved mirror, in neuroscience. For her, it never
removed a small cube from its ends.
center and regarded it with a con- "Lia is the most amazing stu-
templative smile. dent inthis graduatingclass of Art
"This was originally supposed and Design," said Mary Schmidt,
to be my whole project," she said an associate dean for the School
of the 3-inch square cube. "It got of Art and Design. "She's driven.
bigger." When she sets a goal for herself,
Min said the installation, her she reaches it."
senior project, was designed to But there are =two Lia Mins.
give a sense of DNA's biological In person, she is easygoing and
processes through textures of understated. She swerves light
Eastern philosophy. No idea what conversation from her fellow biol-
that means? She thought so. ogists' attitudes toward her art to
"I wanted this to be a person- talk of ancient Chinese philoso-
al experience," she said. When phy in the same breath.
viewers remove the cube from "She's very quiet and unassum-
the center of the mirror, Mm said ing, but inside, she is very tena-
it gives them the illusion they are cious," Schmidt said.
inspecting a part of themselves. Born in Ohio, Mm moved to
This ambitious vision comes her parents' native Korea at 6 and
from a student who came to the returned when she was a high
University with the modest aspi- school sophomore to pursue her
ration to become an illustrator art. Her father remained in Korea
for science textbooks. Just two while her mother alternated
years later, Min was pursuing an homes; when her sister came to
intense duel degree in art and Michigan, she was her guardian.
biology with a research intern- Listening to Min put her intri-
ship and consecutive year-end cate research and art into novice
honors from the art school rec- terms, you get a glimpse at the
ognizing her work as some of the profound scope of her ambi-
best in her class. tion. By fall Mm will be deep in
So what of those plans to research at one of the world's pre-
becomea technical artist? miere institutions for it, but she'd
"I decided I want to do the never, not for a second, let you
discovery myself," she said with know it.
easy, unconscious confidence. "I - Jeffrey Bloomer
The olympiad
"Personally, I'm kind of blown breaking the records he set in Ath-
away, but I sort of expected it, just ens by whole seconds would have
watching him train," said Jamie been laughable.
Martone, a swimmer on Mich- Amid the lingering press in the
igan's varsity team. "He's been months following the Olympics
pouring his heart and soul out in and his arrival at the University,
the pool." there was that unfortunate DUI
Each time people have said in November 2004 and an irksome
Phelps is on the verge of plateau- back injury.
ing, he's consistently been able But it looks like Phelps has
to prove them wrong, said Chris made more than a full recovery,
DeJong, another Club Wolverine and his performance at the world
swimmer. championships might only be the
"He's had some amazing per- beginning.
formances," said DeJong. "He has "I would not be surprised (if)
an uncanny ability to convince the world champs were a great
himself, despite anything that's forecast of how he's going to do in
going on in his environment, that 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in Lon-
it's his day to swim fast." don," Martone said. "He's just set-
Of course, there have been ting himself up for excellence."
times when the idea of Phelps -Kimberly Chou

t may not seem like LSA
junior Ryan Fantuzzi,
campus's most well-known
conservative, takes politics
very seriously.
When Democratic U.S.
senator Debbie Stabenow was
running for reelection last
November, Fantuzzi protested
at a rally by carrying a giant
poster of his own face and
shouting, "No! No! No!" at
Stabenow's supporters.
When the University and
its Coke-peddling shops and
vending machines were caught
up in a sticky debate over the
Coca-Cola Company's alleged
at the same time Fantuzzi was
running for Michigan Student
Assembly president, he took
dramatic sips from a 20-ounce
bottle of Coke while debating
the other candidates.
And when MSA lost
$20,000 in one night by
hosting the rapper Ludacris

at Hill Auditorium in 2005,
Fantuzzi said the money
would have been better used
by any hypothetical campus
group, even the "Wolverine
Fart Club."
Fantuzzi is vocal, inventive
and funny. His love of
humor, he says, is what keeps
him going through long
But there's something to
Fantuzzi that sets him apart
from other campus activists,
and it's notthathe doesn'ttake
politics seriously. It might be
the opposite. Fantuzzi says he
really cares about the issues.
He soldhis SonyPlayStation
to finance his bid for the MSA
presidency last spring. He
finished in third place in the
election, and his party, the
Student Conservative Party,
fizzled after that.
This year, he brought three
ex-terrorists to campus,
sparking a widespread outcry

and debate.
And perhaps his crowning
achievement has been serving
as the chair of the Washtenaw
County Michigan Civil Rights
Initiative, coordinating local
efforts to pass Proposal 2,
which banned affirmative
action in public institutions
in Michigan. He says he cried
tears of joy when Prop 2
But Fantuzzi says his
political future is uncertain.
An issue like MCRI comes
around only so often, and
Fantuzzi wants to focus on
issues. He has grown weary of
the infighting and corruption
in both major political parties
and says he doesn't think he'll
run for office again.
But don't fret, a presence
as vibrant as Fantuzzi's can't
stay away from the spotlight
for long.
- Anne VanderMey with
reporting by Forest Casey

Following Andrew Yahkind
foraweek duringhis college
career could lead you to the
line for drinks at Alpha Epsilon
Pi, a high school classroom in st d n
Detroit or the meetings of The
Order of Angell.
You'd see a couple study spots
too, though. On top of his vari-
ous activities, Yahkind gradu-
ated a semester early with a
double major in organizational
studies and public policy as well
as a 3.86 grade point average.
Yahkind plans to study law
at either Harvard or Stanford
in the fall. This semester, dur-
ing the time he took off between
the University and law school,
he spends much of his time
teaching an ACT prep course in
Detroit and keeping tabs on the
goings-on of the student groups A
he's been involved with.
He still participates in The
Order ofAngell, the senior honor
society for which he acted as the
regular spokesmanduringayear
of reform for the group. for students during his ter
Yahkind didn't hold an offi- president of LSA Student{
cial public relations position in ernment last year.
the group at first, but he came to Yahkind tried out worki
fill the role as the group's transi- a few commissions for the iv
tion moved forward, The Order igan Student Assembly earl
of Angell President Sirene Abou- his career but decided to
Chakra said. LSA-SG instead.
"It became evident that he "I wanted to see more
was the right person for the job," gible results from my work
she said. "He had a great reputa- said.
tion on this campus." Yahkind has changed
Yahkind also helped move himself over his years at
along projects like improving University.
study-abroad opportunities He said he's now muchr
t hit Rachael Tanner on a rainy
Wednesday in November.
She had lost the fight. Pro-
posal 2, the ballot initiative thatw
banned affirmative action ina
public institutions in Michigan,
had passed.
After dedicating much of the r
past year to the group Students-
Supporting Affirmative Action,
most visible anti-Prop 2 student
leaders on campus was watch-
ing University President Mary
Sue Coleman stand on the steps
of the Hatcher Graduate Library
and reassure students of the
University's commitment to
Tanner was forced to ask her-
self a question: Now what?
A year before that day, Tanner
didn't consider herself political-
ly active. Since becoming a core
leader of Students Supporting with a bullhorn to coordinati
Affirmative Action - which had with country and state ca
been dormant since the Supreme paigns.
Court rulings in 2003 on the LSA senior Kristen Purdy
University's affirmative action former SSAA member, describ
programs - Tanner immersed Tanner as "tirelessly passional
her self in all aspects of the cam- "I don't know of anyone tI
paign, from standing on the Diag has more passion and energy

m as open and appreciative of diver- that he said is available to people
Gov- sity than freshman year, when who are willing to seek it.
he arrived on campus from Yahkind is first-generation
ng on the predominantly white West American. His parents grew up
Mich- Bloomfield. in Eastern European countries .
ier in As a freshman, he stuck close while they were controlled by
join to people like himself the Soviet Union. His mother is
"I made the mistake of falling from the Ukraine and his father
tan- into that because it's comfort- is from Russia.
," he able hanging out with people He said having parents who
who look like you, act like you, have experienced persecution
a lot have the same background as and adversity has pushed him
t the you." to work hard in every aspect of
He said he loves the Univer- his life.
more sity for its "amazing diversity" -Jessica Vosgerchian


It'd be a lot easier for detrac-
tors to dismiss all that "greatest
of all time" talk if kinesiology
junior Michael Phelps would sim-
ply stop breakingrecords.
An eight-time Olympic medal-
list and Club Wolverine swim-
mer, Phelps eclipsed his own
world record when he won the
400-meter individual medley at
the world championships in Mel-
bourne two weeks ago. Even more
impressive than the race that won
him his seventh gold medal dur-
ing the weeks' events - equal-
ing Mark Spitz's medal record of
seven golds at the 1972 Olympics
- was how he won it. His time in
the medley, 4 minutes, 6.22 sec-
onds, lowered the record he'd set
at the 2004 Athens Olympics by

more than two seconds. And in a
sport where athletes win or lose
by hundredths of a second, that's
an eternity.
"It was definitely incredible,
maybe one of the greatest sports
performances of all time," said
Peter Vanderkaay, a Club Wol-
verine teammate and one of the
swimmers who won the 4x400-
meter freestyle relay gold with
Phelps at the 2004 Athens Olym-
pics. "I'm sure a lot of people don't
realize how special this is, but it's
an incredible achievement."
Although Phelps himself
wasn't available for an inter-
view (he's currently in China,
Vanderkaay said), other varsity
and Club Wolverine swimmers
echo Vanderkaay's praise.

The anti-Prop 2 crusader
Since SSAA refocused its mis-
sion to addressing inequalities
on campus through alternatives
to affirmative action in January,
Tanner said she has tried to step
back her role in SSAA to make
room for younger student lead-
"If I am so worried about
what's going to happen when I
graduate, then I should focus
my time on making sure the new
leaders are ready," she said.
As for the question "Now
what?" in her own life, Tanner
says she'll stay in grassroots
After graduating with a major
in political science later this
month, Tanner will work at
the Harriet Tubman Center in
Detroit, an organization found-
ETER SCHOTTENFELS/aiiy ed in December 2006 that trains
prospective community orga-
they do," Purdy said. nizers.
Lescribes her leader- "Working on a campaign and
id approach to diver- having the energy of people was
pus as pragmatic. very hands-on, and I know that
the word," she said. was really instrumental in shap-
does (diversity) real- ing the way I wanted to work,"
a question that isn't Tanner said.
answered enough." -Kelly Fras

ing everythingt
m- Tanner d
ship style ai
, a sity on camp
ed "We sayt
:e." "But whatd
hat ly mean isa
in asked - ora

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