As the University counts down to Commencement, UConn Today is featuring some of this year’s outstanding graduating students, nominated by their academic school or college or another University program in which they participated. For additional profiles of students in the Class of 2012, click here.
When Michael Mizrahi first came to UConn from a small school in Brooklyn, N.Y., he was unsure of how to make the most of his next four years. But by balancing his focus between academics and extracurricular involvement, he’s been able to do just that.
A communication sciences major with a business minor in entrepreneurship, Mizrahi has enjoyed the hands-on learning he’s experienced through his marketing classes, one of which enabled him to work as part of a team on a Honda marketing campaign on campus. “Those are the classes I really enjoy because they are tangible, [with] real-life experience,” he says.
He’s also been heavily involved in the Greek community. His commitment to Greek life has set a new standard for fraternities on campus. As president of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) in 2011, Mizrahi worked with his executive board to create and implement Observe and Report, a program that monitors the fraternity recruiting process. He also headed the expansion committee, which recently welcomed a new fraternity to campus, the first fraternity to be added by the IFC for almost a decade.
Mizrahi expects the same high standards of himself as he does of his community, setting himself a busy schedule. For the past three years, he has been a tour leader for the Lodewick Visitors Center, and for two years, he was technology director for HuskyTHON, the student-led charity dance marathon, managing the event’s web presence and designing its new logo. And last year, he was one of 15 students selected for the Leadership Legacy Experience program, which supports and fosters students’ leadership skills. Off campus, he volunteers once a week for the Collegiate Health Service Corps, providing health education to migrant farm workers.
Joseph Briody, associate director of involvement and leadership programs in the Department of Student Activities, worked with Mizrahi in the Leadership Legacy program. “[Michael’s] accomplishments in class and out of class are complemented by a genuine concern for others, a curiosity about the world around him, and an awareness of the community in which he lives. He is everything that is great about UConn.”
In 2012, Mizrahi was nominated for the North American Interfraternity Conference’s Undergraduate Award of Distinction by members of his Greek community. Gary Wolff, director of Hillel and a mentor to Mizrahi, was one of those who nominated him for the award. “[He] leads more through behavior than words … I am truly blessed as a professional to be motivated and inspired by such an amazing young man,” he said. “If Michael is a barometer of the future, we are moving in a great direction.”
Looking back on his undergraduate career, Mizrahi recognizes his growth as a person as well as a student. “I’ve learned a lot about myself, about leadership styles, about working with other student leaders, and really making a commitment to making a difference … [As] a UConn student, I’ve learned more than I ever could have imagined I would.”
After graduation, he plans on moving back to his native New York to work in a tech startup, GroupMe. But however his career unfolds, he says he wants to do work that’s consistent with his personal values. “I know I want to work for an organization that is committed to its values. I want to love what I do – that is my guiding force.”