Lucie Rosenthal, Copywriter


Zahra Makki is a true embodiment of a “Big Thinker.”

Each year, MUSIC Matters awards our student-funded, Big Thinkers Scholarship to an exceptional University of Michigan student, either current or incoming. Last year, the scholarship was awarded to Zahra Makki, who is now a freshman here at U of M. Zahra was born in Beirut, Lebanon and moved to Dearborn, Michigan in 2006. She is currently in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, leaning towards a major in Public Health or Computer Science. Her favorite class at Michigan so far has been EECS 183, and she now grades for it. She founds considerably difficult class to be “so super fun” and loved the intellectual people she met there. In addition to her passion and success in the classroom, Zahra is a member of the Arab Student Association, Arabesque, and Michigan Refugee Assistance Program. And if you were questioning how she has any free time, you can also find her in the Michigan Union sustaining the U of M population as a barista at Starbucks.


The Big Thinkers Scholarship began in 2013 as a student-funded and need based $50,000 endowment; it’s the first of its kind here at U of M. Katie Swartz, MUSIC Matters’ current Head of the Big Thinkers Scholarship, says that “although the scholarship has its own name as the ‘Big Thinkers Scholarship’ it also is accompanied by a theme that changes each year. This theme is used to shape the focus of our application and elicit different thoughts and responses from the applicants.” This year, Katie proposed a theme to align with the university's recent bicentennial celebration, primarily focusing on the idea of legacy. The selection committee is a combination of MUSIC Matters members and a faculty member at the university. “Basically, we are looking to award this scholarship to those who aren't afraid to ‘think big’ in order to find ways to use their strengths or talents to positively impact the U of M community or beyond.”


This year’s scholarship application has closed, and MUSIC Matters looks forward to awarding The Big Thinkers Scholarship to two more U of M students later this year.