Wayne State University College of Education doctoral students Sahar Al-Tweej and Adam Martin named Rumble Fellows

Sahar Al-Tweej and Adam Martin, doctoral students in the Wayne State University College of Education, were selected to receive a Thomas C. Rumble Fellowship. Awarded by the Wayne State University Graduate School, the fellowship aims to optimize the performance of doctoral students by providing support for and establishing expected outcomes at each stage of the training process. The fellowship provides a stipend of $20,000; a tuition scholarship that funds 7.5 to 10 credits for the fall and winter semesters of the 2024-25 academic year; and subsidized medical, vision, and dental insurance. 

Headshot of Sahar Al-Tweej
Sahar Al-Tweej

A second-year Ph.D. student in counseling psychology, Al-Tweej was awarded a Rumble Fellowship for Development of Research and Scholarship, which seeks to develop the skills of students who demonstrate the most promise for conducting research that will lead to a high-quality dissertation. Her research examines the sociopsychological factors — such as social stigma, stress, support networks and socioeconomic stability — that prevent and promote mental health and wellness within the Arab American community and how Arab Americans discuss and navigate them. Her goal is to identify effective strategies for mental health support.  

“Being a Rumble Fellow is an incredible honor and significant achievement,” Al-Tweej said. “It serves as confirmation that my ongoing commitment to my work and potential contribution to the development of culturally competent mental health interventions are important as well as valued and supported by esteemed scholars and professionals.” 

Al-Tweej is committed to understanding and addressing the unique needs and challenges of marginalized communities, specifically Arab Americans and LGBTQ+ youth. Her paper about LGBTQ+ youth's experiences during the pandemic was published in the Journal of Contemporary School Psychology, and she presented her research at the American Psychological Association. 

Al-Tweej holds a temporary limited license in psychology and plans to open a private clinic dedicated to serving marginalized groups' mental health needs. In addition to clinical work, she wants to engage in community-based research to further develop and implement culturally appropriate care. She hopes exploring their unique challenges and resilience through this dual approach will enable her to enhance mental health support and advocacy within the Arab American community.  

Al-Tweej, who is mentored by Sarah Kiperman, associate professor of educational psychology, indicated the award is critical to her growth as a scholar. 

“The Rumble Fellowship will have a profound impact on supporting my goal of earning a doctoral degree,” she said. “It provides crucial financial assistance that will allow me to focus entirely on my studies and research and access valuable resources — including academic mentorship from leading experts, professional development workshops and seminars, and networking opportunities — that will enhance the quality of my work, strengthen my professional credentials, and expose me to additional opportunities that will positively influence my academic journey and future career path.” 

Headshot of Adam Martin
Adam Martin

Martin is a Ph.D. candidate in kinesiology with a concentration in exercise and sport science. He was awarded a Rumble Fellowship for Completion, which encourages promising students to complete high-quality dissertations in a timely manner. Focusing on the intersection of nutrition, physiology and psychology in an athletic context, Martin is exploring different outcomes the ketogenic diet has on the body. As the diet has grown in popularity over the last decade, so has research examining these outcomes, which include weight loss, neurological outcomes and therapies to reduce ischemic damage. Effects of the diet are far-reaching, but much work needs to be done to better understand the systemic effects — good or bad.  

“Receiving the Rumble Fellowship is a tremendous honor,” said Martin. “It represents recognition of my hard work and dedication and the potential impact of my research. This fellowship not only validates my past efforts but also fuels my motivation to fill gaps in our collective understanding within my field. It is an affirmation that my work is valued and that there is confidence in my ability to contribute meaningfully to the academic community.”  

A meteorologist and U.S Air Force veteran, Martin intends to seek a position that allows him to further his research and apply what he has learned at Wayne State. He plans to do a few years of work in industry — ideally with the Department of Defense or National Aeronautics and Space Administration — to gain practical real-world experience before returning to academia, with the long-term goal of securing a tenure-track faculty position. 

Martin — whose mentor is Jeffrey Martin, professor of sport and exercise psychology — has managed to pursue doctoral studies while working part-time, teaching and conducting research. In the fall, he will add another activity to his balancing act: fatherhood.  

“With my first child on the way next semester, this fellowship was the deciding factor in whether I would be able to finish my degree,” he said. “With the support provided by the fellowship, I am relieved of the financial burden that often accompanies graduate studies. This allows me to focus entirely on my dissertation, attend conferences, submit articles for peer review, and engage with the academic community, while also freeing up time to support my wife and newborn child. Ultimately, this award enables me to make significant progress in my research, complete my Ph.D., and contribute valuable knowledge to my field. I cannot overstate how grateful I am for this opportunity.” 

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