Yodit Denekew—MBA Alumna Crowned Miss Ethiopia USA

Yodit Denekew—MBA Alumna Crowned Miss Ethiopia USA

MUM alumna Yodit Denekew, Miss Ethiopia USA 2017

With fellow MUM classmates

At the MUM graduation

Volunteering for the Empowerment Essence Foundation at a recent anti-bully youth conference

MUM graduate Yodit Denekew was recently crowned Miss Ethiopia at the 2017 Miss Ethiopia USA Pageant. The mission of Miss Ethiopia USA is to recognize women who are involved in promoting the Ethiopian culture and supporting humanitarian causes.

Yodit was born and raised in rural Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, where she witnessed underprivileged women struggling to have access to education. She became passionate about changing the situation and she has volunteered with various organizations, including United Nations Volunteers.

As Miss Ethiopia USA, she plans to use her title as a platform for empowering young women to pursue higher education. Yodit will be implementing her plans under the aegis of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) through fundraising events and traveling to Ethiopia to spread her message.

Yodit came to MUM in 2014 for the MBA in Accounting program. She enjoyed the cultural and ethnic diversity of the MUM campus and appreciated the self-development that Consciousness-BasedSM education offers. She also found that her classes provided relevant and up-to-date knowledge, and she was well-prepared to begin her career.

“I feel that the experience I gained was truly valuable,” said Yodit. “My stay at MUM helped to develop my communication skills and my self-esteem. I experienced inner growth and developed my creativity.”

Yodit graduated from MUM in 2015 and is currently working as an auditor at a public accounting firm in the Washington, D.C. area. She is also preparing for her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification.

In addition, she serves on the board of the Ethio-American Society of CPAs and Finance Professionals (ESCPA), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to building leaders who shape the future of accounting, auditing, and finance professionals.

‘The Quest’ Immersive Adventure Highlights MUM’s Culture and Spirit

‘The Quest’ Immersive Adventure Highlights MUM’s Culture and Spirit

Students participating in the first MUM Quest (photo by Peter Arnold)

Magic, dance, and art were at the heart of the two-hour adventure that involved over 80 students last month as part of MUM Quest, a series of events this academic year based on teamwork, fun, and fantasy, all with the purpose of engaging students and fostering connectedness.

The donor-funded Quest Event recieved contributions of $4,940, which was 123% of its fundraising target of $4,000. The University thanks not only donors who made the event possible, but the many student advocates who spread the word about this unique experience.

MUM’s ‘most mythical and mystical’ event

MUM students loved the Quest so much that student organizers plan to create three additional productions over the coming year.

“The Quest was the most mythical and mystical event MUM has ever put on,” said student Alexandria Van Boven.

Planned by alumnus Chris Grace and student Haley Spitzfaden, the MUM Quest was modeled after Harry Potter’s Triwizard Tournament. During the inaugural event six teams of students trekked across campus to engage in challenges. Teams earned points based on the quality of their teamwork, enthusiasm, and achievement of goals.

The MUM Quest participants with their art challenge pieces at Waterworks Park (photo by Cody Olivas)

Escaping the ordinary

“A goal of the Quest was for the students to escape the ordinary world for two hours, and cross a threshold to experience something magical,” said Chris Grace.

The Quest commenced with an 8-minute video featuring MUM President John Hagelin reading an alternate history of Fairfield and the MUM campus, based on a 19th-century diary “found” during the demolition of Carnegie Hall. The story involved Freemasons, magic, a uniquely powerful energy vortex in Fairfield that’s in danger of being lost, and the immediate need to re-enliven this vortex by priming three “ley lines” that intersect on campus. The participants had until sundown to achieve this; otherwise, the vortex would be lost forever.

Fun challenges all along the way

The goal was to re-enliven the ley lines by completing four challenges. The faith challenge involved walking on water. During the art challenge, each team was given a canvas to create a design, with each canvas ultimately becoming part of a larger design.

The magic potion challenge entailed thinking specific thoughts, which then caused a liquid to change color. For the dance challenge, students had to dance in three circles in time with four drummers. For the grand finale, all of the teams gathered under the pine trees at Waterworks Park for a pizza party.

“The Quest was the beginning of a journey,” said Cris Evergreen, student body president. “The first of its kind, it opened me up to the magic of what’s possible when we work together. It was light-hearted and fun. I look forward to seeing what the game masters conjure up for next time.”

What Students are Saying about The Quest:



“The Quest was as magical as promised, and even more. I was stumped and enthralled by the magic, which was performed and had to ask my more left-brained friends how liquids changed colors and fire burst out of nowhere before our very eyes. My favorite place was definitely the Love Forest, which is still up even though the first Quest has since finished. My favorite aspect was the ‘real history’ of Fairfield, intertwined with our tasks. The Quest​ was the most mythical and mystical event MUM has ever put on! Only at MUM will gaggles of students chant Gaelic spells at a school sanctioned event. I am so proud to be a part of this wonderfully weird place.”



Masters Candidate

“The Quest definitely brought about a liveliness on campus. It was quite a beautiful experience, seeing such a diverse group of students split into teams, where barely anyone knew anyone … to come into coherence to achieve the goals that were presented to us. Since I’ve been at this University, normally people get caught up in the swing of classes and the cliques they form, so that the school year just passes by. But by the end of the quest, not only did we have fun and make new friends, but we were all united in the end. Definitely two thumbs up from me. Thank you!”


Pre-Integrative Medicine Student

“The Quest demonstrated a magic that went beyond its premise of Gaelic lore and Leylines. It provided an inviting and seamless experience that drew many to answer its call and follow through to a satisfying end.”


MUM Student Body President

“The Quest was the beginning of a journey. The first of it’s kind, the Sept 23 Quest opened me up to the magic of what’s possible when we work together. It was light-hearted and fun. I look forward to seeing what the Game Masters conjure up for next time!”