Triplets thrive in Detroit and in Honors College
The Savel triplets — Cat, Sam and Kim — have different ambitions and career goals but share a common path toward their futures that runs through Wayne State University, the Irvin D. Reid Honors College and Detroit. Cat is a criminal justice major and French major with a minor in psychology, Sam is a mortuary science major with a minor in computer science, and Kim is studying radiologic technology.
Their father, a 2000 Wayne State School of Medicine graduate, was working as a physician in Southeast Michigan when they were born in Detroit. Though they moved out of state shortly thereafter and were living in Olympia, Washington, when making plans for college, a number of extended family members in metro Detroit prompted them to investigate Wayne State.
As it turned out, the university and the Honors College, in particular, provided each with what they needed to move closer to their goals. They also received the Roberts Family Endowed Scholarship, an Honors College award established by John and Anne Roberts, which they credit with making their academic journey possible.
“We are happy to support these three sisters with our scholarship,” said Anne Roberts. “The Savels came home to Detroit because they recognized the exceptional learning experiences available at the Honors College and in Detroit. We are pleased to be part of their story.”
Cat plans to attend law school and aspires to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. “I hope to make a genuine change in others' lives with my career,” she said. “I’m a fan of servant leadership. I believe I can assist people.”
In the meantime, Cat balances her classes with working as a Wayne State tour guide and a host at Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails. She said both public-facing roles have helped refine her communications skills and approach to service.
Since she was young, Kim’s love of art and drawing has merged with a strong interest in anatomy and biology, the result of being the daughter of a doctor. “I would always draw from his medical books,” she recalled. “I would copy the bones and veins. It was always so interesting to me.”
Now, with her hopes of becoming a radiologist, Kim is discovering new ways of looking within the human body and is supplementing her knowledge and experience by volunteering in the radiology department at Children’s Hospital of Michigan.
After meeting a funeral director in high school, Sam realized she had the people skills necessary to provide compassionate service to grieving families. “I find that there is a divide between people who want to do funeral directing, arranging and embalming,” she said. “I’m interested in the working with the family part of it.” And with her computer science minor, Sam aims to build on the industry’s increasing use of digital technology, especially obituaries and tributes.
To obtain more understanding of the field, she works part time at Gramer Funeral Home in Clawson. She also works at Insomnia Cookies, where her sisters are frequent customers.
At the Irvin D. Reid Honors College, high-achieving students are challenged in the classroom and required to seek community-engagement experiences to learn skills that prepare them for successful lives and careers.
Kim said she values how the Honors courses offer smaller class sizes than typical college lectures.
“Your class is generally 20 students or less. You can get one-on-one time with the professor, and everything feels so much more intimate,” Kim said. “I can ask questions that maybe I wouldn't have asked in a 400-person lecture, and I think we have way better discussions when we're in smaller groups.”
For Cat, though she admits the workload can be demanding, it is worth the effort, particularly for someone with her interests. “I think the Honors College provides a really nice social justice aspect to a liberal arts education,” she said. “I really appreciate how it provides a wide variety of knowledge.”
Sam agrees. “Honors courses give you information about how we live and where we live,” she said, adding an appreciation for her professors. “I know they trust your education level, your knowledge, your intelligence, and I think that’s really respectful.”
Professor Kevin Deegan-Krause teaches Honors 1000 – The City: Changing Detroit, a popular foundational class for all Honors students that explores the city through its history, its changes, and how students can actively play a role in Detroit’s positive development. He remembers the three sisters, their sense of individuality and their desire to positively impact people.
“It is not surprising that they’re all going on to different paths,” said Deegan-Krause, “but it’s notable that all three have chosen careers that are explicitly geared to improving the lives of others. Public-spiritedness is one of the goals of the Honors College and one of the hallmarks of our work. The Honors College is committed to helping students serve as agents of change and committed to creating a better world.”
Though they each have distinct lives, interests and social circles, the Savel sisters appreciate being together on campus.
“We reach out how friends would reach out,” said Cat. “When Sam had a class in the mortuary science building, I would be working at Chartreuse across the street. She would call me as she's walking across Woodward, and I would open the door and wave to her.”
Sam shared, “I definitely talk to them at least once a day. I don’t know what I would do if I were here alone.”
For Kim, it’s just knowing her sisters are nearby. “Here, we can have our own space,” she said. “But we can still reach out whenever we want.”
The Savel triplets’ time at Wayne State has created opportunities to see how their individual talents and passions will prepare them for a successful future, and though they are pursuing their goals in their own way, they are doing it together.
“We didn’t really expect to all end up in the same place,” the sisters told the Roberts family, who funded their scholarship. “But now that we are all here, there is nowhere else we would rather study.”