End of the Year Wrap-Up – 2021

With the end of the semester just a day away, it’s time to wrap up another year here at the Ford School. Of course, it goes without saying this year was different than most. Our incredible students, faculty, and staff demonstrated their resilience, creativity, and compassion throughout an academic year conducted in an almost entirely remote capacity.

With more and more people in Michigan and across the U.S. receiving vaccinations, we’re looking forward to next semester when we can once again be together in Weill Hall. 

Despite the many challenges this year posed for our school, city, state, and country, the Ford community remained steadfast in its commitment to the public good and public service. Our research centers continued to produce rigorous, in-depth analyses of our most pressing problems, our faculty continued their field-leading research on a wide array of policy topics, our staff maintained an exceptional level of service for current and prospective students, and Fordies themselves responded to every challenge with positivity and grit.

We’re exceptionally proud of everything Fordies have accomplished in the 2020-2021 academic year. We can’t wait to meet our new cohort in the Fall and welcome everybody back to campus after an exciting summer of policy internships. 

Finally, congratulations to the Ford School graduates of the Class of 2021. Your final year at Ford may have looked different than any of us had hoped, but you finished strong. We know you’ll put the skills and lessons you’ve learned to good use.

Thanks for following us here on “Inside the Ford School.” Stay safe and have a wonderful summer.

Research Center Spotlight: Center on Finance, Law, and Policy

We’re drawing ever closer to the end of the school year here at Ford. With one full week left in the semester, we’re highlighting another one of the research centers found here at the Ford School. This time around, we’re taking a closer look at the Center on Finance, Law, and Policy (CFLP). 

Technically speaking, this center isn’t just a Ford School endeavor. CFLP is an interdisciplinary research center composed of faculty and students from over a dozen different schools and colleges at the University of Michigan, including Michigan Law School, Michigan Ross School of Business, and Michigan College of Engineering. 

At CFLP, researchers conduct “a broad range of research projects focused on creating a financial system that is safer, fairer, and better harnessed to the real economy.” 

In addition to their research, CFLP established the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project in 2016. The program works with small business owners in Detroit and connects them with law, design, and business students ready to assist with legal and business needs. 

That’s all for this installment of our research center spotlight, but be on the lookout for more content throughout the summer!

Meet a Fordie: Javi Piñeiro (MPP ’22)

Where are you from?

  • Hormigueros, Puerto Rico

What were you doing before you came to Ford?

  • Zoning and Economic Development work at Chicago City Council; part-time Public Policy student at the University of Chicago; and Project Management consultant for an Environmental Protection NGO in Puerto Rico, called Para La Naturaleza.

Why did you choose Ford?

  • I experienced the rigor and quality of the Ford School through the PPIA Junior Summer Institute and ever since decided this is the ideal place to pursue my graduate education. I knew my identities and my experiences in community organizing and social entrepreneurship would be valued at the Ford School. One relevant aspect of the Ford school experience is that we are allowed and encouraged to develop interdisciplinary career paths and have access to a wide range of courses in other programs within U-M. This was significant for me when making the choice because I wanted to develop expertise in other areas of interest such as sustainability, urban planning and law. I am glad I made this choice, as being here allows me to turn my passions into academic work and prepares me to improve people’s livelihoods through leadership in public service.

What do you want to do with your Ford degree?

  • At the Ford School, I have developed a passion for international human rights, economic development and climate adaptation. I am grateful that the MPP curriculum fits my career goals and is preparing me to become a well-rounded policymaker. While I am still exploring career paths, I know that I want to join the public sector. The MPP will serve me to contribute to policy frameworks at the nexus of civil – political rights, climate adaptation and sustainable economic development. Personally, I aspire to implement progressive policies as a public servant, in hopes that I can carry long-term change that advances justice for underserved populations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Research Center Spotlight: Youth Policy Lab (YPL)

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, the Ford School is home to fifteen research centers where students and faculty engage in in-depth research on our most daunting challenges and potential solutions to social issues. The proposals generated at Ford are data-driven and innovative. 

This time around, we’re highlighting the work of the Youth Policy Lab (YPL). The Lab uses data analysis to identify challenges facing communities in Michigan and develop creative solutions to address them. AT YPL, the aim is to use data for the public good.

In YPL’s own words, their vision is clear: “the University of Michigan Youth Policy Lab helps community and government agencies make better decisions by measuring what really works. We’re data experts who believe that government can and must do better for the people of Michigan.” The projects being carried out at YPL present exciting and desperately-needed answers to complex issues while emphasizing quality, equity, empowerment, partnership, and outcomes. 

From COVID-19 and its impacts on Michigan communities to the diverse needs of students and families in our state, YPL is dedicated to using the knowledge and skills of Ford faculty, fellows, and students to make the Great Lakes State an even better place to live. 

Learn more about the projects being pursued at YPL here. Stay tuned for further updates on the incredible work of Ford’s research centers!


New Faculty Addition: Dr. Katherine Michelmore

The Ford School is recognized worldwide for its distinguished faculty. Ford students learn everyday from experienced policy professionals and academics with expertise in their fields. 

This past month, the Ford School’s ranks grew with the addition of Dr. Katherine Michelmore as an associate professor of public policy. The University of Michigan’s Board of Regents approved the hiring on March 25th. Dr. Michelmore’s appointment will begin on August 30th, 2021. This is a homecoming of sorts for Michelmore, as she previously served as a postdoctoral fellow here at the University of Michigan. 

Prior to coming to the Ford School, Dr. Michelmore served as an assistant professor of public administration and international affairs at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School. 

Michelmore’s research focuses on the social safety net, education policy, labor economics, and economic demography. In addition, she is recognized as an expert on the Earned Income Tax Credit’s efficacy and impact on children. Her appointment further bolsters Ford’s exceptional social policy faculty. 

We’re thrilled to have Dr. Michelmore join the Ford community this summer. For more information about her hiring and background, please visit our website. Stay tuned for future hiring announcements!