“Meet a Fordie” Student Spotlight: Sydney Thompson (MPP ’22)

Where are you from?
I grew up in Metro Detroit and went to the University of Michigan as an undergraduate.

What were you doing before you came to Ford?
I was previously working at the healthcare software company Epic on the population health team. On this team I managed software development for social determinants of health workflows that assessed patient social needs and connected them to community resources through community health workers, care managers, and social workers.

Why did you choose Ford?
I chose Ford because I loved the close-knit community. I feel like I am part of a group of incredibly talented and passionate people that work to raise each other up and help one another academically, professionally, and personally. Ford’s emphasis on interdisciplinary policy design also attracted me to the program.

What do you want to do with your Ford degree?
I want to work in the public sector at the local level. I have experience with and am passionate about food policy, sustainability, and process improvement (government accountability and performance). I plan to work as a program manager in one of these areas for a city.

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Faculty Spotlight – Professor Barry Rabe

At the Ford School, our guiding principle is a dedication to the public good. Our faculty and students work every day to develop innovative solutions to the daunting challenges in our world. At this moment in history, perhaps no issue looms larger than human-induced climate change. 

In 2021, we’ve received numerous reminders that we can’t delay in tackling the climate crisis. Devastating wildfires in the West. Catastrophic hurricanes on the Gulf Coast. Unprecedented flooding in major cities here in the Midwest and up and down the Eastern Seaboard. These are just a few examples of the “new normal” we face with our changing climate. The decisions we make in the next few years will reverberate for decades to come. At Ford, we know we can’t afford to wait. 

Enter: Dr. Barry Rabe, PhD. A leading scholar on the political feasibility of carbon pricing and the regulation of short-lived, intensive carbon pollutants like methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Professor Rabe serves as an excellent representation of the Ford School’s commitment to public service. In addition to his research and teaching here in Ann Arbor, Professor Rabe remains actively engaged in policy making at both the state and federal levels. When not teaching courses around campus, he frequently travels to Washington, D.C. to meet with public officials and discuss paths forward on addressing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Professor Rabe’s work has been recognized in the field for his contributions to the study and development of creative climate policies. He is the recipient of four American Political Science Association awards and was most recently presented with the 2021 Distinguished Research Award by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) at the organization’s annual conference. 

Here at Ford, we’re incredibly proud of the remarkable work being conducted by our faculty, students, and staff. As this semester unfolds, stay tuned for more information about the important conversations happening at Weill Hall. 

Research Center Spotlight: International Policy Center

Here at the Ford School, we know that effective policy making requires a global perspective. To find real solutions to our most daunting challenges, we have to look beyond Michigan and the United States to draw lessons from around the world. At the International Policy Center (IPC), Ford School faculty and policy experts conduct rigorous, interdisciplinary research on some of the world’s most complex issues. 

Led by Dr. John Ciociari, the IPC’s mission is to foster important discussions about international policy issues. Through seminars, workshops, and experiential learning opportunities, IPC gives Ford students unparalleled insight into the world of international affairs. 

As part of the center’s research, IPC provides Ford School PhD students with Research Scholar awards and other financial support programs to help fund their academic pursuits. In addition, Ford students can take advantage of IPC’s three overseas learning courses. Students travel to China, Costa Rica, and other locations around the globe to better understand the realities of the policy issues they study here at Weill Hall. 

At Ford, we’re extremely proud of our ever-growing network of research centers dedicated to finding innovative ideas to solve seemingly-intractable problems. As the academic year unfolds, you can expect additional research center spotlights that give you a quick overview of the exciting work being done in Ann Arbor. 

There’s always something going on at the Ford School. Keep checking the “Inside the Ford School” blog to stay up to date with the latest events and developments!