Gerald R. Ford Presidential Fellowship
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Gerald R. Ford Presidential Fellowship
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Fellowship will honor the legacy of President Ford and support an effort to raise $3 million to permanently endow two full graduate fellowships for the most exceptional Ford School applicants.
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Fellows will exemplify the president’s commitment to bipartisan cooperation and civility, be deeply and positively engaged in community service, and intend to pursue a lifelong career in the public sector.
Citizenship, service, and leadership
When Gerald R. Ford returned to Grand Rapids, Michigan, from World War II service, he chose to run for public office. It wasn't because he sought the limelight, but because he believed strongly in a bold, constructive vision for a globally-engaged post-war America—a vision diametrically opposed to that of his Congressional district’s five-term incumbent. The voters agreed, and for the next six decades, Ford never looked back, never stopped leading.
The fellowship campaign
In keeping with President Ford’s legacy, the Ford School seeks to inspire the next century of citizens, public servants, and leaders. On the occasion of the100th anniversary of the Ford School and the 101st anniversary of President Ford’s birth, we launch an effort to raise $3 million to permanently endow two full graduate fellowships for the most exceptional Ford School applicants. Gerald R. Ford Presidential Fellows will:
- Exemplify the president’s commitment to bipartisan cooperation and civility,
- Be deeply and positively engaged in community service, and
- Intend to pursue a lifelong career in the public sector.
Endowed fellowships (covering full tuition, a generous stipend, internship funding, and professional development activities) allow us to recruit exceptionally talented master’s degree students—then give them the education and tools they will need as leaders. With full support, these students can engage fully in the school’s many events and activities, can participate in unpaid internships that offer invaluable professional experiences, and can serve in leadership roles in the school’s many student organizations. In President Ford’s name, these fellows will go on to build their own legacies, serving the interests of our state and nation by analyzing issues creatively and objectively, identifying actionable policy solutions, and building bipartisan consensus. Every gift and pledge up to $1 million will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a generous donation from the Meijer Foundation. The Meijer Foundation believes in the legacy of President Ford–and in the power of a Ford School education to build a better future.
Megan Nestor, the 2017 Gerald R. Ford Presidential Fellow, spent close to a decade working with non-profit organizations that combat the systemic inequities facing low-income students of color. Prior to joining the Ford School, she served as program director of The Opportunity Network, an organization that helps historically underrepresented students prepare for college and careers. During that time, Nestor also served as an avid volunteer for the Appalachian Mountain Club's Youth Opportunities Program, which works to introduce urban youth to outdoor adventures. Nestor has a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Michigan and is working toward a master's degree in public policy at the Ford School.
Bilal Baydoun, the 2015 Gerald R. Ford Presidential Fellow, is a foreign policy associate at the Clinton Foundation. Prior to this role, Baydoun focused his policy education on government performance management, U.S. social policy, and international affairs. In 2016, he served as the foreign policy intern at the Clinton Foundation, supporting the foundation’s international engagements and government relations capacity. Baydoun was previously a business analyst at the Detroit-based Data Consulting Group, where he worked to deliver solutions in multiple corners of the healthcare sector. As a first-generation college student, he volunteered extensively for Doors of Opportunity, a student-led organization that provides financial aid and college admissions advice to secondary students in Dearborn's Arab community. Baydoun holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Michigan and a master's degree in public policy from the Ford School.