Connect with a master’s student

Our student ambassadors are excited to meet you and answer your questions about the Ford School experience, so ask them anything you would like to know about being a Fordie. Check out their biographies and policy interests to learn more about them, and connect with a current Fordie today!

Student ambassadors will rotate on a monthly basis. If none of the students listed share your policy interests, please contact so that we may assist you in connecting with a Fordie.

Our student ambassadors

Maggie Barnard
Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Maggie currently volunteers as Amnesty International USA's Country Specialist for Tanzania. After a Fulbright Fellowship to Arusha, Tanzania, her desire to work in the U.S.-East Africa international development field was affirmed. Previously, Maggie worked as a Refugee Case Manager with Migration & Refugee Services. In this role, she secured a federal grant to open the Center for Survivors of Torture in Ohio. Thereafter, she was promoted to work as a Job Developer, where she leveraged community partnerships to help refugees secure employment. After working in direct service with MRS, Maggie moved to New York City in 2017 to join Human Rights First as the Development Operations Manager and Refugee Protection Associate. She contributed to and edited several policy recommendations.

Policy interests: human rights, international development, national security & international diplomacy


Alex Baum
Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Alex Baum joins the Ford School community after spending five years in New York City where he helped university faculty design online graduate courses for distance learners. Prior to this work, Alex spent a year as a legal assistant helping attorneys prepare for litigation matters ranging from white-collar crime to immigration. As an undergraduate at Northwestern University, Alex pursued an honors thesis studying how families teach and learn during board game play. He spent a term in Durban, South Africa studying how one school leverages relationships with surrounding community organizations to serve its students. An Ann Arbor native, Alex is grateful to be returning to his maize and blue roots to study at the Ford School.

Policy interests: climate change, education, health


Paul Capp
Master of Public Policy/Master of Business Administration (MPP/MBA)

Paul is a dual-degree MBA/MPP candidate at Ross and the Ford School of Public Policy interested in how the intersection of civic technology, business, and the public sector impact urban education, mobility, and economic development. Prior to Michigan, he spent four years working in education governance at the state and city level in Washington, DC and New Orleans, LA. Previously he worked as a management consultant in Boston after graduating from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service with an BSFS in International Politics.

Policy interests: education, public & nonprofit management, science & technology


Alison Christiansen
Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Alison Christiansen is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Policy from the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Alison previously earned a Bachelor of Science and Engineering in Computer Science from the University of Michigan in 2014. She then worked as a software engineer in California at a startup and then at Google. Alison is interested in the intersection of technology and public policy, especially how government needs to evolve to address the unique challenges of an increasingly technical world. 

Policy interests: ethics, policy & communication, science & technology


Bethany Haddad
Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Bethany Haddad believes strong climate policy and action is needed immediately to meet the needs of future generations. At the Ford School, Bethany is learning the intricacies of State and Local Renewable Energy Policy, as well as how international climate pledges are adopted and enforced. Bethany is a first-year MPP and hopes to secure an environmental policy internship this summer. Before Ford, she worked at a private sector food technology startup as an analyst.

Policy interests: environment, poverty & social welfare


Maxwell Kaufman
Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Maxwell Kaufman, a second-year Master of Public Policy student, has six years of professional experience in planning, development, and research spanning the City of Detroit, rural Minnesota, and India. Maxwell's academic and professional careers have focused on international relations, human rights, and equitable development. He is also a 2011 recipient of the U.S. State Department's Critical Language Scholarship for Arabic. In 2018 Maxwell ran for the Minnesota House of Representatives in the rural district that encompasses his hometown. Maxwell's academic interests are in policy analysis, migration, and diplomacy. His summer 2020 internship was with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. 

Policy interests: analytic methods, international development, national security & international diplomacy


Maia O’Meara
Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Maia joins the Ford School after four years of work in child welfare research, first in Chicago and then at Child Trends in Bethesda, MD. A Midwesterner at heart, she grew up in Kent, OH, went to college at the University of Chicago, and (even while living on the east coast) managed to find a D.C. bar that specifically caters to Chicago and Michigan ex-pats. While at Ford, she hopes to study migration policy and quantitative methods, find time to hike/cross-country ski, and probably join (another) book club.

Policy interests: analytic methods, human rights, national security & international diplomacy


Kate Randall
Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Born in Grand Rapids, MI and raised in Cincinnati, OH, Kate studied International Business, Finance, and Spanish in her undergraduate career. Her studies in both Cuba and Peru led Kate to realize that her passion wasn't on Wall Street; it was giving back to the global community. In her free time, she likes to swim, do puzzles, and read the latest historical fiction novel.

Policy interests: Human Rights, International Development, International Macroeconomics & Finance, International Trade & Investment, Poverty & Social Welfare, Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship


Bryan Ricketts
Master of Public Policy/Master of Business Administration (MPP/MBA)

Bryan Ricketts is studying corporate power and its impact on American citizens, focused particularly on the financial services industry. These interests have led him to pursue both an MPP and an MBA at the University of Michigan. This past summer, he interned with the Federal Reserve where he worked on projects about derivatives regulation and central bank digital currency. Previously, he wrangled data for the executive branch of Illinois State Government, including a fellowship in the Governor’s Office. Bryan completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame where he also served as Student Body President.

Policy interests: competition & regulation, finance & financial markets, macroeconomics & finance


Isabella St. Onge
Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Isabella St. Onge recently returned from her time volunteering in Peace Corps Ukraine where she worked with a local NGO to help assist internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Crimea and the war with Russia in the east. Despite being evacuated from her service due to COVID-19, Ms. St. Onge was able to promote inclusive education practices, civic activism, and best practices for small business within the IDP community. Before her time in the Peace Corps, Ms. St. Onge graduated from Dartmouth College with a double major in Economics and in Government and focused her studies within international and economic development. She also was a member of the varsity women’s Rowing team during her time at Dartmouth.

Policy interests: human rights, international development, national security & international diplomacy


Marissa Uchimura
Master of Public Policy/Master of Business Administration (MPP/MBA)

Originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Marissa Uchimura is pursuing a dual MPP/MBA at the University of Michigan. A lifelong pursuit of the arts brought her to Vanderbilt University, where she graduated with double majors in piano performance and public policy studies. Teaching music sparked an interest in educational inequity, and Marissa spent the next two years as a high school English teacher in Baltimore, Maryland with Teach for America. After leaving the classroom, Marissa served as a Governor’s Management Fellow for the State of Tennessee, where she led cross-agency operational initiatives and supported the development of a long-term strategic plan in education. Marissa’s policy interests lie at the intersection of housing, social welfare, and public education.

Policy interests: education, public & nonprofit management, poverty & social welfare