Type: School event

Worldwide Ford School Spirit Day 2021: Leading through crisis

Date & time

Jul 15, 2021, 4:00-5:30 pm EDT


This is a Virtual Event.

Open to the Ford School Community. Email [email protected] to RSVP and receive the Zoom link. 

This year's event, a virtual alumni panel, will highlight the work of Ford School alumni during the pandemic and their leadership across a variety of policy areas. Featured panelists include Ali M. Berri (MPP ‘21), Stacy Dean (MPP '92), Portia Hemphill (PhD '15), and Alberto Rodriguez (MPA/MA '93). Dean Michael S. Barr will moderate. After the panel discussion, attendees will be able to participate in small breakout room discussions. 

Share your Ford School spirit by submitting a video to be a part of a celebratory video montage shown at the beginning of the Spirit Day event. Submit your video by July 10. 

From the speakers' bios

Ali M. Berri (MPP ‘21) is an Emergency Preparedness Specialist for Wayne County, Michigan, where he has been actively working to address and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on Wayne County communities. During his time at Wayne County, Ali has assisted in a multitude of COVID-19 response initiatives, including the establishment of pop-up and permanent COVID-19 testing sites, distribution of over 3 million face masks, and establishing and operating COVID-19 vaccination sites, all while using data analysis to make data-driven decisions. Ali holds a BS in biological sciences from Wayne State University and a Master of Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Stacy Dean (MPP '92) was appointed by President Biden to serve as the Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services where she works to advance the President’s agenda on increasing nutrition assistance for struggling families and individuals as well as tackling systemic racism and barriers to opportunity that have denied so many the chance to get ahead.

Prior to joining President Biden’s Team at USDA, Dean served as the Vice President for Food Assistance Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).  She directed CBPP’s food assistance team, which published frequent reports on how federal nutrition programs affect families and communities and developed policies to improve them.   

Dean earned her BA and master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan.  

Dr. Portia Hemphill (PhD '15) has for over 20 years led efforts to strengthen the cradle to career pipeline for underserved youth. Dr. Hemphill areas of expertise lie in behavioral American politics, Black youth political behavior, cultural politics, historically marginalized group politics, media, and mixed-method data analyses.

Dr. Hemphill has assisted the White House, PolicyLink, Black Futures Lab, and dozens of senior executives in using evidence-based models to evolve the roles institutions play in creating innovative, responsive support systems for underrepresented groups. She currently works as work as a Survey Statistician at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is the founder of Scientists for Social Progress: a nationally representative, cross-collaborative platform and research consulting firm of scientists who develop solutions in the interest of social good.

A first generation college student, Dr. Hemphill is a proud alumna of Chicago Public Schools, Wesleyan University, and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. At Wesleyan, she was recognized as a Bill Gates Millennium Scholar and student leader. 

Alberto Rodriguez (MPA/MA '93, PhD '96) is the Global Director for Strategy and Operations in Human Development at the World Bank, responsible for the strategy and operational aspects of global activities in Health, Education, Gender, Social Protection and Jobs. Over the last year, Rodriguez has been responsible for providing leadership to the World Bank teams responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the largest global effort for vaccine financing and deployment. A Colombian national, Mr. Rodriguez has more than 25 years of experience in international development, with a strong emphasis on human capital and education sector policies. He holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia, and from the University of Michigan he holds an MA in Educational Administration ('93), a Master's in Public Administration ('93), and a PhD in Educational Policy and Administration ('96).

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