Admitted student activities

Coming up

Between now and mid-April, when admissions responses are due, we’re organizing a broad suite of opportunities for you to spend time with members of the Ford School community. Please see below for a schedule of events. In addition, members of our community, including our current students, alumni, and faculty, will be contacting you beginning March 18. We hope you will enjoy these opportunities to learn more about the Ford School and to ask questions about the program.

Most sessions will be recorded and available for viewing after the event.

Welcome home series
  • Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EDT
    Format: Q&A session

    Join us for a special welcome event with Dean Barr and an interactive Q&A session with the Student and Academic Services team.

    Kaltura Video

    Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EDT (US)
    Format: Q&A session

    Learn how the Ford School’s Graduate Career Services team accelerates career development, supports internship and job searches, and prepares students to be leaders in public service. Led by Director Jennifer Niggemeier and Associate Director Peter Vasher.

    Kaltura Video

    Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EDT (US)
    Format: Networking with community

    Kaltura Video

    Our curriculum is rigorous, relevant, interdisciplinary, and hands-on. Learn about our rigorous academics, grounded in social science research and quantitative analysis, directly from our world-class faculty. This event features a faculty panel and breakout rooms, where students will have the opportunity to interact with faculty and staff in small groups. During the breakout rooms, students will have the opportunity to select from the following four rooms:

    Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EDT (US)
    Format: Networking with community

    Kaltura Video

    Learn about the opportunities for practical, hands-on experiences offered through our dynamic research centers. This event features two breakout room sessions where students will have the opportunity to interact with faculty in small groups. 

    Students will have the opportunity to select from the following breakout rooms:

    • International policy with Professor John Ciorciari
    • Poverty and social policy with Professor Luke Shaefer
    • Community engagement with DeAndre Calvert, community engagement manager, and Cindy Bank, associate director, both of the Ford School's Program in Practical Policy Engagement; and Christie Baer, assistant executive director of the Center on Finance, Law, and Policy 
    • Travel and simulation courses with Professor Ann Lin

    Kaltura Video

    Time: 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. EDT (US)
    Format: Networking with community

    Ford School alumni are an important part of our community. Engage directly with alums who now work in a variety of sectors and on many different policy issues.


    Jackie Barocio (MPP ‘16), California Legislative Analyst’s Office
    Jacqueline Barocio is a Principal Fiscal and Policy Analyst at the Legislative Analyst’s Office, an office of fiscal and policy advisors to the California Legislature. She primarily covers long-term care and aging issues. In her role, Jacqueline provides fiscal and programmatic expertise and nonpartisan analysis of the state budget to Legislative staff and members. In addition, Jacqueline works on a number of independent research projects, including statistical analysis of the aging population in California and evaluating the various ways the state can structure new food benefit assistance programs for seniors and persons with disabilities. Jacqueline received a bachelor degree in Political Science and Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley in 2013. Jacqueline went on to receive a Master of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.  

    Naomi Goldberg (MPP ‘07), Movement Advancement Project
    Naomi Goldberg is the director of policy and research at the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), an LGBT think tank, leading policy work and work designed to understand and increase the capacity of the LGBT movement. Goldberg’s work at MAP includes co-authoring a series of reports and leading partnerships with progressive and LGBT organizations to increase the visibility of LGBT people and issues within progressive movements and to highlight the need for progressive policy change to advance LGBT equality. Prior to joining MAP, Goldberg completed a public policy fellowship at the Williams Institute at UCLA’s School of Law. In addition to being a proud Ford School graduate, she is also an alumna of Mount Holyoke College. Goldberg lives in Ann Arbor with her son and wife, who is on faculty at the University of Michigan.

    Michael Manansala (MPP ‘17), DT Global
    Michael Manansala is a public policy professional with over eight years of experience in global development and international affairs. He is adept at convening multiple stakeholders from the private sector, multilateral organizations, development banks, civil society, government, and local organizations to develop and propose complex programs to the U.S. Government. Michael’s expertise includes good governance, anti-corruption, public financial management, entrepreneurship, agricultural systems, trade and investment, women’s empowerment, global health, climate change, ICT development, and cybersecurity. At present, he is the Business Development Manager for Economic Growth, Governance, and Agriculture at DT Global Inc, an international development consulting firm based in Washington, DC. Michael previously worked for: FHI 360 as a Proposal Manager for Global Health, Population, and Nutrition; Pearson Ventures as a Fellow for the Affordable Private Education Centers; DAI Global as an Africa Region Associate; and Optimal Solutions Group as a Research Analyst. In DC, Michael served as the Alumni Chapter Director for the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Program, a national fellowship program that aims to expand diversity and inclusion in public service. As a Filipino-American immigrant raised in Minnesota, Michael is eager to engage in partnerships between development organizations (bilateral donors, multilateral development banks, foundations) and private sector companies in order to unlock solutions in resource-constrained settings around the world. Furthermore, as an Asian-American man who is part of the LGBTQ community, Michael is committed to facilitating an inclusive workplace that values diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and life experiences. Michael earned a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan and he received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Macalester College.  

    Policy issues: Breakout session 1 hosts

    Social policy

    Sam Arrona (MPP ‘13), Kitamba Consulting
    Sam previously served as the Executive Director of Family Support for Newark Public Schools. She managed Newark’s Family Support Center and Contact Center, which helped students, and families with all issues related to school enrollment. Prior to her work at NPS, Sam served as a leader in the classroom. She taught for five years in Houston, Texas in both district and charter schools. Sam completed her Master in Public Policy at the University of Michigan and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Latin American Studies. 

    Anand Sharma (MPP ‘11), Center for the Study of Social Policy
    Anand Sharma is a senior associate at the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) in Washington, DC. Sharma partners with foundations and federal agencies to learn from and provide technical assistance and leadership development in support of efforts to effect community change in the United States. He has provided capacity building support to leaders and partners of various place-based initiatives, including grantees of the U.S. Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods program and the federal interagency Building Neighborhood Capacity Program. Before joining CSSP, Sharma served as a public school teacher and as a legislative correspondent at the New York City Council. He holds an MPP from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and an executive program certificate in social impact strategy from the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. He is certified in the EQ-i 2.0 and EQ 360 emotional intelligence assessments as well as the Team Emotional and Social Intelligence survey. He also completed the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Results Count™ Practitioner Program.

    International development and foreign affairs

    Avery Avrakatos (MPP/MPH ‘18), Bureau for Global Health, U.S. Agency for International Development
    Avery Avrakotos, MPH, MPP, co-leads the Social and Behavior Change Interagency Technical Working Group for the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative. In that capacity, she works to advance technical issues at the global and country level, provides technical guidance to country malaria programs on issues related to social and behavior change, and supports the management of USAID’s flagship social and behavior change programs. Avery also plays an active role in social and behavior change initiatives internally and externally, including the Bureau for Global Health Social and Behavior Change Advisors Group and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria Social and Behavior Change Working Group. As a Presidential Management Fellow at USAID, Avery played a role in the Agency’s response to several major crises, including the outbreak of Ebola in North Kivu in 2018 and the ongoing response to SARS-CoV-2. Avery served as a member of USAID’s COVID-19 Task Force, where she supported coordination efforts with the U.S. Government, international organizations, the donor community, foundations, the private sector, and others to ensure effective and streamlined support to the global effort to combat COVID-19. Prior to starting at USAID, Avery served as a Global Health Security Fellow within the Division of Global Health Protection at the CDC. In that capacity, Avery assisted with the implementation of the Global Health Security Agenda and the World Health Organization’s Joint External Evaluation. She has also worked extensively in the field of research ethics and oversight and conducted research on social and behavior change efforts globally. Linkedin:

    Nicole Porreca (MPP ‘04), Office of U.S. Senator Tim Kaine
    Nicole Porreca is Senator Tim Kaine's (D-VA) Senior Foreign Policy Advisor. Senator Kaine serves on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees. He is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues. Prior to this position, Nicole was the Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the White House National Security Council. From 2011-2012, she was the Deputy Director for the Pakistan Desk at the State Department and from 2005-2010, she was a Foreign Affairs Officer in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs focused on Middle East and South and Central Asia security issues. She joined the State Department in 2005 as a Presidential Management Fellow. Nicole has also worked as a legislative analyst for the Department of Defense, a research analyst for the U.S. Agency for International Development and as a grant writer for Drexel University. She is the recipient of the Department of State Officer of the Year Award for Political-Military Affairs, the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service, and is a Council on Foreign Relations Term Member. Nicole holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and a MPP from the University of Michigan. She is originally from Philadelphia.


    Suzanne Gill Korma (MPP '09), BRMI
    Suzanne Komara is a multi-faceted Program Manager with over 10 years of experience working with a variety of stakeholders to enhance the business execution of Information Technology (IT). She has extensive experience implementing Federal IT requirements from essential records and disaster recovery planning to the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) and IT modernization efforts. Ms. Komara has successfully implemented change management initiatives to obtain improvements in IT resource management. During her career, she has supported the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Secret Service and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

    Simon Tam (MPP ‘11) Deloitte LLP
    Simon Tam is a Strategy and Analytics Consultant in the Public Sector practice at Deloitte. In this role, Simon delivers change management, organization design and governance, culture and technology adoption solutions to enable the success of transformation goals for industry leading clients. Previously, Simon served on former President Bill Clinton’s briefing team at the Clinton Foundation where he advised President Clinton and the Foundation’s senior leadership team on a wide range of international issues and policy areas. Simon attained his Master of Public Policy (MPP) at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy where he studied international affairs, diplomacy and security. 

    Tim Trollope (MPP ‘19), Deloitte LLP
    Tim is a Transfer Pricing Consultant at Deloitte Tax LLP in Chicago. He currently works on transfer pricing compliance and income tax controversy projects serving multinational clients. He is passionate about the economics of energy transitions worldwide, climate change and taxing the digital economy. He interned with the World Bank and the German Development Bank (“KfW”) during his graduate studies at U-M.

    Advocacy, social justice, and consulting

    Dara Lieberman (MPP ‘07), Trust for America’s Health
    Dara Alpert Lieberman is TFAH’s Director of Government Relations, overseeing the development and implementation of federal government relations strategies and working to advance and ensure implementation of TFAH policy priorities. Prior to that, Dara served as TFAH’s Senior Government Relations Manager, leading the organization’s advocacy around infectious disease prevention, disease surveillance, and strengthening the nation’s public health emergency preparedness and response capabilities. Ms. Lieberman previously served as a legislative representative for the American Counseling Association, where she advocated for mental health access issues. Ms. Lieberman has also served as a staff member for the Senate Committee on Armed Services. She secured an MPP from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. She graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Public Policy Studies from Duke University. Ms. Lieberman currently serves on the board of directors for Healthcare Ready, a nonprofit that works to protect patient access to healthcare in the face of disaster through collaboration with public health and healthcare.

    Brian Wesolowski (MPA ‘13), Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
    Brian Wesolowski serves as the communications director for Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. In this role, he leads external communications across the organization, including its nonprofit Law Center, 501(c)(4) advocacy arm, and political action committee (PAC), as well as for former Congresswoman Giffords. Brian has more than 15 years of communications and outreach experience, having worked in both organizational and agency settings. Previously Brian served as vice president for external affairs at the Center for Democracy &Technology, a digital rights advocacy nonprofit. He began his career working for DC-based communications and public affairs agencies, supporting a wide range of government, nonprofit and corporate clients. He also served as the director of communications for Qatar’s Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology, the country’s government technology policy body and telecommunications regulatory authority. While in Qatar, he founded and led the country’s affiliate of Creative Commons and worked to promote digital openness. Brian holds a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership and Communications from the University of Richmond and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Michigan, with a specialization in Science and Technology Policy.

    Sectors: Breakout room session 2 hosts

    Federal government

    Jennifer Hong Whetsell (MPP ‘11), National Science Foundation
    Jennifer Hong Whetsell leads the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)'s public affairs team.  Her team is responsible for overseeing NSF's public campaigns, communications planning, and content development for external and internal audiences, as well as managing strategic communication for NSF. Prior to joining NSF, she served as the U.S. Department of State's anti-trafficking expert and served under several secretaries of states in different capacities, ranging from advising on foreign affairs policies and procedures to communicating key policy messages to different stakeholders. She also served as the Deputy Director for the office of public affairs for the Diplomatic Security Service, the law enforcement arm of the State Department. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Art in Legal Studies from University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. 

    Callie Furmaniuk (MPP ‘20), U.S. Department of Treasury
    After graduating with an MPP from the Ford School of Public Policy in 2020, Callie moved to DC to begin her work as a Presidential Management Fellow serving in the Office of the Chief Data Officer (OCDO) at the Bureau of the Fiscal Service. Callie started as an analyst working to stand up a new data governance structure and now works as the Product Owner for www.FiscalData.Treasury.Gov.  Prior to attending Ford, Callie worked at Capital One as a project and product manager in their home loans and retail bank lines of business. Outside of work, Callie enjoys hiking and figure skating (and there are lots of opportunities to do both in Michigan and DC).

    State and local government

    Jackie Barocio (MPP ‘16), California Legislative Analyst’s OfficeJacqueline Barocio is a Principal Fiscal and Policy Analyst at the Legislative Analyst’s Office, an office of fiscal and policy advisors to the California Legislature. She primarily covers long-term care and aging issues. In her role, Jacqueline provides fiscal and programmatic expertise and nonpartisan analysis of the state budget to Legislative staff and members. In addition, Jacqueline works on a number of independent research projects, including statistical analysis of the aging population in California and evaluating the various ways the state can structure new food benefit assistance programs for seniors and persons with disabilities. Jacqueline received a bachelor degree in Political Science and Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley in 2013. Jacqueline went on to receive a Master of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.  

    Lauren Burdette (MPP ‘15), City of Chicago
    Lauren Burdette is the Senior Equity Manager in the City of Chicago's Office of Equity and Racial Justice. In this role, she supports city staff in crafting more transparent and inclusive policies and has worked on key projects such as Chicago Connected and the city's COVID data dashboard. Before joining Mayor Lightfoot's office, Lauren worked as an education policy adviser for the State of Illinois and the United States Senate. She began her career teaching 7th grade math and science in Archer Heights. Lauren received her Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.

    Anna Zinkel Walters (MPP ‘19), Guidehouse, LLP
    Anna Zinkel Walters is a Senior Consultant with Guidehouse Inc.’s State & Local Government team, where she serves clients across the State of Michigan and the Midwest. Guidehouse is a national public sector consulting firm that works with clients to solve complex programs with the ultimate goal of building trust in society. Her areas of specialization lie in business process improvement, strategic planning, and organizational change management. Walters also serves on the Washtenaw Community College Foundation Board, where she is involved with the student success committee, and works to help students optimize their experiences at the college. Anna is a member of the Detroit Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America. Previously, Anna served as a Summer Associate in the Detroit Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, where she researched best practices in fostering equity of access to early childhood education opportunities in low-to moderate income communities. She also led the economic development effort in Livingston County for local economic development organization, Ann Arbor SPARK, and worked as a graduate research assistant for former Congressman Sander Levin, and for the Center for Finance, Law, and Policy at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. She began her career working in state government, where she served as the Director of Constituent Relations for a Michigan State Representative. Anna earned both her Master of Public Policy and her Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Michigan. She lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and their two extremely spirited cats.

    Policy in the private sector

    Brenda Duverce (MPP ‘16), Accenture
    Brenda Duverce is a digital transformation manager at Accenture Federal Services, where she advises senior government executives on business and mission critical challenges. As a management consultant, Brenda has developed expertise in customer experience, business strategy, stakeholder engagement, and transformation strategy and management. Prior to building a career in consulting, Brenda worked as a legislative fellow on Capitol Hill with the Office of Rep. Karen Bass and spent a year in Botswana as a U.S. Fulbright Fellow. Brenda currently resides in Washington, DC. 

    Christine Wagner (MPP ‘14), Google, Inc.
    Christine started her career working in development for nonprofits in the Chicago area. At the Ford School she focused in Social Policy and Nonprofit Management and did her internship with the City of San Francisco’s Department on the Status of Women. After Ford, she joined McKinley Advisors, a consulting firm working with membership-based nonprofits. In her analytics role there she used internal client data to develop membership models, product pricing, marketing and engagement segmentation strategies, and financial and engagement predictive analysis. Now, as an Analytical Lead at Google she works with Government and Advocacy clients to deliver industry insights, measure media effectiveness, and evolve client’s measurement strategies.

    Research institutions

    Omair Khan (MPP ‘18), RAND Corporation
    Omair Khan is an Assistant Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation and a PhD student at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His work at RAND spans a range of topics, including U.S. foreign policy, democracy, and civil conflict. Prior to attending the Ford School, Omair graduated with a B.S. in economics at Georgia State University, and worked at MailChimp as a data analyst. He currently lives in Venice, CA with his wife Carmille Lim, also a graduate of the Ford School.

    Mynti Hossain (MPP ‘11), Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. 
    Mynti Hossain graduated from the Ford School in 2011. She is a researcher at Mathematica where she focuses on qualitative research in health IT policy, health delivery systems, and maternal-child health. Prior to graduate school, she worked for the Healthy Babies Healthy Start program in Michigan. She received her B.A. from Kalamazoo College.

    Kaltura Video

    Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EDT (US)
    Format: Q&A meeting

    Join us for an interactive Q&A session with current Ford School MPP and MPA students.

    • Anne Coglianese (MPA)
    • Darian Burns (MPP)
    • Jon Rodriguez (MPP/MBA)
    • Triana Yentzen (MPP)

    Multiple dates
    Monday, March 29th, 8 p.m. EDT (US) | Register
    MPA happy hour: Thursday, April 1, 8 p.m. EDT (US) | Register
    Friday, April 2nd, 9 a.m. EDT (US) | Register
    Wednesday, April 7th, 7 p.m. EDT (US) | Register

    Join the Ford School's Student Affairs Committee (SAC) for an informal happy hour. Engage directly with current students, who are eager to share their experiences and answer your questions, and meet your fellow admitted students. Feel free to bring a snack, a favorite beverage, or just your eagerness to meet your potential new cohort! 

    A Zoom link will be provided upon registration. Happy hours will not be recorded.

IG live

April 9

Instagram Live: Inside the Ford School

Take a break and join us LIVE on Instagram for a virtual walk around Joan and Sanford Weill Hall, home of the Ford School at the University of Michigan.

Follow @FordSchool on Instagram for updates and to watch LIVE on Friday, April 9th from 10:30-11:00 am EDT (US).
Ford School on Instagram

Later this summer

Admitted student activities will continue into the summer. We'll share more with you over email in the coming months, but here's a preview of what's ahead. 

Policy Talks and public events

Incoming students will be invited to special closed sessions with guest speakers as part of their virtual visits and public talks. We look forward to sharing these details as they are confirmed. View a full listing of all public events at the Ford School.

Career interests and resume reviews

Graduate Career Services wants to get to know your individual intentions and career interests. In mid-summer, stay tuned for an opportunity to share your individual career/employer interests, have your resume reviewed, and gain access to and learn how to navigate the Ford School's internal career management system, FordCareers.

Strengths and leadership/career development

The Ford School Leadership Initiative and Graduate Career Services enables incoming students the opportunity to engage with their strengths, and begin intentional leadership/career development before classes begin. Students have the opportunity to take CliftonStrengths, and engage in introductory sessions as an opportunity to learn more about the tool, begin unpacking your results, and interact with your future classmates. These sessions will be held during the second half of summer and will be followed by opportunities to continue the conversation around strengths before the start of the academic year.