Riecker Michigan Delegation Fellowship

The Riecker Michigan Delegation Fellowship

In the winter of 2016, the Ford School piloted an exciting new fellowship: the Riecker Michigan Delegation Fellowship. Named for Margaret (Ranny) Riecker, a longtime friend and generous benefactor of our school, this fellowship sent one competitively selected graduate student to Washington, DC each winter to complete a six-month assignment with a senator or representative from the state of Michigan. The fellow also receives in-state tuition (or the equivalent amount) for the fall semester immediately following the time in DC.

The first Riecker Fellow was assigned to support the work of Senator Debbie Stabenow (Michigan’s senior senator) in her work as ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.  Since that time, the program has expanded, now sending two students each Winter semester to support members of the Michigan delegation. Fellows also work with a leadership coach during the time in DC and participate in other leadership programming when back on campus.

For 2021, given the pandemic and remote work of most congressional offices, the Riecker Fellowship is currently on hold and may be modified as a Summer 2021 shorter-term experience.  More details to come.  

  • The Riecker Michigan Delegation Fellowship provides an opportunity for two continuing MPP students to engage with timely and important issues supporting members of the Michigan delegation in the center of our nation’s capital. The fellow receives a powerful firsthand introduction to the policymaking and political process while learning about:

    • the legislative process by researching and analyzing legislation for assigned issue areas, preparing bills for introduction or markup, attending and monitoring progress and developments in committees, and drafting briefings to inform the member’s floor and committee work
    • the myriad organizations and actors engaged in shaping U.S. policy at the state and federal level, including advocacy groups, unions, political action committees, private foundations, etc.
    • the budget and appropriations process, which defines annual programs and priorities for federal executive departments and independent agencies alike.
    • key constituent concerns of Michigan citizens—who communicate with members to share their knowledge, experience, concerns, and aspirations.

    Eligibility

    The fellowship is open to all MPP students in good standing – domestic and international – who have completed the first year of Ford School coursework, including the summer internship. Competitive applicants will be able to conduct independent, non-partisan research; to analyze issues thoroughly and thoughtfully; and to provide clear and concise written and oral briefings. The selected fellow will be an effective communicator and team player who can represent the member’s office with constituents, advocates, stakeholders, and other legislative staff.

    Should you have any questions regarding your funding, please contact our fellowships manager at fspp-fellowships@umich.edu.

    For each vote, each new proposal, each budget discussion, each committee hearing, members of Congress are required to study complex issues well enough to make informed, and often difficult decisions. To do this, representatives need staff and volunteers who can conduct independent, non-partisan research; who can analyze issues thoroughly and thoughtfully; who can understand the needs of local and national stakeholders; and who can write briefings and draft legislation—all while representing their offices well in interactions with constituents, advocates, stakeholders, and other legislative staff.

    For the selected students, the Riecker Michigan Delegation Fellowship provides an opportunity to experience the legislative process throughout the winter session. Fellows may be assigned to support the member’s committee work or to serve as part of the policy staff in the member’s office.

    Previous Riecker Fellows have supported the offices of U.S. Senator Gary Peters in his work as ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Others have supported the work of Representative John Moolenaar and his work on the House Appropriations Committee. Projects are assigned based on the immediate needs of the office taking into consideration the skills, experience and policy interests of the fellow.   

    Work considerations

    The selected fellows will be subject to all code of conduct rules for congressional staff and will be required to attend an ethics training session to review these requirements during the first few weeks of the fellowship. Students will be unable to work on any issues in which U-M holds a legislative interest. This includes, but is not limited to, higher education policy issues (such as student financial aid, research funding, and student visas). International fellows will be unable to work on projects that would enable them to influence U.S. policy in a way that benefits their home country.​

    For 2021, given the pandemic and remote work of most congressional offices, the Riecker Fellowship is currently on hold and may be modified as a Summer 2021 shorter-term experience.  More details to come.  

    Margaret Ann (Ranny) Riecker (HLLD '05), who passed away in Midland, Mich., on April 7, 2014 was among the Ford School's most generous volunteers and supporters. Her philanthropy through the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation (where she was president), the Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation (where she was chair), and personal giving with her late husband John Riecker (AB '52, JD '54), has been instrumental in the Ford School's advancement over the years:

    • helping to construct the school's building through the naming of the Margaret Dow Towsley Reading Room in honor of Ranny's late mother;
    • launching the Towsley Foundation Policymaker-in-Residence program, which brings individuals with significant policymaking experience to campus to engage with students and faculty; and
    • advancing the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program through funding for competitively selected postdoctoral fellows.

    A former Republican National Committee member, Ranny Riecker was a frank advocate for a Michigan characterized by a diverse economic base, effective health care, informed policy, civility in public life, a vital nonprofit sector, and respect for the value of education.