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Spelman Students Chosen for U-M ASPIRE Summer Policy Research Experience Share a Spelman College Press Release

ATLANTA (May 24, 2023) — This summer, four outstanding Spelman College students will participate in the University of Michigan’s Applied Social Policy Internship and Research Experience (ASPIRE) – a seven-week summer program run by the Youth Policy Lab (YPL) at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the Institute for Social Research. The applied research experience will help rising juniors and seniors develop quantitative social science research skills and a greater understanding about what it would be like to pursue a career in public policy research.

The inaugural cohort includes Keyla Anderson, Theo Burden, Aleasa Parker and Lexi Turner – chosen for their passion to create social policy change and their strong backgrounds in research methods and data analysis.

Students will explore research questions and complete individual research projects in one of YPL’s core policy areas: early childhood education, maternal and infant health, adolescent mental health, career technical education, or workforce development. The students will also attend professional workshops and hear from UM faculty and staff about careers in social policy.

"As a very proud Spelman alumna, I am overjoyed to welcome Keyla, Theo, Aleasa and Lexi as our inaugural cohort of ASPIRE research fellows,” said Celeste Watkins-Hayes, interim dean of the Ford School. “Their training, perspectives, and talents will contribute to the Ford School's policy research impact. Moreover, the Ford School-Spelman ASPIRE partnership demonstrates a shared institutional commitment to creating positive social change through rigorous analysis, service, and advocacy."

Read the full University of Michigan Ford School release here.



About the Youth Policy Lab (YPL)
Situated jointly between the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research, YPL employs a team of experienced staff and faculty and engages with experts from across the University of Michigan. YPL partners with public-sector stakeholders to produce actionable insights that help ensure all children thrive, especially those experiencing adverse outcomes due to systemic social and economic barriers.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by theU.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 51 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 5 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 16th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journalhas ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography and collaborations have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones.

To learn more, please visit and @spelmancollege on social media.


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