White House Honors Student Group Leaders for Public Service
Students for Educational Policy is a service-based group which began on the Ann Arbor campus four years ago. Their mission is to provide free ACT prep services to high school students in Detroit and Ypsilanti. Michael Maiorano (MIW Winter 2011 Cohort) served as president of the group during the 2011 – 2012 academic year. The group was nominated for the White House Champions of Change Challenge last fall, and selected from a roster of 1,400 applicants as one of the top 15 programs nationwide. Leaders of each group were honored with a visit to the White House and a meeting with President Obama. “I was completely surprised,” said Michael. “I felt so proud of our effort this year. The fifty U of M volunteers gave a great deal to make this happen!”
Michael is from Huntington Woods, Michigan and went to University of Detroit Jesuit High School. During his undergraduate years, he changed majors and career paths multiple times.
"I began taking Psychology courses, thinking I’d become a counselor,” he said. “Then, I became interested in conservationism and wanted to pursue a degree in Ecology. Fascinated with the legal elements of environmental policy, I decided I want to be a lawyer.”
He attributes these changes in direction to diverse interests and a broad and engaging education at the University.
“MIW was an intellectual boot camp for me. Being surrounded highly engaged and competent individuals, especially at my internship, I had to be very focused and knowledgeable. This encouraged me to become more informed about a variety of public policy issues.”
His research topic, an assessment of the business dynamics of School Food Authorities (SFA's) in the National School Lunch Program, provided Michael with an opportunity for tangential learning about the education system, particularly funding aspects. For other students interested in Education Policy, Michael suggests that they consult one of two organizations on the Ann Arbor campus: Students for Education Reform (SFER) or ReDesign. Both encourage students to challenge systemic inequity in the education systems and both have passionate and devoted leaders. He believes that now is a good time to become engaged in education policy because of support from the Obama administration.
When classes resume this fall, Michael will finish his degree in Economics and plans to graduate next spring.