ASPIRE (Applied Social Policy Internship and Research Experience) is an eight-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 to help rising college 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.

This program will provide hands-on experience in applied quantitative social science research. Students will gain an understanding of the types of applied questions social scientists pursue, the methods researchers use to answer these questions, and the ways in which research can influence policy, improve the delivery of services and, ultimately, improve the lives of people. Participants will:

  • Delve into one of YPL’s core policy areas (early childhood education, maternal and infant health, adolescent mental health, career technical education, or workforce development). Execute a guided student project with support from UM faculty/staff.
  • Attend weekly professional workshops intended to align with and support student projects.
  • Hear presentations from UM faculty and staff about careers in social sciences.
  • Participate in meetings with YPL partners such as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services or the Michigan Department of Education with YPL staff.
  • Socialize with YPL staff and other undergraduate students on campus for the summer
2023 ASPIRE Program
Keyla Anderson

Keyla Anderson

Research Question: Do school discipline perceptions in Detroit public schools vary by suspensions & contact with the criminal legal system?
Theo Burden

Theo Burden

Research Question: How does adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) contribute to barriers of mental health services for students in the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD)?
Aleasa Parker

Aleasa Parker

Research Question: What are the marital status and ages of mothers who have three or more home visits for Maternal and Infant Health Program?
Lexi Turner

Lexi Turner

Research Questions:

  • Larger Policy Question: How can public school districts foster better environments that promote healthy identity formation?
  • Targeted Research Question: How do students self reported mental health challenges relate to their peer perceptions?
2024 ASPIRE Program
Khalil Bucknor

Khalil Bucknor

Research Interest: Child Welfare/Foster Care, Mental Health
Morgan Chambers

Morgan Chambers

Research Interest: Elemenraty Math Education, Social Emotional Learning
Chaelee Farquharson

Chaelee Farquharson

Research Interest: Elemenraty Math Education, Social Emotional Learning
Angel Lindner

Angel Lindner

Research Interest: Mental Health, Maternal Infant Health
Jeremiah Lowther

Jeremiah Lowther

Research Interest: Maternal Infant Health, Mental Health
Cori Salter

Cori Salter

Mental Health, Social Emotional Learning