Naomi Wilson wins Ford Dissertation Fellowship, Poverty Solutions GSRA funding, Rackham Public Scholarship Grant

May 14, 2020

Naomi Wilson, PhD Candidate in Educational Studies, was awarded a Ford Dissertation Fellowship, funding through the U-M Poverty Solutions Graduate Student Research Assistant program (GSRA), and a Rackham Public Scholarship Grant. 


Her dissertation for this research is titled “YOU DREAM: Youth Organizers Unifying Detroit and Reclaiming Education by Any Means.” Wilson seeks to understand how youth organizers of color work across race and ethnicity to fight for educational justice in Detroit. 

The Ford Fellowship and GSRA funding both support her community-based research with a local education activist organization in Detroit. Ford Fellowships are awarded in a national competition administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on behalf of the Ford Foundation. They recognize individuals who demonstrate superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well-prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. 

The U-M GRSA award is given to a maximum of three doctoral students to pursue research projects that seek to prevent and alleviate poverty in Michigan, the nation and the world. GSRA positions are awarded to the most exceptionally creative, action-based, and impactful projects.

To further support their advocacy efforts, Wilson and the local Detroit education activist organization also won a Rackham Public Scholarship Grant to connect youth activists from Los Angeles, CA and Detroit, MI to learn from each other and share best practices on coalition-building within large cities. Rackham Public Scholarship Grants support mutually beneficial projects between Rackham students and a broad spectrum of community partner organizations like civic organizations, cultural institutions, government agencies, schools, and community groups. Grant projects result in products that advance new knowledge, enrich civic life, or address a pressing social issue. The grants include access to resources, networking and training opportunities, and professional development for publicly-engaged careers inside and outside of the academy. 

Naomi Wilson is advised by Dr. Camille Wilson, who facilitated her connection with the organization in Detroit under Dr. Wilson’s Community-based Research on Equity, Activism, and Transformative Education (CREATE) project.