MSW Advocacy Scholars Program

Cover of Advocacy Scholars Program Flyer

Do you want to...

  • Learn how government works and how you can affect it?
  • Work in communities to help solve social problems?
  • Advocate for rights, fair laws, and more just social policies?
  • Contribute to local and international efforts to help our poorest citizens?
  • Learn how to be an effective advocate for social change?
...then the MSU School of Social Work MSW ADVOCACY SCHOLARS Program is for you!


  • Receive a $5000 scholarship, which is renewable for a second year of study.
  • Complete a field placement in an agency with an advocacy focus.
  • Interact with social program and governmental officials.
  • Participate in a seminar series led by policy advocacy leaders from diverse backgrounds.
  • Learn about the legislative decision-making process from a professional lobbyist.
  • Participate in a two-day bootcamp on how to run for political office.
  • Receive individualized mentoring on education and career development from faculty members with related experience.
  • Take advanced coursework in social activism and policy advocacy skills.

We are creating this program to provide cutting-edge training for the next generation of change agents dedicated to helping society solve difficult social problems. MSU School of Social Work faculty members possess a wealth of expertise in policy advocacy. With our close access to the State Capitol, ongoing relationships with over 500 social service agencies (both government and nonprofit advocacy organizations), leadership in new technology, and small class sizes, the School of Social Work is uniquely positioned to prepare you for effective advocacy practice.

The Advocacy Scholars seminar series for Academic Year 2018-19 will include an impressive line-up of policy advocacy leaders from diverse backgrounds:

  • 09/12/2018 - TARYN GAL, Managing Director of Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health (MOASH) & STUDENT LEADERS
  • 10/17/2018 - JUSTIN HODGE, past candidate for Washtenaw County Commissioner, Clinical Faculty University of Michigan School of Social Work
  • 11/14/2018 - SARIDA SCOTT, Executive Director, Community Development Advocates of Detroit
  • 01/30/2019 - MARIA IBARRA-FRAYRE, Organizer, We the People, Michigan
  • Other speakers will be announced soon.
Troy Rienstra and the Advocacy Scholars Program team

Here's the lineup of Advocacy Scholars seminar series speakers from 2017-2018.

  • 10/18/2017 - AMY ZAAGMAN - Executive Director of the Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health
  • 11/08/2017 - GHIDA DAGHER - Advocacy & Government Relations Manager, United Way for Southeastern Michigan
  • 12/06/2017 - DAVID D. FUKUZAWA - Managing Director of Kresge's Health and Human Services Programs
  • 01/18/2018 - YOUSEF RABHI - 53rd District Michigan State Representative
  • 02/15/2018 - TROY RIENSTRA - Outreach Director, Citizen's Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending (CAPSS)

Here's the lineup of Advocacy Scholars seminar series speakers from 2016-2017.

  • 09/22/16 - PAUL ELAM, President of Public Policy Associates

  • 10/27/16 - GILDA JACOBS, President/CEO, Michigan League for Public Policy & former MI Representative

  • 11/10/16 - STEPHANIE CHANG, MSW, current MI Representative

  • 01/19/17 - RASHIDA TLAIB, Manager of TAKE ON HATE advocacy campaign & Community Partnerships & Development Director for Sugar Law Center
  • 02/23/17 - LONNIE SCOTT, Executive Director of Progress Michigan
  • 03/23/17 - ROSALYNN BLISS, MSW, Mayor of Grand Rapids
  • 04/13/17 - KAREN KAVANAUGH, MSW, Director of the Drug Safety Project, Pew Charitable Trusts

To learn more, contact Dr. Sacha Klein [734-985-0548 or] or see the application instructions on our Advocacy Scholars Program flyer. Your applications to both the MSW and the ADVOCACY SCHOLARS Program must be received by January 10, 2019.