by Geoff Larcom, Published April 02, 2012
YPSILANTI - Pamela Christian, a graduate student in the Eastern Michigan University College of Business, has been selected to participate in a prestigious and challenging federal leadership program.
Christian, of Ypsilanti, was one of just 7 percent - 628 students - chosen as finalists from 9100 applicants in the Presidential Management Fellows Program for 2012. Only 27 students were chosen from the state of Michigan.
Bearing the Presidential moniker, the Presidential Management Fellows program is an entry-level leadership development program for advanced degree candidates. It was created more than three decades ago by Executive Order.
The program seeks to develop a cadre of potential government leaders. The intense experience creates lasting bonds among the fellows while kindling a spirit of public service that can lead to a career in government.
"I am excited to have been selected for the fellowship," Christian says. "It's an honor to represent EMU. I am very grateful for the opportunities EMU has given me throughout my educational experience."
Christian says one of the best things about Eastern is that students have many opportunities to get involved in the campus community.
"There are so many student organizations that give students a chance to grow, through formal and informal leadership roles," Christian says. "EMU is not just about learning in the classroom; being involved outside of the classroom helps prepare us for life after commencement."
Christian, who has a 3.82 GPA, will graduate in April 2012 with a masters in human resources and organizational development and a masters in communication.
She completed her bachelors at EMU in 2010 with a double major in management and communication. She now serves as the president of Eastern's Student Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, and as the President of the College of Business Dean's Board of Student Advisors. The latter group plans the college's annual Ethos Week, dedicated to furthering ethics in business.
Professor Fraya Wagner-Marsh has worked with Christian as a faculty advisor of the EMU Student Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management and also as her advisor for the masters program in human resources and organizational development.
"Pam is a very deserving recipient of this prestigious award," said Wagner-Marsh, who serves as a department head in the Management Department. "She has worked hard, majoring in two areas and getting two masters, plus working as a human resource intern, serving in important leadership roles in the college, and being a mom and a wife.
"She has excelled in working with our diverse student body at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and with our faculty and staff. And she is also willing to participate in outside professional activity. It's amazing how she has managed to be so involved, and to keep her involvement at such a high caliber."
Presidential Management Fellows are in Washington D.C. for two years. They spend the first year undergoing training, taking classes and attending seminars while receiving a stipend. They have the first year to land an appointment with a federal agency.
Permanent employment might come after that, but only two years are guaranteed in the program. The fellows have first dibs on agency job postings, and student loans are re-paid up to $60,000, or $10,000 per year of loans.
In addition to attending EMU classes, Christian is a graduate assistant at EMU. She also works part-time for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through its student employment program.
She lives in Ypsilanti with her husband, Michael, and her 11 year-old daughter, Josephine.
How does Christian keep so many activities in order?
"I am really good at scheduling," she says. "I write everything down in my calendar and review and revise that as necessary.
"It certainly isn't easy, but I also think you have to make thoughtful decisions about what to get involved in. I had to make tough choices, because there are so many great organizations at EMU, but I had to choose those that were most important to me in regards to my educational experience and my career goals.
"It's really all about prioritizing what is most important - making sure to keep track of all of the meetings and deadlines, and not forgetting to schedule time for yourself.
"I won't lie though, I am really looking forward to sleeping in that first Saturday after Commencement!"