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Updated 10:00 AM April 20, 2009

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Six outstanding seniors share stories of their U-M careers

Senior stories:
Passion for teaching sends LSA Honors graduate to Teach for America program >
Entrepreneur has big plans for peers >
Ford School student jumps at as many of life's opportunities as she can >
Student poet, playwright finds career path in medicine >
Flutist taking her talent to New York >
Graduation caps years of courage for student with brain injury >

Some 4,000 undergraduates are expected to participate in Spring Commencement May 2 as the ceremony moves back to Michigan Stadium, following a year on the Diag due to construction at the Big House. Among those receiving diplomas is a small group of students who make up the first official undergraduate class from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Soon to celebrate its 95th year, the Ford School began as an institute to train students to become public servants. In its more recent history, the school offered masters' and doctoral programs, and courses that undergraduates could take but no degrees at the bachelor's level. In 2007 the school admitted its first undergraduate class of members that had completed their sophomore years upon entry.

Although two from the pioneer class graduated in December, the official first class to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy will receive diplomas next month. Among the 54 students is Elle Beard, whose credentials include study abroad and a 2006 internship with then U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.

Each year the University Record features stories of outstanding graduates in its pre-commencement issue. In addition to Beard, this year's profiles include Elise Shope, a standout flutist in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance; Brandon Geiger, a College of Engineering senior who overcame a severe head injury; Megan Madison, an LSA Honors College student inspired to join Teach for America; Anita Bing, a Stephen M. Ross School of Business senior who started a low-cost planning service; and Eric Mills, an LSA neuroscience major who also loves poetry.

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