College of Business awards $9,450 in Ford Blue Oval Scholarships to participants of its second annual Entrepreneurship Academy in partnership with Ford Motor Company Fund and Students in Free Enterprise

July 21, 2009

DEARBORN / July 21, 2009---Fourteen public and private high school students from southeast Michigan converged at the University of Michigan-Dearborn from July 6 to July 18 to compete in an exclusive two-week learning experience and business plan competition called the Entrepreneurship Academy.

The program and competition, termed E-Academy for short, aims to prepare high school students for the ever-changing and often unpredictable business world, according to Kerry Thompson, president of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE).

Established in 2008, the E-Academy is a partnership between UM–Dearborn, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services and SIFE, a student networking organization.

Five public and private high schools from across southeast Michigan were asked to select two to three juniors to compete in the academy, which is the result of months of planning on the part of SIFE.

“The E-Academy immerses students in a unique yet overall progressive university experience,” said Patrick Schwager, E-Academy development board member.  “Each high school team is brought up-to-speed on the interpersonal dynamics of business, specifically on how to fine tune academic skills for entrepreneurial application.  Those acquired techniques are then applied to the formation of a business plan with heavy emphasis on product development and team learning.”

The Academy provides team building and individual leadership development opportunities as students work together in teams to create entrepreneurial business plans, with help from volunteers from local businesses, including Ford Motor Company.  Students gain important entrepreneurial skills including networking, sales, technology, critical thinking, financing and public speaking.

UM-Dearborn’s E-Academy is sponsored by Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services as part of its long-standing mission to foster community and academic growth. 

"The E-Academy's focus on a positive hands-on approach to learning exemplifies the mission of the Ford Blue Oval Scholarships," stated Mike Schmidt, director of education and community development for Ford Motor Company Fund. "Our participation in this Academy is one of the many ways that Ford continues to make a difference in southeast Michigan. We are committed to empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs with resources that provide them and the community with hope for a brighter future,” Schmidt added. 

Ford Fund provided $9,450 in Blue Oval Scholarships to the E-Academy.  Each of the participating students received $500 in scholarship funding from Ford Fund with the College of Business offering to double that amount if students choose UM-Dearborn for post high school education. In addition, the winners of the business plan competition received special Ford Blue Oval Scholarships.

On Saturday July 18, student teams faced their final business plan competition, vying for Ford Blue Oval Scholarships with the presentation of their business plans to a panel of judges from the business community.  Nine students received Blue Oval Scholarships as a part of three winning business plan teams.  

The Blue Oval Scholarship 2009 Winners:

Southfield Lathrup High School
Taylor Morris
Jessica Gaddis
William Winbush

Thurston High School
Robyn Gray
Charles Johnson
Alex Price

Stevenson High School
Roxana Laslau
Cassandra Roy

Divine Child High School
Emily Chackunkal
Elizabeth Cheeramvelil
Rima Rida

Woodhaven High School
Melissa Amore
Shelby Munafo
Cameron Smith

For more information, contact Patrick Schwager at 734-968-0589 or visit





CONTACT: Jennifer Thelen
PHONE: 313-593-5644
The Office of University Relations
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