Oakland University awards scholarships to Pontiac nonprofit professionals

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August 07, 2019

Scholarship recipients pictured from left: Catherine Johnson, God Is Raising Devoted Ladies of Excellence; Glen Konopaskie, Pontiac Transportation Museum; Brent Sykes, Pontiac Youth Assistance; and Shannon Smith, Lighthouse of Oakland County. Not pictured: Melissa McQueen, Oakland Integrated Healthcare Network

Each year, as part of the OU-Pontiac Initiative, OU's Master of Public Administration Program provides scholarships for Pontiac nonprofit professionals to pursue a Nonprofit Management Certificate.   

This year’s scholarship recipients are:  

  • Catherine Johnson, God Is Raising Devoted Ladies for Excellence (G.I.R.D.L.E.)
  • Glen Konopaskie, Pontiac Transportation Museum
  • Melissa McQueen, Oakland Integrated Healthcare Network
  • Shannon Smith, Lighthouse of Oakland County
  • Brent Sykes, Pontiac Youth Assistance 

The scholarship recipients are working toward completing the yearlong program, which follows curriculum guidelines from the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council. Taught by executive leaders, courses cover a variety of topics in the nonprofit sector, including best practices, entrepreneurship, financial management and accountability, performance metrics, marketing and outreach.

Past scholarship winners include Kermit Williams, City of Pontiac Council President; Ryan Russell, Pastor at Woodside Bible Church and involved with Dream Center of Pontiac and the Oakland County Sherriff PAL program (also working with Healthy Pontiac, We Can! through the OU-Pontiac Initiative); Cole Yoakum, of Micah 6 and Sprout (also part of Healthy Pontiac, We Can!) and Maggie Razdar, President and Founder of Kids Standard Magazine.

The scholarship program supports the OU-Pontiac initiative’s Building Capacity for Nonprofits and Neighborhoods pillar. Other pillars include Arts and Culture, Civic Engagement, Economic and Workforce Development, Health Care and Wellness, and PK-16 Education.

To learn more about the OU-Pontiac Initiative, visit

Nonprofit Management Certificate Information Session August 28

Oakland’s MPA program will host an information session for those interested in being part of the 2019-2020 Nonprofit Management Certificate cohort. The event will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28, in room 479 of Varner Hall on Oakland’s Rochester campus. For more information, contact Suzanne Rossi at or (248) 370-4117.

Eric Reikowski, Public Information Specialist

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