PPIA Program

“Diversity & Leadership in Public Service”

Farouk Ophaso


Farouk Ophaso is currently a Budget Review Professional for the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget. After attending the Junior Summer Institute at the University of Michigan in 2002, he went on to graduate from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in History.

Before being selected as a PPIA Fellow, Farouk had an interest in public service but he wasn’t sure how to get there. No one in his family had ever worked in public service and he didn’t think he had the right resources to pursue this option as a career.  He also wasn’t quantitatively oriented and was intimidated by courses like economics and statistics.

Farouk credits PPIA with giving him an introduction to public policy and the confidence to tackle the quantitative classes he needed to attend graduate school. “Without PPIA, I am almost certain that graduate school in public policy would have been out of reach.” After PPIA, Farouk translated his degree in History into a career in public service by attending the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. He graduated in 2006 with a Master’s in Public Policy. His graduate degree gave him access to incredible job opportunities. He has worked for the Department of Defense, the White House, and now in the U.S. Senate.

For Farouk, public service means having a dedication to issues that will never produce profits or headline news but will always have a direct impact on the citizens of our country.  “I view public servants as those who work every day to protect our country from foreign threats, make sure our roads, railways, and airways are maintained and safe, ensure we have clean air and water, provide aid to foreign countries who need it, deliver services to the poor and elderly, and a whole number of other things that keep our country competitive, prosperous, and free.”