Q&A with Ford Fund's 2019 Interns

Introducing the newest members of the Ford Fund team — Erika and Justin

DEARBORN, Mich. — For the past several years, Ford Motor Company Fund has hired interns to take on and assist the projects and diligent lifestyle that results in making lives better around the world. This year, those interns happen to be us: Erika Denver and Justin Walters, both entering our senior year at Wayne State University and Eastern Michigan University, respectively.

Erika Denver and Justin Walters
Justin Walters and Erika Denver are 2019 Ford Motor Company Fund interns.

Erika Denver

Where are you from?

I was born in Columbiaville, Mich., but moved to Waterford at a young age where I attended grade school and still live today. 

What is your major?

Entering my senior year at Wayne State University majoring in public relations and minoring in new media.

What do you like to do for fun in your free time?

Erika Denver atop a cheer leading pyramid

I’ve always loved the idea of filming and creating content. At the age of 11, I began using a video editing system on the computer and started to film, edit and create videos in my free time. I’ve been utilizing that passion of mine here at Ford Fund, and continue to post on my YouTube channel any chance I get. Other things I like to do in my free time include traveling with family and friends, and I also love to tumble and stunt. 

Fun fact: I was a cheerleader for 8 years!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I definitely see myself in a corporate setting, out of state. I want to explore all areas and have my 20’s be the years where I find myself and where I belong with the focus of public relations as my career. Having this internship will definitely guide me in the right direction as a professional upon graduation.

What has been your favorite part of the internship so far?

My favorite part of the internship so far is simply gaining experience, small or big, and that every day I get to try something new. Also, the staff has welcomed us interns with open arms and continue to make us feel just as important as the rest of the team.

What are you looking forward to in the second half of the internship?

I simply am looking forward to more new experiences that this internship has to offer and taking advantage of learning and picking up on everything I can in the short time we have left. I believe this internship will help me grow as an individual and it will be interesting to look back and reflect on the memories and see the growth made.

Justin Walters

Where are you from?

I’m from the greatest city in the world Detroit, but I now live in Macomb, Mich.

What is your major?

Entering my senior year at Eastern Michigan University majoring in marketing.

Fun fact: I always loved business growing up. In fact, I used to sell candy and homemade necklaces to my classmates.

What do you like to do for fun in your free time?

Justin Walters playing guitar

I’ve played the guitar for about 10 years and have loved every minute of it, so I spend a lot of time practicing or recording music. I name all of my guitars and my favorite one to play is my Les Paul (her name is Leslie). In addition, I love to read and write so I usually am reading either self-help books or writing poetry in my free time. Last year I was the president of the EMU Poetry Society and my passion for the art deepened even further.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I hope to see myself delving deeper into the marketing field (hopefully at Ford) after receiving my MBA from graduate school. Although I may not know exactly where I will end up I will make it a priority that whatever I end up doing will positively impact the communities that reflect my identities. In addition, at this point in my life, I hope I am able to give back to my community through mentorship in programs such as the Midnight Golf Program in Detroit and the Poetry Society in Ypsilanti. Programs like these have helped mold me into the person I am now and I would be remiss if I did not give back to them. In addition to being well traveled, I would also like to host an open mic event at some point to encourage youth to be engaged in the arts.

What has been your favorite part of the internship so far?

My favorite part of the internship has been being a part of the week-long Ford Community Impact Fellowship. That week, in particular, allowed me to witness what really makes the Ford Fund a great place to work. They encourage and value diverse perspectives when it comes to problem-solving and the fellowship showed me how much Ford supports including various voices in the discussion of making lives better.

What are you looking forward to in the second half of the internship?

Ford Fund has done an amazing job of integrating the internship position into the work of other people in various areas of the department, and I truly feel that the work that I do is meaningful to people outside of this office. I have learned a lot about the importance of innovation and collaboration in this space. For these reasons, I am really looking forward to leading any future projects with Erika and being able to receive feedback in order to improve our professional skills even further. I also look forward to building more meaningful connections within the department that I can have for the future. There are so many dynamic and creative individuals at the Ford Fund and I cannot wait to continue to learn more.