News

Michelle Obama

TFK 2013 Person of the Year Nominee

December 05, 2013

CHUCK KENNEDY—THE WHITE HOUSE/GETTY IMAGES

As First Lady, Michelle Obama has raised awareness of childhood obesity, good eating habits, and exercise. Now, she is turning her attention to education. In 2013, she launched a new campaign to increase college graduation rates among students from low-income families.

Obama is working with the U.S. Department of Education to increase the number of college graduates in the U.S. Many students who come from low-income families don’t apply to, attend, or finish college. Only about half of the 2011 high school graduates from low-income families enrolled in college right after high school, which is far lower than the rate for students from high-income families.

As part of this education initiative, the First Lady visits high schools around the country and uses social media to connect with students. She speaks with the students about her education experiences while growing up in Chicago, Illinois. Obama commuted by bus for more than an hour to get to one of the city’s most selective high schools.

After high school, Obama attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She worked at a Chicago law firm, where she met Barack Obama. In 1996, she followed in her mother’s footsteps by taking a job at the University of Chicago as Associate Dean of Student Services. In January 2009, when her husband became President, she became the nation’s first African-American First Lady.

Obama continues to work on other causes as well. In 2010, she started her Let’s Move! Campaign to inspire kids to eat right and get in shape. This campaign is designed to combat childhood obesity. In 2011, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, launched Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative to support military families. The campaign raises awareness about the needs of military families in the areas of employment, education, and wellness. It also encourages communities to give back to our service members and their families.

For her efforts to improve college graduate rates, decrease childhood obesity, and better the lives of military family members, Michelle Obama is a nominee for TFK’s 2013 Person of the Year.

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