Grand Valley Student, Bad Axe Native Wins Goodman Scholarship

Press Release


Matt Bach
Director of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317; C: (810) 874-1073
[email protected];


Grand Valley Student, Bad Axe Native Wins Goodman Scholarship

ANN ARBOR, Michigan – The Michigan Municipal League Foundation awarded Alayna Knarian of Bad Axe, Michigan the George and Judith Goodman Scholarship to support her studies in public administration at Grand Valley State University. The George and Judith Goodman Scholarship is committed to building the pipeline of future local leaders in Michigan and encouraging traditionally underrepresented populations to enter the field of public service.

Knarian is currently an undergraduate student in Grand Valley’s Public and Nonprofit Administration program on a path to graduate in 2021. Her coursework so far has focused on budgeting, finance, and personnel management. In her upcoming classes, she will also be studying local politics and emergency management, which is a very salient issue in Michigan. What she likes most about her program is that it is a smaller cohort of students and she has the chance to build connections with her fellow classmates and her professors.

“My parents have six other children so, I’m grateful for scholarships like the George and Judith Goodman Scholarship that help pay for my education,” Knarian said. “What I like about public administration and public service is that they have such a broad influence on people. And pursing a degree and a career in this field will allow me to leave the world a better place than I found it.”

Knarian also spends time volunteering for Aqua Clara International, a nonprofit that builds and ships water filters around the world to areas without access to clean water. Through this work, she supports their mission by physically building water filters while also gaining experience in grant writing and research.

Her studies have also afforded her opportunities to study abroad, working on her second language skills, and broadening her perspectives and horizons. She spent a winter semester in Peru studying Spanish, Latin American culture, and the impacts of government corruption in the country. She hopes to spend another semester abroad in Armenia, where her family is from. She will continue to apply her knowledge there and have a chance to learn more about the country and culture of which she has family roots.

Knarian is now looking forward to participating in a local government internship program which she says will “equip me with hands-on experience that I can utilize in a career in public service.”

George and Judith Goodman have a long-standing commitment to making sure that underrepresented people—including women and people of color—have the chance to pursue careers in public service.

“We want the scholarship to help create a pipeline of qualified individuals by increasing training and other educational opportunities that remove barriers to success,” George Goodman said. “Encouraging more diversity in our local leadership will mean better representation and, hopefully, better outcomes for communities around the state.”

George Goodman served as executive director of the Michigan Municipal League for 22 years before retiring and becoming the MML Foundation president until 2008. He also served as Ypsilanti mayor for more than a decade. Judith Goodman was the assistant dean of admissions and student services at the University of Michigan Business School before her retirement.

One scholarship of up to $1,000 is awarded each year to a Michigan high school or college student pursuing a career in local government through a public policy or public administration undergraduate or graduate degree. More information can be found at

For additional information contact Matt Bach, communications director for the Michigan Municipal League, at 810-874-1073 and [email protected].

The MML Foundation is working to advance community wealth through strategic partnerships and investments in strong, diverse leadership for Michigan communities and place-based initiatives that drive equitable outcomes.


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