Nine Harvard Students Receive Rappaport Fellowships

Contact: David Luberoff
Phone: (617) 495-1346
Date: May 20, 2011

Cambridge MA. -- Seven Harvard graduate students are among the 14 local graduate students who will spend the summer working in key state and local agencies as Rappaport Public Policy Fellows or Radcliffe/Rappaport Doctoral Policy Fellows. In addition, two Harvard Law School students will spend the summer in a parallel program for a dozen law students.

Now in its eleventh year, the Rappaport Public Policy Fellowship is a unique program that gives talented young graduate students from throughout greater Boston the opportunity to help public officials address key problems and, in doing so, to learn more about how public policy is created and implemented. The fellowship is funded and administered by Harvard's Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, which strives to improve the governance of the region by strengthening connections between scholars, students, officials, and civic leaders.

The four doctoral students selected as fellows are also being funded by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. The law students will be Rappaport Fellows in Law and Public Policy, a program that is funded and administered by Suffolk Law School’s Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service.

The nine Harvard students who will be Rappaport Fellows are:

  • Ali Alhassani, a first year-student at Harvard Medical School, will be a Rappaport Public Policy Fellow working for State Senator Richard T. Moore, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Finance. Alhassani, who has degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the London School of Economics, will be assisting with the preparation of a bill proposing to replace fee-for-service payment systems with alternate payment systems, such as global payments in health care in the Commonwealth.
  • Danielle Cerny, a joint Master in Public Policy/JD at the Harvard Kennedy School and Georgetown Law School, will be a Rappaport Public Policy Fellow working at the Executive Office for Administration and Finance. Cerny, who has a degree in political science from Brown University, was the Director of Policy and Legislation for Massachusetts State Senator Susan C. Fargo. She will be working on projects relating to social innovation financing, which will allow the state to enter into contracts that are designed to encourage social innovation and improve the performance of existing government programs while also reducing the financial risk that is often associated with such undertakings. She also will be working on projects relating to the state’s transition away from emergency shelters to a housing-first approach to ending homelessness.
  • Felicia Cote, a joint JD/MPP candidate at Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School, will be a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy working in the Boston office of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
  • Kia Davis, a first-year doctoral student in Harvard’s School of Public Health, will be a Radcliffe/Rappaport Doctoral Fellow in Public Policy working for the Office of Health Equity in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Davis, who has degrees from Washington University and Saint Louis University School of Public Health, will lead an analysis of zoning practices in East Somerville to understand the distribution of commercial industry and health promotion resources (e.g. parks, fast food outlets, grocery stores, liquor stores, etc.) and how it might impact health.
  • Dan Futrell, a joint Master in Public Policy/MBA candidate at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, will be a Rappaport Public Policy Fellow working for the City of Boston. Futrell, who is a veteran of the United States Army, will be working in the Office of Veteran’s Services, aiding efforts to overhaul its system for providing veteran’s benefits to city residents.
  • Jessica Goldberg, a first-year student at Harvard Law School, will be a Rappaport Law and Public Policy Fellow working on legal and policy projects at the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.
  • Zachary Hughes, a first-year student at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, will be a Rappaport Public Policy Fellow developing a comprehensive communications strategy for the city’s Boston About Results (BAR) program as well as increasing the involvement of certain agencies in the BAR process.
  • Jessica Simes, a second-year doctoral student in sociology in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, will be a Radcliffe/Rappaport Doctoral Fellow in Public Policy working for the Massachusetts Department of Correction. Simes, who has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Occidental College, will study the state’s policies related to the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) database. Her interests include a focus on criminal justice, reentry, and penal policy and how those laws and policies shape communities in the United States.
  • Nicole Simon, a second-year doctoral student in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, will be a Radcliffe/Rappaport Doctoral Fellow in Public Policy working for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Simon will work on teacher evaluation issues. She previously was director of Early College Awareness Program at the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice in New York City.

The other Rappaport Public Policy Fellows are:

  • Stephanie Bloch, an MBA student at BU’s School of Management, will be working in the Office of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino on two on-going projects to connect small businesses with City resources: a one-stop permitting center and a website - the Boston Business Hub - both of which are set to launch this summer.
  • Jessica Casey, who is getting a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University, will be working at the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development on two projects that focus on integrating key principles of the Land Use Partnership Act into state policy and initiatives.
  • Colleen Dawicki, a master’s degree student in public policy at UMass Dartmouth, will work with New Bedford's Office of Housing and Community Development to create a plan for strategically directing resources toward a high-need, high-opportunity geographic area of the city.
  • Linda Lazcano, a master’s degree student at the UMass Boston Sociology Department and the Boston College School of Social Work, will work in the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources in the Division of Animal Health. She will be developing policies that respond to the health risks created by the fact that more and more dogs and other animals are being brought to the local animal shelters from southern states which are unable to place them locally.
  • Tori Okner, a master’s degree student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, will work in the Office of Mayor Thomas M. Menino on policies that affect a range of urban agricultural initiatives in the City of Boston.
  • Eric Schultheis, a first-year doctoral student in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, will be a Radcliffe/Rappaport Doctoral Fellow in Public Policy working for the Cambridge Housing Authority. He will explore spatial and temporal patterns of the residential locational choices of Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) participant households and whether a household’s locational choices correlate with changing household characteristics.
  • Ellen Ward, a master’s in city planning student at MIT, will be working for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development on HomeBASE, a new initiative designed to help low-income families that are experiencing housing instability.

In addition to working full-time for their host agencies, the fellows will get together weekly to learn more about key issues in the region and discuss progress on their projects with each other. At many of these sessions, they will be joined by 12 law students who are working in similar internships via a fellows program run by the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service at the Suffolk University Law School.

Both the Rappaport Institute and Suffolk's Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service were founded and funded by the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Charitable Foundation, which promotes emerging leaders in Greater Boston.

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