Michael Zakaras

2010 Public Policy Summer Fellow

May 1, 2010

Graduate Degree:Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate Degree:Stanford University
Interest Area:Community development
Mentor:Vivien Li, Executive Director, The Boston Harbor Association
Agency:Office of the Mayor, City of Boston
Supervisors:Judith Kurland, Chief of Programs and Partnerships, Marie St. Fleur, Chief of Advocacy and Strategic Investment, and Eliza Greenberg, Commissioner of Elderly Affairs
Project Description:Michael spent his summer at the City of Boston working in the Mayor’s Office on two policy initiatives. The first was the Circle of Promise, a neighborhood-based education initiative, for which he helped develop a work plan for the city over the next several years. This involved identifying high-level goals, recommending priority areas for city intervention, and articulating next steps for an operations team – with an emphasis on ensuring quality out-of-school time and family engagement. Michael also worked to shape the Mayor’s fresh food agenda with a focus on farmers’ market viability in Boston, as well as strategies to make healthy local food more accessible to low-income communities.

Michael says that the Rappaport Fellowship gave him a unique opportunity to work in city government and actually participate in designing city policy. He regularly met with senior staff and had opportunities to share his ideas directly with the Mayor. In this way, he not only got to work on real policy projects, but also gained a better understanding of the people and the environment in city government. The Rappaport program did a great job of matching him with a summer placement of interest, and of coordinating group activities with other Fellows throughout the summer.