2006 Public Policy Summer Fellows

2006_cabral.jpgClemintina Cabral
Graduate Degree:
Suffolk University, School of Management
Undergraduate Degree: University of Massachusetts, Boston
Areas of interest: Juvenile justice, domestic violence and crime
Agency: Office of Judge Magistrate Joyce London Alexander
Supervisor: Judge Magistrate Joyce London Alexander
Project Description: Under the direction of U.S. Magistrate Judge Joyce London Alexander at the District Court of Massachusetts, Tina examined the current punitive treatment of juvenile offenders and identified strategies which promote violence prevention and rehabilitation. Her research approach included interviews with juvenile justice judges, probation officers, extensive reviews of juvenile crimes and punishment, the political climate and leadership, alternatives to incarceration, and public policy. During the summer, Tina discovered that while juvenile court leaders may be sensitive to the unique demands of juvenile offenders; however, they seldom have the opportunity to explore alternatives to policies which impact the treatment of juvenile offenders. She believes that there is a need for policy makers to advocate for more fair and adequate funding of services that nurture the learning capacity and well-being of children. The primary conclusion to draw from her Fellowship is that the failure of policy makers to design and implement progressive and transformational approaches to crime and punishment has diminished the ability of juvenile justice leaders to act in the best interest of the child. Some of the statistical information which was used in her research was drawn from the following document: U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

2006_deflorio.jpgJosh DeFlorio
Graduate Degree:
MIT, Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Undergraduate Degree: Brandeis University
Area of interest: Transportation, housing, and development
Agency: MassPort
Supervisor: Lowell Richards, Chief Development Officer, Economic Planning and Development
Project Description: Josh DeFlorio worked in the Department of Economic Planning and Development of the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport). He participated in the real estate disposition process for a waterfront parcel within Massport’s South Boston land holdings, which included researching the permitting, planning, and policy context and compiling the draft RFP. The property, called Parcel K, is positioned at the intersection of Commonwealth Flats, an evolving mixed-use district, and the Port of Boston. Development on the site will serve to facilitate the transition between the different, sometimes incompatible, land uses on either side and act as an important parking resource for both areas. The building or buildings will also complete the finely-grained, pedestrian-oriented streetscape east of D Street and will be ideally located to access the district’s new commercial, residential, retail, and open-space amenities. The RFP will be available in the Fall of 2006.

2006_epissina.jpgNatasha (Epissina) Stern
Graduate Degree:
Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate Degree: Cambridge University, UK
Area of interest: Health care, particularly health care disparities
Placement: Boston Public Health Commission
Supervisors: Kristen Golden, Director of Policy and Planning, Boston Public Health Commission and Elaine Ullian, President of Boston Medical Center
Project Description: Natasha worked for Kristen Golden, Director of Policy and Planning at Boston Public Health Commission and Elaine Ullian, BPHC member, and President of Boston Medical Center. Natasha looked at what factors determine patients’ satisfaction with their in-patient hospital care, using Boston Medical Center as a case study. She also studied how patient’s socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds affect their satisfaction with the care received. Based on Boston Medical Center data, interviews with staff and patients and best practice information available from other medical facilities across the US, Natasha presented recommendations on how patient satisfaction can be improved for all patients. Her key conclusion was that a critical determinant of satisfaction is the quality of the personal interaction between the patient and the hospital staff that come into contact with patients. Patients expect to be cared for, but they rate hospital care especially highly when they feel cared about.

2006_goldstein.jpgAri Alowan Goldstein
Graduate Degree:
MIT, Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Undergraduate Degree: University of California - Berkeley
Areas of interest: Housing
Agency: Office of State Representative Kevin Honan, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing
Supervisor: Jim McGlynn, Counsel, Joint Committee on Housing
Project Description: Ari Alowan Goldstein worked for the Massachusetts Legislature in the Office of State Representative Kevin Honan, chair of the Joint Committee on Housing. In collaboration with Jim McGlynn, Committee counsel, he drafted and released a report on the need for preservation and modernization of 50,000 units of state-sponsored public housing through the creation of an autonomous state bonding authority. He also crafted expiring-use legislation, effecting 90,000 units of housing throughout the Commonwealth, and engaged in policy meetings on the future funding of Chapter 40R and 40S, both intended to promote smart housing development.

2006_guerra.jpgEric Guerra
Graduate Degree:
Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Undergraduate Degree: University of Pennsylvania
Area of interest: Transportation and housing
Agency: City of Somerville, Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development
Supervisor: Lisa Lepore, Director of Infrastructure and Transportation
Project Description: Erick Guerra worked with the City of Somerville’s Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning & Community Development. He worked directly under the Director of Infrastructure & Transportation, Lisa Lepore, P.E., on a variety of ongoing projects, pertaining to the interrelation between transportation improvements and economic development. He attended and participated in a wide range of regional, state and local meetings to promote bicycle and transit improvements in Somerville and wrote a scope of work for hiring consultants to redesign and improve the Union Square transportation system with a focus on reducing congestion, consolidating bus services, and facilitating biking and walking. He also wrote a scope of work to access a $1 Congressional earmark to be coordinated with the State’s Executive Office of Transportation. This scope detailed responsibilities for potential consultants to prepare access design and engineering to the Inner Belt industrial district, a planning study and engineering for the removal and redesign of the Lower McGrath elevated highway and an economic analysis to determine East Somerville’s competitive advantages and what the City can do to attract growth industries. Each of these three projects, at a different scale and a different stage in the planning process, involved the use of transportation and infrastructure improvements to spark economic development in Somerville. Complimenting this scope, Erick prepared a 40 page planning document including text and graphics to provide background information, to make design recommendations and to suggest potential financing options for a new Inner Belt access road. He found his experience with the City of Somerville and the Rappaport Institute informative and exciting. As he finishes his Master in Urban Planning at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, he plans to maintain his relationship with the City of Somerville and to continue to focus on urban transportation systems, economic development and sustainable, transit-oriented growth patterns.

2006_haessig.jpgRebecca Haessig
Graduate Degree:
Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate Degree: University of Virginia
Areas of interest: Government performance management
Agency: City of Somerville, SomerStat Office
Supervisor: Stephanie Hirsch, SomerStat Director
Project Description: Rebecca Haessig worked in the Mayor’s Office of the City of Somerville at the SomerStat Department for the city’s SomerStat Director, Stephanie Hirsch. Her project built upon ongoing efforts to transform how the City of Somerville delivers customer service. Rebecca worked on developing a multi-year customer service improvement plan for the city. With the goal of developing a model that best serves the city’s customer service needs, this project entailed working with city departments that have contact with constituents to 1) take stock of existing procedures, staffing, and facilities; 2) analyze the volume of customer service activity; and, 3) survey constituent attitudes of customer service. These findings, in conjunction with best practices from other cities, served as the basis for developing a phased approach to customer service improvement, and helped establish Somerville as a national leader in municipal customer service delivery.

2006_kenney.jpgKaitlyn Kenney Walsh
Graduate Degree:
Northeastern University, PhD program in American Public Policy
Undergraduate Degree: Providence College
Areas of interest: Health care, particularly affordable health care access
Agency: Office of State Senator Richard T. Moore, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Finance
Supervisor: Brian Cournoyer, Legislative Aide
Project Description: During her fellowship, Kaitlyn worked in the office of Senator Richard Moore, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. Her primary responsibility was to conduct a detailed examination of the recently passed health care reform bill. She conducted a meta-analysis of the various criticisms and concerns associated with the bill that have been published in scholarly journals and in popular press, and waged by numerous stakeholders, advocates, research organizations and think tanks. Ultimately, her final project considers the legitimacy of these concerns and provides recommendations, where appropriate, as to how revisions or amendments to the bill might be necessary to improve the efficacy of the law and/or to ensure the law is implemented according to original legislative intent. In addition to the above project, she was able to contribute to a Powerpoint presentation that provides an overview of the policy process that preceded passage of the health care reform bill and details the structure and impact of Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006. Finally, she was able to assist the Senator and his staff with legislative summaries of relevant health care bills during the busy end of formal session season.

2006_ladd.jpgAudra Ladd
Graduate Degree:
Tufts University, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
Undergraduate Degree: Smith College
Areas of interest: Arts/culture and economic development
Agency: City of Somerville, Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development
Supervisor: Dana LeWinter, Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development
Project Description: Audra Ladd designed an artist space development strategy for the City of Somerville that involved an artist needs assessment, a municipal real estate development proposal, a zoning amendment review, a proposed artist certification program, and encouraged an entrepreneurial focus on arts and economic development.

2006_murray.jpgMatthew Murray
Graduate Degree:
Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Law School
Undergraduate Degree: University of California, Berkeley
Area of interest: Higher education, town/gown relationships
Agency: Boston Redevelopment Authority
Supervisors: Linda Kowalcky, Mayor's Liaison to Higher Education and Gerald Autler, Project Manager
Project Description: Matthew Murray spent the summer at the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) working with Linda Kowalcky, the Mayor’s Liaison to Higher Education, and Gerald Autler, the BRA’s project manager in charge of institutional master planning for Boston colleges and universities. His main project was to research and provide recommendations regarding ways the BRA and the City of Boston might best leverage local colleges and universities to promote economic development in the life sciences sector, with a particular emphasis on how the city might best be able to take advantage of Harvard’s new campus expansion in Allston. He also spent time analyzing the number of college and university students living throughout each of the city’s neighborhoods, assisting with the BRA’s institutional master planning process for a variety of Boston institutions of higher education, and documenting programs at local colleges and universities that place students in internships or ask students to conduct consulting-style projects so the City may be able to best take advantage of such programs in the future.

2006_roth.jpgJeff Roth
Graduate Degree:
Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate Degree: James Madison
Area of interest: Smart growth and land-use issues
Agency: City of Haverhill, Mayor's Office
Supervisors: Mayor Jim Fiorentini and Ted Van Nahl, Chief of Staff
Project Description: Jeffrey Roth will be working in the Mayor’s Office of the City of Haverhill under the direction of Mayor James Fiorentini, Mayor of the City of Haverhill and Ted Van Nahl, Chief of Staff. The Mayor has an aggressive agenda and needs someone to examine a few critical areas in terms of downtown redevelopment. Most critical is the parking requirement of the city’s current zoning laws. There are a number of redevelopment projects on hold because the developers do not want to pay for the massive parking requirements currently cited in the zoning ordinance. He will examine the parking situation in the city, make recommendations on possible zoning changes and help identify alternatives to parking in the city to help make this politically contentious issue more manageable. In addition, the Mayor would like to identify downtown areas as part of an " urban renaissance zone."

2006_shah.jpgBijal Shah
Graduate Degree:
Harvard Kennedy School/Yale University Law School
Undergraduate Degree: Brandeis University
Area of interest: Social services including homelessness and immigration
Agency: City of Boston's Emergency Shelter Commission
Supervisor: Jim Greene, Acting Director, Boston's Emergency Shelter Commission
Project Description: Bijal Shah worked at the City of Boston's Emergency Shelter Commission under the direction of James Greene, Acting Director. The mission of the Emergency Shelter Commission is to coordinate a safety net of services for Boston's homeless and for persons in need of food assistance. Bijal worked on the following three initiatives: 1) The development of a Homelessness Prevention Early Warning System 2) Examination of the social cost of the current welfare regulations that deem families categorically ineligible for shelter if they are evicted from subsidized housing. 3) Analysis of shelter eligibility reform, including (for example) the costs/benefits of excluding people from shelter (the "hidden homeless") versus eliminating barriers to shelter access.

2006_smith.jpgDiane Smith
Graduate Degree:
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Undergraduate Degree: Kean University
Areas of interest: Special needs education
Agency: Boston Public Schools, Department of Unified Student Services
Supervisor: Carolyn Riley, Senior Director of Unified Student Services
Project Description: Diane Smith worked at the Boston Public School Department in the Unified Student Services Department under the direction of Carolyn Riley, Senior Director of Unified Student Services. The Unified Student Services Department focuses on creating a continuum of support for students with and without disabilities. The support focuses on mitigating barriers to teaching and learning, so that all students can reach citywide learning standards, graduate from high school, and have the tools to choose post-secondary education options and/or employment and contribute to the community. Her role over the summer was to analyze how Boston’s special education population performed on the 2006 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). She also identified trends of improvement in schools that have high poverty rates. By the end of this fellowship, she helped Boston’s USST analyze and interpret some of their voluminous MCAS data that pertains to special education and at the same time, gathered some statistical information for her dissertation research.