2009 Public Policy Summer Fellows

2009_cialino.jpgKeith Cialino
Graduate Degree:
UMass Boston
Undergraduate Degree: La Salle University
Areas of interest: Environmental Issues
Mentor: Vivien Li, President, The Boston Harbor Association
Agency: US EPA, New England, Region I
Project Description: Keith worked at the New England office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While there, he assisted with implementing the Regional Beach Strategy that focuses on collaboration with priority communities experiencing chronic beach closures due to poor water quality. In support of this, he developed Beach Action Plans for communities in the Greater Boston and Massachusetts Bay region. These Action Plans outline a strategy that builds and facilitates a consensus approach among local, state, and federal agencies to improve water quality at local beaches and protect human health.

Laura Delgado
Graduate Degree:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Undergraduate Degree: Williams College
Areas of interest: Affordable Housing Issues
Mentor: Carol Burns, Principal, Taylor Burns Architects
Agency: Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development
Supervisor: Amy Schectman, Director of Transition and Rental Assistance
Project Description: For her Rappaport Fellowship, she worked at the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) on how best to re-house and stabilize homeless families who are exiting shelter. With the transfer of Emergency Assistance from the Department of Transitional Assistance to DHCD this summer, plus the grant of several million dollars in stimulus funds devoted to reducing homelessness in Massachusetts, it was a really exciting time to work at DHCD. Specifically, she helped develop a Request for Responses for stimulus funding committed to homelessness prevention and re-housing that the State released near the end of her internship. As a part of this, she researched best practices, interviewed people in organizations currently working on re-housing and stabilization, and helped piece together what resources existed in which parts of the state and where services were most needed. She is excited to continue working on this and with DHCD for her thesis.

2009_fphillips.jpgSarah Fierberg Phillips
Graduate Degree:
Brandeis University
Undergraduate Degree: Brown University
Areas of interest: Education
Mentor: Larry DiCara, Nixon Peabody, LLP
Agency: Executive Office of Education
Supervisors: JD LaRock, Policy Director, Beth Peabody, Policy Analyst, and Saeyun Lee, Policy Analyst
Project Description: Sarah Phillips spent the summer working at the Executive Office of Education. During the first week of her fellowship, she was able to influence public policy, successfully recommending that the Secretary of Education amend a proposed amendment to the University of Massachusetts’ quasi-endowment policy. With an early victory under her belt, Sarah spent the bulk of her fellowship writing a report on the Readiness Schools legislation. Part of Governor Patrick’s education reform package, this legislation will close persistent achievement gaps by jump starting long-overdue efforts to turn around low-performing schools as well as creating two new types of innovative in-district public schools. Sarah also wrote a series of memos that will help shape the Commonwealth’s application to several federal grant programs funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

2009_goodwin.jpgBrendan Goodwin
Graduate Degree:
Tufts University
Undergraduate Degree: Xavier Univesity
Areas of interest: Housing
Mentor:
Amy Dain, Consultant
Agency: Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development|
Supervisor: Amy Schectman, Associate Director, Division of Public Housing and Rental Assistance
Project Description: Brendan Goodwin worked at the Department of Housing and Community Development on a project to strengthen the State’s public housing program by exploring an opportunity to federalize state-assisted public housing developments using funds from the stimulus bill. The department is now working with housing authorities to implement this strategy, which may preserve thousands of units of public housing in Massachusetts while saving the State significant resources that can then be used to better sustain the remaining portfolio by providing housing authorities with higher operating and capital funds.

2009_haggerty.jpgMeghan Haggerty
Graduate Degree:
Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate Degree: Harvard College
Areas of interest: Performance Management
Mentor: Kathy Kottaridis, Executive Director, Historic Boston, Inc.
Agency: Mayor's Office, City of Boston
Supervisor: Chris Osgood, Special Advisor to the Mayor and Matt Mayrl, Special Projects Associate
Project Description: Meghan's Rappaport Fellowship project was to create a work plan for Phase 3 of the City of Boston’s constituent relationship management and work order system (CRM/WOM). This system allows for call takers in the Mayor’s 24 Hour Constituent Service Center to create cases and gather work order information which is routed directly to frontline service departments. Through fuller utilization of this common work order and reporting system, the City has been able to improve responsiveness to constituent complaints, increase accountability, and gather more reliable and timely operational data on participating departments. In order to create this plan, she interviewed mid-level and senior management of Boston’s Public Works and Parks departments to understand how the system could be used to improve their internal operations.

2009_hohman.jpgJessica Hohman
Graduate Degree:
Harvard Medical School
Undergraduate Degree: Miami University
Areas of interest: Health Care Policy
Mentor: Phyllis Rappaport, Chair, Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Charitable Foundation
Agency: Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector
Supervisor: Eric Dahlberg, Connector Associate and Kaitlyn Kenney Walsh, Senior Policy Analyst
Project Description: Jessica spent her summer working at the Commonwealth Health Connector Authority on a number of different projects. Although her original project proposal had been to examine the impact of the 2006 health reforms on realized health access in Massachusetts (particularly in relation to affordability, premium levels, and out-of-pocket payments), she encountered some data availability problems since the data she needed was not scheduled to be released until the fall. As such, she shifted her focus to working on a national health reform project, which worked out perfectly since insurance market regulation has long been a research interest of hers. As part of her project for the Connector, she examined the impact proposed federal legislation would have on the Connector and suggested ways the Connector could adapt. Her final products were a comparative grid and draft for a white paper on this issue .

2009_kimbrel.jpgDelia Kimbrel
Graduate Degree: Brandeis University
Undergraduate Degree: University of Kansas
Areas of Interest: Housing Issues
Mentor: Martha Weinberg, Consultant
Agency: Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development
Supervisors: Amy Schectman, Associate Director, Division of Public Housing and Rental Assistance and Gretchen Weismann, Homelessness Consultant
Project Description: Throughout the summer, Delia worked with DHCD to understand the challenges and best practices in case management in the Family Self-Sufficiency program. The limited understanding around housing based self-sufficiency programs raised questions for DHCD regarding what program characteristics and features help clients make progress toward self-sufficiency. This topic was explored in greater detail by looking at the case management practices of coordinators and the experiences of current clients at seven of the DHCD’s non-profit regional administering agencies. Throughout the summer, she interviewed coordinators and case managers in the FSS program as well as held focus groups to learn about participant perceptions about case management performance. The discoveries made will help inform case management in other housing programs that offer supportive services to families receiving housing assistance.

2009_long.jpgMichael Long
Graduate Degree:
Harvard School of Public Health
Undergraduate Degree: Princeton University
Areas of interest: Nutrition in Schools
Mentor: Joan Wallace Benjamin, Executive Director, The Home for Little Wanderers
Agency: Boston Public Schools
Supervisors: Helen Mont-Ferguson, Director of Food and Nutritional Services and Shamil Mohammed, Deputy Director of Food and Nutritional Services
Project Description: Michael Long worked for the Boston Public Schools Department of Food and Nutrition Services to assess barriers to increasing student access to the school breakfast program and recommend actions that the district can take to increase student breakfast participation. Increasing breakfast participation will reduce childhood obesity, improve academic performance, and address the district’s current financial challenges. The project identified strong support among district stakeholders for improving breakfast policies as well as opportunities to address barriers to implementation. Michael will continue to work with BPS to make sure more Boston students start their day with a strong nutritional foundation.

2009_owens.jpgAntoniya Owens
Graduate Degree:
Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate Degree: Mount Holyoke College
Areas of interest: Immigration Issues
Mentor: Mary Jo Meisner, The Boston Foundation
Agency: Masssachusetts Office of Refugees and Immigrants
Supervisors: Richard Chacón, Director and Samantha Schusterman, Chief of Staff
Project Description: Antoniya spent her fellowship working for the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants, where she researched and wrote an extensive report about the state’s students with limited English proficiency(LEP). The report, which will be released later this fall, focuses on Massachusetts’ transition from bilingual education to sheltered English immersion as the primary model for educating limited English-proficient students. In particular, it examines the trends in enrollment of LEP students, their demographic characteristics, their school engagement outcomes, and their academic performance at the MCAS tests—in an attempt to evaluate how the policy change has influenced their performance at school relative to their English-proficient classmates.

2009_lquick.jpgDevin Quirk
Graduate Degree:
Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate Degree: Harvard College
Areas of interest: Emergency Management
Mentor: Tom Keane, Consultant
Agency: Boston Emergency Medical Service
Supervisors: Chief Richard Serino, Jim Montgomery, Finance Director, and Adrianne Gerlach, Director of Policy and Planning
Project Description: During his placement at Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Devin worked on a wide variety of policy, management, and operational issues which varied in scope from national, to local, to inter-departmental. At a national level, Devin worked closely with Chief Richard Serino to design a lobbying strategy to include EMS in congressional healthcare reform efforts and advocate for greater Federal EMS representation. At a local level, Devin met with representatives from local hospitals and the Boston Public Health Commission to address inefficiencies in the Boston EMS billing process. Identifying unnecessary hospital-based managed care contracts as a substantial drain on EMS funding, Devin worked with the Director of Finance to create an RFP for a new non-hospital billing contractor which, once awarded, should result in several million dollars in additional revenue for Boston EMS without increasing the fees charged to patients. Finally, at the departmental level, Devin worked with the Director of Policy and Planning to create a performance management system for the department. By the end of the summer, his efforts led to the successful launch of a web-based performance dashboard which tracks a number of key performance indicators on a daily basis and assists senior managers in achieving established performance goals.

2009_smith.jpgMeghan Smith Young
Graduate Degree:
Brandeis University
Undergraduate School: College of the Holy Cross
Areas of interest: Health Care Policy
Mentor: Tiziana Dearing, Director, Catholic Charities of Boston
Agency: Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Supervisor: Lea Ojamaa, Community Liaison Coordinator
Project Description: Meaghan worked with the Office of Community Liaisons within the MA Department of Public Health’s Prevention and Wellness Unit to provide practical policy recommendations for creating more livable communities for older adults in MA. She researched structural and environmental barriers to healthy aging at the local and state level and identified methods for implementing policy changes by examining Barnstable County’s "best practices." Barnstable County was chosen because of its concentrated aging demographic. She also worked with councils on aging in Barnstable County to both increase their awareness of the social determinants of health and to encourage them to rethink their role in shaping the built environment.

2009_veilleux.jpgNeil Veilleux
Graduate Degree:
Tufts University
Undergraduate Degree: Swanee: University of the South
Areas of interest: Economic Development and transportation
Mentor: Paul Scapicchio, Mintz Levin Strategies
Agency: Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust
Supervisors: Dwayne Breger, Division Director, Renewable and Alternative Energy Development, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and Carter Wall, Executive Director, Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust
Project Description: During his fellowship, Neil analyzed the relationships between utilities, electric generators, ratepayers, solar developers, and regulators – with the goal of creating viable, production-based market incentives to stimulate solar photovoltaic (PV) development in Massachusetts. In his research, he described and evaluated methods (financial, structural, political, etc.) employed by other states to encourage solar. Ultimately, under the direction of senior policy-makers at the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), he formulated cost-effective policy options to stimulate solar PV development for Massachusetts.