2012 Public Policy Summer Fellows

2012_brakewood.jpgCandy Brakewood
Graduate Degree: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Undergraduate Degree: Johns Hopkins
Area of Interest: Transportation Issues
Mentors: Paul Scapicchio, Senior Vice President at ML Strategies and Devin Quirk, Boston About Results Program
Agency: MBTA
Supervisor: Josh Robin, Director of Innovation and Charles Planck, Senior Director of Innovations
Project Description: As a Rappaport Public Policy Doctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Candy conducted a significant amount of research to inform the MBTA’s Mobile Strategy. Transit riders in Boston are rapidly adopting smartphones, which can be used to provide transit information and, in the future, to pay transit fares. Her summer research gauged the customer perspective for using mobile technologies on the Commuter Rail. In June, she led an on-board survey on two Commuter Rail lines - the Worcester and Newburyport/Rockport - to assess adoption of real-time information available on smartphone applications Candy also helped lead a series of focus groups with Commuter Rail riders for the Mobile Ticketing project, which was featured in the Metro newspaper. Her research has informed the MBTA’s mobile strategy and helped to promote implementation of innovative technologies that will be used by transit riders in Boston.

2012_ferrentino.jpgCara Ferrentino
Graduate School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Undergraduate School: Harvard University
Areas of interest: Environmental Issues
Mentors: Vivien Li, President of The Boston Harbor Association and Keith Cialino, Doctoral Student, UMass Boston
Placement: Massport
Supervisor: Andrew Hargens, Senior Project Manager
Project description: Massport’s EP&D oversees the long-term planning and daily management of almost 600 acres of waterfront property in South Boston, East Boston, and Charlestown. During Cara's time at EP&D she became familiar with a variety of the department’s projects, but her work focused primarily on the future development of a 20 acre stretch of the South Boston Seaport. She investigated the relationship between a proposed roadway reconfiguration project– intended by Massport to improve truck routes to and from Conley Truck Terminal in South Boston– and the design and development of nearby parcels (currently dominated by surface parking lots). Her work explored potential tensions between Massport’s interest in improving vital truck routes with competing interests in facilitating the transformation of the Seaport from industrial to residential, commercial, and industrial uses. This project provided her the opportunity to engage with a variety of planning issues, including transportation, zoning, real estate development, and permitting, while examining the potential for pedestrian and bike amenities, maritime industrial activities, Convention Center expansion, and landowner and residential community interests to align and be of mutual benefit. In addition, she developed scenarios for how the roadway reconfiguration project could simplify the existing patchwork of land ownership and create more valuable development parcels. She also proposed several development scenarios, incorporating urban design considerations, and synthesized my findings and proposals in documents, maps, and images.

2012_foo.jpgKatherine Foo
Graduate School: Clark University
Undergraduate School: Williams College
Areas of interest: Environmental and Landscape Issues
Mentors: Carol Burns, Principal, Taylor Burns Architects and Jessica Simes, Doctoral Student, Harvard University
Placement: Mayor's Office, City of Boston and Boston Parks Department
Supervisors: Toni Pollak, Commissioner of the Boston Parks Department, Barbara Berke, Senior Advisor to the Mayor, and Flavio Daveiga, Office of Neighborhood Services
Project Description: As a Rappaport Doctoral Public Policy Fellow, Katherine worked with Energy and Environmental Services, Parks Department, Boston Urban Forest Coalition (BUFC), Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), and the Bowdoin-Geneva Neighborhood Response Team (NRT) to strengthen Boston’s 100,000 trees initiative. The governance of Boston’s urban forest heavily relies upon the coordinated efforts of public, private, and civic sectors, and emerging data visualization technologies have the potential to facilitate data-driven governance through cross-sector partnerships. Katherine’s summer work recommended ways for Energy and Environmental Services and the Parks Department to establish an integrated data management system that enables greater knowledge and governing capacity by BUFC partners. Her work also sought ways to promote community-based approaches to tree planting in city neighborhoods. Limited space for tree planting on city-owned land makes community-based approaches critical to increasing the urban tree canopy. However, allied resources are not integrated to support community-based greening projects, and core planning districts with low tree canopy cover possess high density residential types that severely restrict the spatial distribution of trees able to be planted. Working with DND and the Bowdoin-Geneva NRT, Katherine also developed a draft protocol to enable temporary greening strategies on DND properties.

2012_keaveny.jpgMargaret Keaveny
Graduate School: Northeastern University
Undergraduate School: Acadia University, Nova Scotia
Areas of interest: Economic Development
Mentors: Phil Puccia, Morgan Stanley Securities and Kate Moloney, Doctoral Student, University of Albany
Placement: Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
Supervisor: Victoria Maguire, State Permit Ombudsman and Director
Project description: This summer Margaret had the opportunity to work in the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. Her major project was the crafting of a guidebook that focused on four public financing programs that target infrastructure investment. The sole objective was to provide community leaders, developers and business owners with a working knowledge of the process of implementing and utilizing public financing programs that support neighborhood revitalization and to allow communities and businesses to evaluate which program best fits their needs and goals.The public financing programs identified in the report, give communities and developers the tools needed to establish a funding mechanism to address local needs to support economic development. The Business Improvement Districts (BID), District Improvement Financing (DIF), Infrastructure Investment Incentive Program (I-CUBED) and the newly created Local Infrastructure Development Program are all designed to promote new investment in targeted areas where infrastructure, community assets, and transit opportunities are operational. These targeted public financing programs aim to renew the vitality, livability, and sustainability of the area by empowering municipalities with the tools to finance local infrastructure improvements through assessments, bond issuance, and tax increment financing. The initiative allowed her not only to speak and meet with individuals from MassDevelopment, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, the Department of Housing and Community Development, and members from communities across the State, but it gave her the opportunity to see government in action. The guidebook, A Guidebook of Massachusetts Public Financing Programs for Infrastructure Investment, will be launched on the Executive Office of Housing and Economic website and will be accessible to all municipalities, agencies and individuals in October 2012.

2012_kuye.jpgIfedayo Kuye
Graduate School:Harvard Medical School
Undergraduate School: Harvard University
Areas of interest: Public Health Finance
Mentors: Renee Landers, Suffolk University Law School and Ravi Parikh, Harvard Medical School Student
Placement: Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services
Supervisor: Oliver Rothschild, Medicaid Chief of Staff
Project description: This summer Ifedayo worked at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services in the Office of Medicaid (MassHealth). MassHealth provides public insurance for low- to medium-income residents of Massachusetts. He worked on an initiative to design and implement an alternative payment methodology that would pay providers who served Medicaid patients in a manner that differed from the current fee for service system. Alternative payment methodologies such as the Blue Cross Blue Shield Alternative Quality Contract and the CMS Innovation Centre Pioneer ACO models are popular strategies to combat the low quality and high cost that have been linked to fee for service payment systems. The goal of MassHealth was to design a payment system that provided providers with enough flexibility to improve access to primary care, to promote patient experience with care coordination and management, to improve value and to integrate behavioral health care with primary care. Ifedayo worked on various aspects of the payment initiative. He interviewed executive leaders in hospital organizations across Massachusetts to assess their current experiences with alternative payment methodologies and to identify features they had found successful. He wrote up my results and recommendation in a white paper. He performed a review of other Medicaid agencies across America that had adopted alternative payment methodologies in order to generate best practices on risk management, IT strategy and clinical data management relationships. He also conducted an analysis on quality metrics used in other alternative payment methodologies.

2012_la_rocque.jpgMatthew La Rocque
Graduate School: Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate School: University of California, Berkeley
Areas of interest: Education
Mentors: Tiziana Dearing, Boston Rising Inc.
Placement: Boston Public Schools/Boston Teacher Residency
Supervisors: Shoma Haque, Chief Operating Officer, Boston Plan for Excellence and Marcie Osinsky, Curriculum Director, Boston Teacher Residency, Boston Public Schools
Project description: In his role with BPE and the Boston Public Schools' Boston Teacher Residency, Matthew researched ways in which BPE can strengthen their revenue streams in the years to come. Specifically, he analyzed earned income models and human resource practices of similar organizations across the country, and proposed strategies to BPE's senior leadership team. His research culminated with a presentation to BPE’s CEO and COO on the strategies that he felt they should pursue. Along the way, he learned that non-profit organizations like BPE need to work in close partnership with their local government counterparts if they hope to be successful. The conventional wisdom is that the non-profit sector is there to address what government cannot. But the non-profit and government sectors don’t have to be siloed – they can work together.

2012_lopez.jpgDahianna Lopez
Graduate School: Harvard School of Public Health
Undergraduate School: University of California, Berkeley
Areas of Interest: Public Health
Mentors: Ben Forman, MassInc.
Placement: Mayor's Office of the City of Boston, Department of Transportation, Boston Police Department, Boston Department of Innovation and Technology
Supervisor: Patricia Boyle-McKenna, Director of Internships, City of Boston, Charlotte Fleetwood, Transportation Planner
Project Description: This summer Dahianna worked with the Office of the Mayor in Boston, the Boston Transportation Department, the Boston Police Department, and the Boston Department of Innovation and Technology to elucidate the magnitude of bicycle- and pedestrian-related crashes. The analysis of this project will help prevent such crashes in an interdisciplinary way. Urban planners and engineers will be better able to identify areas in the city that are in need of safety improvements. Public Health practitioners will be able to target specific populations and intervene with health education and encouragement campaigns. And finally, police officers will be able to target hot spot locations that could use increased policing and law enforcement of road laws.

2012_lovatt_martin.jpgThomas Lovatt Martin
Graduate School: Harvard Graduate School of Design
Undergraduate School: Oxford University
Areas of interest: Housing
Mentors: Chrystal Kornegay, Urban Edge and Lauren Lambie-Hanson, Doctoral Fellow, MIT
Placement: Cambridge Housing Authority
Supervisor: Carolina Lucey, Director of Communications
Project Description: This summer, Tom worked with the Cambridge Housing Authority to plot a future direction for rent reform and rent policy efforts. The CHA has begun to move on from consolidating the gains garnered from earlier years’ rent reform efforts towards a new period of policy innovation with regard to public housing rent policy. The CHA has been designated a Moving to Work agency by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and as such has been allowed substantial dispensation from HUD administrative regulations and guidelines. The innovative work that the CHA has done with this MTW authority has become nationally recognized, and the CHA has become particularly known as an exemplar of best practice among American public housing authorities. In order to produce a final report that plots out some potential future directions for the CHA’s efforts, he conducted focus groups, interviewed senior staff, met repeatedly with residents, observed recertification meetings, analyzed the budgetary impact of various policy efforts, and consulted with other practitioners regarding the policy efforts that other MTW-designated agencies are currently designing and implementing.

2012_monea.jpgEmily Monea
Graduate School: Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate School: Boston University
Areas of interest: Performance Management
Mentors: Amy Dain, Dain Research
Placement: SomerStat
Supervisor: Daniel Hadley, Director, SomerStat
Project Description: This summer Emily worked for SomerStat, Somerville’s performance management office. Under the leadership of Mayor Curtatone, Somerville was one of the first cities to embrace performance management, a practice that allows mayors to systematically manage city departments through data. Daniel Hadley, the director of SomerStat, asked Emily to embrace the spirit of performance management by analyzing his office’s performance (in other words, by “stat-ing” SomerStat). She began by evaluating the office’s weaknesses, then researched best practices and talked to directors of performance management offices around the country, and ultimately developed a set of recommendations for improving the office’s – and, by extension, the city’s – efficiency and efficacy.

2012_nieto.jpgAna Maria Nieto
Graduate School:
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Undergraduate School: Los Andes University, Colombia
Areas of interest: Education
Mentors: Joan Wallace Benjamin, The Home for Little Wanderers and Antoniya Owens, Center for Education Policy Research
Placement: Somerville Public Schools
Supervisors: Sarah Davila, District Administrator of English Learner Education / Family and Community Partnerships
Project description: This summer Ana Maria worked with Somerville Public Schools in their adult education programming. As part of this district’s commitment to engage family and community members in children’s education, each year the English Language Learner (ELL) Program offers a 4 week-long free Summer Program for Somerville parents consisting of free English classes, workshops and parent gatherings. This year the program expanded to include weekly computer classes and bi-weekly literacy classes for parents and other community members, as well as a new program for families of English Language Learner transitioning from Head Start to kindergarten. During the summer Ana Maria was in charge of conducting the outreach for the new Head Start to school transition program. As the program started she helped coordinate and document the implementation process. More than 100 adults benefited from the summer program. The results from the documentation process signaled that Somerville’s efforts to strengthen relationships between parents are a fundamental step in increasing engagement with schools. The documentation process was also the starting point of an ongoing planning process that will continue to improve family and community engagement in this school district. In addition to her practical experience in program implementation and documentation her summer experience also gave her the opportunity to learn more about early childhood policies.

2012_orbach.jpgTessa (Orbach) Bridge
Graduate SchoolUndergraduate School: Reed College
Areas of interest: Education
Mentors: Nicole Simon, Doctoral Student, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Placement: Cambridge Public Schools
Supervisor: Lori Likis, Chief Planning Officer
Project Description: Tessa completed her Rappaport Fellowship in the Office of the Superintendent of Cambridge Public Schools District where she supported the implementation of the district's transformation plan, the Innovation Agenda. During her time at CPSD Tessa created a report about how to support students through the transition from 5th to 6th grade and 8th to 9th grade. This involved conducting a literature review of how transitions impact adolescents and best practices for schools to support students at these times, as well as interviewing several principals from neighboring districts about how their schools support students through school transitions. Tessa presented these findings to the superintendent's cabinet. Tessa also supported the development of a cross-system approach to how Out of School Time programming can effectively complement four new Upper School Campuses opening in the fall of 2012. This involved assessing and supporting data input procedures to help detail which offerings are currently available in Cambridge and how they line up with students' developmental needs. She also facilitated a work group of Out of School Time providers and district staff to develop a passport designed to both document middle school students' engagement in Out of School Time experiences, as well as to help create a framework for providers to define learning competencies that students are expected to attain when they successfully complete a program or project.

2012_overton.jpgMeghan Overton
Graduate School: Tufts University
Undergraduate School: Hollins University
Areas of interest: Food policy and economic development
Mentors: Larry DiCara, Nixon Peabody and Brandy Brooks, The Food Project
Placement: Office of Business Development, Department of Neighborhood Development, City of Boston
Supervisors: Rafael Carbonell, Deputy Director and Bik Ng, Senior Business Manager
Project Description: This summer Meaghan worked with the Boston Main Streets program in the City of Boston’s Office of Business Development on a pilot initiative to support farmers’ markets in Boston Main Streets Districts. Boston Main Streets began in 1995 as an innovative program to encourage community economic development, historic preservation, and neighborhood revitalization. Over the last 17 years, Boston Main Streets has helped generate over 4,000 jobs and supported the creation of more than 700 new businesses in Boston’s neighborhoods. But the Main Streets program is about more than opening new bricks-and-mortar stores. To create healthier, more livable communities, many Main Streets Districts have become active partners in other community activities and programs. For her summer fellowship, Meaghan worked with three Boston Main Streets Districts that were interested in growing their farmers’ markets.
Research has suggested that farmers’ markets provide many benefits to local communities, including increased access to healthy food and enhanced economic activity in the areas surrounding farmers' markets. However, farmers' markets must generate adequate foot traffic and sales for vendors if they are to remain vibrant centers of community economic activity. In addition, many markets struggle to comply with local and state regulations. The Boston Main Streets markets were no exception. To address the needs of these markets, she completed several projects during the course of her fellowship. She collected data on attendance, customer spending, and vendor sales at each market to give market managers better information about the current state of their farmers’ markets. She also completed a permitting and licensing roadmap that will become a useful market planning tool on the Boston Business Hub. Finally, she worked with each Main Streets Director to increase promotion of the markets through print and social media.

2012_simmons.jpgErica Simmons
Graduate School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Undergraduate School: Stanford University
Areas of Interest: Transportation Issues
Mentors: Kathy Kottaridis, Historic Boston, Inc. and Stephanie Groll, Cambridge Department of Parking and Transportation
Placement: City of Boston Transportation Department
Supervisor: Charlotte Fleetwood, Transportation Planner
Project Description: This summer Erica worked for the Boston Transportation Department on two main projects. The first project was to research how the City of Boston can evaluate projects designed based on the City’s Complete Streets Guidelines, which call for streetscape projects to be multimodal, green and smart – safely accommodating multiple users (e.g., automobile drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit), as well as incorporating sustainable construction techniques (such as permeable pavements and stormwater drainage) and smart technologies (such as electric vehicle charging stations or smart phone technology). For this project, Erica researched best practices from other cities’ streetscape evaluation efforts and collected baseline data prior to the construction of the planned East Boston Central Square Redesign. Her other project was to develop Boston Playways, a program to promote small-scale, recurring, neighborhood-organized street closures for active recreation. The goals of the Playways project are to help neighborhood residents rethink their streets, while bringing physical activity to the streets where children live. She coordinated with several different city departments to develop policy recommendations to streamline the permit process and sustain a long-term program and partnered with a neighborhood association in the Bowdoin-Geneva area of Dorchester to organize a pilot event

2012_singham.jpgAshali Singham
Graduate School:Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate School: Yale University
Areas of Interest: Municipal Finance
Mentors: Lisa Calise, The Perkins School for the Blind and Matt Mayrl, City of Boston Department of Public Works
Placement: Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance
Supervisor: Greg Mennis, Assistant Secretary for Finance and Infrastructure
Project Description: Ashali spent this summer working at the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance. She worked on two projects: the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) Commission and the Infrastructure Investment Incentive program (I-Cubed). The OPEB Commission is looking at retiree benefits aside from pensions, which includes retiree healthcare benefits. The Commission was established at the end of 2011, and will produce any final materials by the end of November of 2012. Over the summer, she worked on materials for two OPEB Commission meetings and produced follow-up materials for her agency in preparation for the following meeting. Her research included looking at other states’ eligibility requirements for health insurance subsidies and the amount of health insurance subsidies that these states provided. Additionally, she worked with her supervisor to develop an Excel model that estimates the cost savings of different options for retiree health benefit reform. She also helped coordinate logistics for the two meetings she attended. Her second project was on the Infrastructure Investment Incentive Program, which is an infrastructure program run through the Executive Office for Administration and Finance. She developed documents on the I-Cubed approval process and looked at the inclusion of construction tax revenue in I-Cubed calculations.