2015 Public Policy Summer Fellows

2015_agudile.jpgEmeka Agudile
Graduate Degree:
Harvard Graduate School of Public Health
Undergraduate Degree: College of Medicine, University of Nigeria
Area of Interest: Immigration Issues
Mentors: Usra Ghazi, Harvard Divinity School
Agency: Office of New Bostonians, City of Boston
Supervisor: Celina Barrios-Millner, Office of New Bostonians
Project Description: Emeka's fellowship involved working with the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians (MONB) on its Immigrant Integration and Empowerment Project. The overarching goal of the project was to create and replicate successful practices in welcoming and empowering immigrants to fully participate in the social, economic, and civic life of the City. Towards this goal, therefore, he worked to conduct a research on the best practices on immigrant integration. Based on this research, he was able to develop immigrant integration measurement indicators for the City of Boston. Using these indicators, then, he developed an immigrant integration survey and evaluation instrument for community conversation with immigrant populations in different Neighborhoods of Boston. With these questionnaires, the MONB was able to conduct a survey for community leaders of different immigrant serving organizations in Boston. The aim of these surveys was to help identify gaps and disparities in how the City of Boston serve the immigrant communities and also to give the communities an opportunity to weigh in on the best approaches to immigrant integration and empowerment. At the same time, he helped in the design, development and implementation of another survey tool for community members in different Boston Neighborhoods. The findings from both of these surveys formed the basis for the policy recommendations to the Mayor of Boston on immigrant integration. The overall goal was to establish a process through which city leadership both embraces and encourages the full engagement of immigrants in the power dynamic.

2015_ciomek.jpgAlexandra Ciomek
Graduate Degree:
Harvard University
Undergraduate Degree: University of Pennsylvania
Area of Interest: Criminal Justice Issues
Mentors: David Friedman, Boston Red Sox and James Barrett, Wrentham Police Department
Agency: Boston Police Department
Supervisor: David Carabin, Director of the Boston Regional Intelligence Center
Project Description: Alexandra’s fellowship was at the Boston Regional Intelligence Center at the Boston Police Department. She worked on evaluating the utility of Risk Terrain Modeling (RTM) as a crime analysis and prediction tool for the Boston Police Department. RTM involves analyzing the features of places to identify areas that are most conducive to crime. This can be used as a method to predict crime that goes beyond being based primarily on past crime patterns. Using statistical and mapping software, she worked with the BRIC to identify and map conditions of social space that are correlated with crime problems and show which areas of Boston are most vulnerable. These analyzes helped identify spatial factors that are most related to crime, which not only helps the BPD identify areas in need of greater police attention, but also can help give them more information as to what the BPD can do to change these factors. With the BRIC, she compared the effectiveness of RTM compared to the usual hot spots analyses and determined there was added value in identifying the exact conditions that can affect crime, which can help the BPD in formulating a plan to reduce it in the most vulnerable areas of the city.

Marie Gay
Graduate Degree:
Tufts University
Undergraduate Degree: Simmons College
Area of Interest: Economic Development Issues
Mentors: Kathy Kottaridis, Historic Boston, Inc. and Zoe Weinrobe, Recap Real Estate Advisors
Agency: MassDevelopment
Supervisor: Richard Henderson, Executive Vice President, Real Estate and Marty Jones, President and CEO
Project Description: As a Rappaport Fellow Marie acted as Mass Development Financing Authority’s (MDFA) primary liaison to other agencies  in the working group, as well as to the Governor’s office. Specific tasks included taking an inventory of surplus properties and state agency occupied and underutilized, properties; analysis of the feasibility of development of identified properties; coordination of outreach to agencies where the identified developable parcels are located; and facilitating partnering opportunities among state agencies, developers and municipalities regarding the conveyance of these parcels for development. This project aligned with many of MDFA’s organizational goals in areas of economic and community development.  The state surplus property disposition process was a collaborative partnership between multiple agencies in which MDFA could assume its role as a developer and a land bank authority. This opportunity allowed the organization to showcase many of its successful projects including the acquisition and renovations of four mental state hospitals, 100 Cambridge St in Downtown Boston, and the Springfield District Courthouse just to cite a few examples. Other projects that  Marie was also involved in assisting during her time at the MDFA consisted of research on best community-engagement practices for the Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) on Gateway Cities of Massachusetts and the Community Redevelopment Fund (CRJ) research where she compiled data to survey successful funding models for community development work throughout the state.  All three projects presented themselves as opportunities for the MDFA to engage and contribute to, both in technical expertise and in lending practice.

2015_kreycik.jpgPhilip Kreycik
Graduate Degree:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Undergraduate Degree: Harvard University
Area of Interest: Transportation Issues
Mentors: Kevin Sullivan, JP Morgan Securities and Erica Simmons, Volpe, The National Transportation Systems
Agency: Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics and Department of Transportation, City of Boston
Supervisor: Kris Carter, Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics and Charlotte Fleetwood, Department of Transportation
Project Description: Philip spent his summer in the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) working on two projects of critical importance to Boston Transportation Department (BTD). In his first project, Philip scoped out the challenges associated with parking policy decisions in the absence of easily accessible data on existing regulations, and wrote an RFP to create and populate a living database and map of all parking and traffic rules in the city. He worked extensively with the Department of Innovation and Technology, as well as the Engineering Division, Operations Division, and Parking Clerk within BTD. He helped BTD come up with a plan for evaluating proposals and managing the project. For his second project, Philip designed and carried out a study of ten high crash and high traffic violation intersections. The study included analysis of crash risk factors at each location and analysis of red light compliance. Philip presented his findings and recommendations to the Vision Zero Task Force and a broad audience at BTD, and expects that BTD will be able to take action on many of them in the near future.


2015_mello.jpgMarcus Mello
Graduate Degree:
Harvard Graduate School of Design
Undergraduate Degree: Swarthmore College
Area of Interest: Planning and Economic Development
Mentors: Carol Burns, Taylor Burns Architects and Jennifer Haugh, Iconic Energy Consulting
Agency: Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
Supervisor: Anne Haynes, Director of Transformative Development, MassDevelopment and Paul McMorrow, Policy Director, MA Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
Project Description: During his time at the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency (MassDevelopment), Marcus worked to support the Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) in a variety of ways. TDI is a place-based and systems-based approach to redevelopment in Massachusetts' Gateway Cities. As part of this initiative, Marcus helped advance the goals of the TDI program in Downtown Peabody, one of the program's ten districts. Marcus analyzed a market study conducted of the downtown, met with city officials and core partnership members, and created a market implementation strategy to push forward recommendations for the district. Marcus consulted past reports, interviewed various community members, and researched best practices for the major challenges facing Downtown Peabody. His report and framework can be used by MassDevelopment to advance the goals of TDI in Peabody and other cities participating in the program. In addition, he assisted with the TDI Places Placemaking Grant process, which awards grants to Gateway Cities that support small-scale, highly visible projects that help build community identity and improve public spaces.


2015_ostis.jpgJames Ostis
Graduate Degree:
University of Massachusetts, Boston
Undergraduate Degree: University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Area of Interest: Economic Development
Mentors: Phil Puccia, JP Morgan Securities and Colleen Dawicki, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Agency: Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
Supervisor: Jay Ash, Secretary of Economic Development
Project Description: During his summer as a Rappaport Fellow, James worked with Secretary Jay Ash in the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development on a number of projects with a primary focus on leadership and development in Gateway Cities.  His main project for the summer was working with EOHED and state and local representatives from Lynn, Mass. on the ongoing redevelopment of the city’s waterfront area.  This involved research of past initiatives, plans, and legislation, the creation of a property owners map, and convening meetings and site visits to the area.  A second major project was the creation of an Economic Development Rural Community Go Team program to assist the 170 rural and small towns in the Commonwealth.  In addition to strategizing the concept, he was tasked with the development of an initial resource guide to be used as part of the program.  Finally, he also was involved in helping craft the “Preparing Communities for Success” section of the Governor’s Economic Development plan, working at a regional roundtable discussion and contributing to drafts of the plan.

2015_rabasco.jpgAlexandra Rabasco
Graduate Degree:
Boston College, School of Social Work
Undergraduate Degree: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Area of Interest: Criminal Justice Issues
Mentors: Tiziana Dearing, Boston College School of Social Work and Melissa Threadgill, Community Resources for Justice
Agency: Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services
Supervisor: Leslie Darcy, Deputy Chief of Staff
Project Description: Alexandra Rabasco aided in the efforts of Governor Baker’s Opioid Working Group by completing projects on behalf of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. For example, Alexandra created a database by compiling information from multiple state agencies as a means of assessing the number and types of treatment beds offered to individuals struggling with substance misuse throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Alexandra also researched the various forms of medication-assisted treatment, edited policy drafts, completed literature reviews and drafted guidelines on drug prevention education for student athletes and their guardians. In addition, Alexandra networked across multiple agencies under the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, shadowed social workers placed in various positions within state government, and had the privilege of meeting many positive mentors and colleagues along the way.

2015_serrano.jpgDiana Serrano
Graduate Degree:
Brandeis University
Undergraduate Degree: Willamette University
Area of Interest: Immigration and Education Issues
Mentors: Julie Boatright Wilson, Harvard Kennedy School and Antoniya Owens, Center for Education Policy Research
Agency: The Children's Trust, Massachusetts Department of Education
Supervisor: Sarita Rogers, Director of Home Visiting
Project Description: During her time at the Children’s Trust, Diana worked to construct a measurement tool that assesses parental capacity. The initial weeks of her placement she met with organization members and did an extensive literature review. Once she identified the dimensions of parental capacity, she worked with her supervisor to identify data availability within the organization that measure factors that directly and indirectly impact parental capacity, these included: parental mental illness, substance misuse, intimate partner violence – to name a few. Based on the identified risk factors, she was able to create three family profiles using latent profile analyses. Based on these profiles service providers can better tailor service delivery to meet the specific needs of families.

2015_simon.jpgTheodora (Teddi) Simon
Graduate Degree:
Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate Degree: University of San Francisco
Area of Interest: Women's Advancement Issues
Mentors: Dan Kennedy, Northeastern University's School of Journalism and Amy Moran Lowe, Government Accountability Office
Agency: Office of Women's Advancement, City of Boston
Supervisor: Megan Costello, Commissioner
Project Description: Tedde spent the summer with the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement (MOWA) at Boston’s City Hall. She worked alongside staff of the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians in an effort to broaden city efforts to combat wage theft, especially in immigrant and low-wage industries. Through this research, she had the opportunity to meet with a multitude of community organizations, workers centers, and advocates addressing these issues, and connect these community groups with liaisons at the city for long-term coordination. She participated in the development of a long-term campaign for diversification of city procurement, with MOWA and the Office of Diversity, to increase Boston’s spending with women and minority-owned businesses.


Heidi Sulman
Graduate Degree:
Boston University School of Public Health
Undergraduate Degree: Harvard University
Area of Interest: Mental Health Issues
Mentors: Joan Wallace-Benjamin, The Home for Little Wanderers and Justin Pasquariello, Children's HealthWatch
Agency: Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission
Supervisor: Commissioner Dolores Mitchell
Project Description: As a Fellow at the Group Insurance Commission, Heidi conducted a study regarding care integration and managed behavioral health organizations. She spoke to over 75 different stakeholders – including legislators, numbers state government officials, academics and policy experts, providers / health systems, insurance executives, and advocacy organizations – to determine their opinions and ascertain best practices for incentivizing integration. She ultimately wrote a white paper with policy recommendations for the GIC, a condensed version of which she intends to publish in a peer-reviewed journal.  She also wrote internal memos suggesting improvements to the agency’s current behavioral health contracts.


Danny Vazquez
Graduate Degree:
Harvard Medical School
Undergraduate Degree: University of Arizona
Area of Interest: Health Care Finance Policy
Mentors: Renee Landers, Suffolk University Law School and Daniela Delgado, Harvard Medical School
Agency: Office of State Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, House Chair of Public Health Finance
Supervisor: Massachusetts State Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, House Chair of Public Health Finance and Sarah Sabshon, Chief of Staff
Project Description: During his summer on the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing at the Office of Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, Danny was heavily involved in the Working Group on Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MMCOs), which are the health insurance plans that MassHealth, the Massachusetts state Medicaid agency, contracts with. The MMCOs are responsible for the quality and cost of health care for their Medicaid population, and influence cost and quality by implementing a variety of “managed care” techniques to reduce overall health care costs and enhance coordination of care for medically complex patients. The Working Group on MMCOs was started to examine the success and impact of MMCOs on health care in Massachusetts and culminate in policy recommendations for the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing that will impact MMCOs as Massachusetts moves forward with health care payment reform. While on the Joint Committee for Health Care Financing, Danny conducted research on MMCOs; met and communicated with various stakeholders to learn more about the issues surrounding MMCOs from the health plan perspective, including MassHealth, MMCO health plan leaders, and MAHP; and also met and communicated with several research organizations, including CHIA, to obtain critical information necessary for the proper function of the Working Group on MMCOs. He synthesized the information from these and other sources to inform the Working Group’s discussion of MMCO issues, to inform the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing as they craft policy recommendations in September, and to suggest his own policy recommendations to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.

2015_woodson.jpgLindsay Woodson
Graduate Degree: Harvard Graduate School of Design
Undergraduate Degree: Syracuse University
Area of Interest: Environmental Issues
Mentors: Vivien Li, The Boston Harbor Association and Nathan Sanders, Legendary Entertainment
Agency: Office of State Representative Denise Provost
Supervisor: Massachusetts State Representative Denise Provost
Project Description: Lindsay worked with State Representative Denise Provost (D-Somerville) and a team of experts led by Dr. Doug Brugge from Tufts Medical School to draft state legislation regarding design strategies for minimizing health impacts from near roadway air pollution. During her time at the State House, Lindsay also hosted a legislative briefing to inform Massachusetts Representatives and Senators about air pollution concerns and design solutions to garner support. She also wrote testimony for related environmental bills. Lindsay was also able to contribute to Doug’s team through research, by generating several fact sheets and summary documents. As a designer it critically important to care for the built and natural environment, responsibly. Lindsay appreciated the opportunity to inform policy through design.