fbpx Current Fellows | Harvard Kennedy School

William AtkinsonWilliam Atkinson
Graduate School:
MIT
Undergraduate School: Princeton University
Interest Area: Environmental Policy
Mentors: Vivien Li, Rappaport Institute Advisory Board and Rees Sweeney-Taylor, Harvard Kennedy School and former Rappaport Public Policy Summer Fellow
Placement: Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and the Environment
Supervisor: Benjamin Miller, Global Warming Data Analyst
Project Description: Will plans to work on transportation equity analyses with Benjamin Miller of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. As the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts, transportation is a core focus of the Commonwealth’s climate policy efforts. Our goal is to assess the climate, health, and equity implications of potential policies -- including comparisons across geographic and demographic groups.

Olivia BrittonOlivia Britton
Graduate School: Boston University
Undergraduate School: Union College
Interest Area: Civic Engagement and Immigration Policy
Mentors: Jim Segel, Chair, Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member and Mariangely Solis Cervera, Constituency Director Michelle Wu for Boston and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement
Supervisor: Carol León, Programs Manager
Project Description: At the Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement (MOIA), Olivia will assist with logistics for Immigrants Lead Boston, a program for Boston immigrants who wish to take more civic ownership and become leaders in the community. Olivia will assist in developing the course’s capstone project for participants and coordinating events for alumni engagement.

Lauren CraikLauren Craik
Graduate School: MIT
Undergraduate School: Queen's College
Interest Area: Transportation Policy
Mentors: Monica Tibbits-Nutt, Executive Director, 128 Business Council and Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member and Kathleen Mayell, Transportation Planning Manager, City of Minneapolis and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Supervisors: Reggie Ramos, Director of Pilots and Innovation and Andrew Stuntz, Senior Manager of Fare Policy Analysis
Project Description: Lauren will be working with the MBTA Pilots and Innovation team on the fare policy transformation. Specifically, Lauren will be analyzing the different fare policies for the future of the regional rail transformation, completing both an economic and equity analysis to understand the feasibility and impact of different options.

Miguel Davila UzcateguiMiguel Dávila Uzcátegui
Graduate School: MIT
Undergraduate School: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Interest Area: Housing Policy
Mentors: Phil Puccia, Senior Vice President for Education and Not-for-Profit Banking, JP Morgan and Rappaport Institute Advisory Board and Max Wynn, Program Manager for NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: Department of Neighborhood Development, Boston
Supervisor: Jessica Boatright, Deputy Director, Neighborhood Housing Development Division
Project Description: Miguel is supporting the City of Boston’s Acquisition Opportunity Program at the Department of Neighborhood Development. His work consists of researching and creating policy to best leverage public funding to further the city’s mission to acquire 1000 units of privately-held "naturally occurring" affordable housing by 2030 to expand its rental stock. In acquisitions work, the City is in a highly competitive real estate market, and COVID-19 recovery funds may present new acquisition opportunities and approaches. In development work, pandemic-related events underpin rapidly changing data on project costs. Given the new dynamics, Miguel will help the City address new funding gaps and opportunities to make pertinent recommendations to readapt local policy.

Valerie EisensonValerie Eisenson
Graduate School: Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate School: Yale University
Interest Area: Education Policy
Mentors: Carol Burns, Taylor Burns Architects and Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member and Christine Dahnke, Senior Director, Research, Accountability, and Grants, Orange County Public Schools and former Rappaport Policy Fellow
Placement: Chelsea Public Schools
Supervisor: Dr. Aaron Jennings, Equity, Diversity & Excellence Officer
Project Description:  This summer, Valerie will be working with the Chelsea Public Schools to gain a deeper understanding of engagement and disengagement of students at the high school level. Valerie will be conducting qualitative research to elevate the voices of students, families, and educators, and will use this research to highlight key opportunities in which the Chelsea Public Schools can enhance their support of high schoolers.

Parsa ErfaniParsa Erfani
Graduate School: Harvard Medical School
Undergraduate School: Columbia University
Interest Area: Public Health Finance Policy
Mentors: Renee Landers, Professor of Law, Suffolk University  Law School and Rappaport Advisory Board Member and Ravi Parikh, Staff Physician and Medical Oncologist, Philadelphia VA Medical Center and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: MassHealth
Supervisor: Clara Filice, Associate Medical Director for Payment and Care Delivery Innovation
Project Description:  Parsa Erfani is a 5th year medical student at Harvard Medical School. He is joining MassHealth this summer to design policy reforms that incentivize reduction of health disparities in accountable care organizations. He will be pursuing an internal medicine residency after graduation.

Marcela Familiar BolanosMarcela Familiar-Bolaños
Graduate School: Boston College School of Social Work
Undergraduate School: Skidmore College
Interest Area: Social Services Policy
Mentors: Helene Solomon, Solomon McCown and Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member and Alexis Yohros, Northeastern University and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate
Supervisor: Melissa Threadgill, Director of Juvenile Justice Initiatives and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Project Description: Marcela is a first-year Master’s in Social Work Student at Boston College School of Social Work as part of the Latinx Leadership Initiative. As a Rappaport Fellow, Marcela will be working at the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA). Marcela will be conducting research evaluating the cross between DCF involvement and entering the juvenile justice system as well as the efficiency of Child Requiring Assistance (CRA’s) court cases. Marcela will also be conducting interviews with Latinx community stakeholders in order to assess how to improve the quality of services provided to the Boston Latinx community, to ensure these services are culturally responsive, and reduce/address existing barriers.

Shaunesse' JacobsShaunesse' Jacobs
Graduate School: Boston University School of Theology
Undergraduate School: Emory University
Interest Areas: Health Finance Policy
Mentors: Renee Landers, Suffolk University Law School and Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member and Yareliz Diaz, Boston University School of Public Health and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: Massachusetts Executive Office for Elder Affairs
Supervisors: Dr. Elizabeth Chen, Secretary for Elder Affairs and Patricia Yu, Senior Director of Healthcare Workforce Policy
Project Description: Working with Secretary Elizabeth Chen's office and the Office for Elder Affairs, Shaunesse' will research the strategies, opportunities, and obstacles to creating a bridge curriculum between home health aides and certified nursing assistants. This research, building on the research that has already occurred, will inform policy a policy strategy to implement the bridge curriculum to increase entry into nursing professions.

Katherine MarcincukKatherine Marcincuk
Graduate School: Boston College School of Social Work
Undergraduate School: Boston University
Interest Area: Social Services Policy
Mentors: Lissy Medvedow, Executive Director, Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy, Boston College Law School and Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member and Tara Pavao, DC Health Homes Director, Mary’s Center and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: Mayor's Office for Women's Advancement, Boston
Supervisor: Alexandra Valdez, Executive Director
Project Description:  Katherine will be working with the Mayor's Office for Women's Advancement in Boston.  She will be involved with a variety of projects including those regarding statewide domestic violence prevention policy and the Collaborative Effort Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) team. She will also be aiding MOWA in creating programming and opportunities that support economic equity, safety, empowerment, and representation for women.

Setarreh MassihzadeganSetarreh Massihzadegan
Graduate School: University of Massachusetts Boston
Undergraduate School: Assumption College
Interest Area: Elder Care Policy
Mentors: Ben Forman, Policy Director, MassINC, Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member and former Rappaport Policy Fellow and Julie Miller, Research Scientist, MIT AgeLab and former Rappaport Policy Fellow
Placement: Department of Neighborhood Development, Boston
Supervisor: Jessica Boatright, Deputy Director, Neighborhood Housing Development Division
Project Description:  Setarreh will be working with the Neighborhood Housing Development Division within the City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development. Setarreh will focus on a project to identify and benchmark operational costs for supportive senior housing. She will also investigate funding opportunities for affordable housing development in Boston, where housing costs are among the highest in the country and demand for affordable options is significant.

Ayanna Miller-SmithAyanna Miller-Smith
Graduate School: Northeastern University
Undergraduate School: John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Interest Area: Criminal Justice Policy
Mentors: Helene Solomon, Solomon McCown and Rappaport Advisory Board Member and Kimberly Blair, Manager of Public Policy and Advocacy, National Alliance on Mental Illness of NYC and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate and Massachusetts Department of Youth Services
Supervisor: Melissa Threadgill, Director of Juvenile Justice Initiatives and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Project Description:  Ayanna Miller will have a joint placement between the Office of the Child Advocate and the Department of Youth Services. She will be assisting both agencies in examining racial and ethnic disparities in youth custodial arrests rates across the state of Massachusetts. Data indicates that Black and Hispanic/Latino youth experience disparities in almost every single county. Ayanna will also be assisting in other smaller projects within these two agencies.

Tauren NelsonTauren Nelson
Graduate School: Brandeis University
Undergraduate School: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Interest Area: Equity Policy
Mentors: Jessica Vonashek, Chief, Economic and Community Development, Town of Norwalk, CT, Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow and Deja Moore, Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education Program Coordinator, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Supervisor: Sabrina Selk, Director of Health Equity
Project Description: This summer Tauren will be working with the Covid Community Impact Survey (CCIS) team to conduct targeted qualitative analysis by specific demographic area on how covid-19 and structural violence impact Black and Indigenous communities in MA. During the course of this project, she will create resource documents, DPH PowerPoint templates, and a white paper delineating macro-structural root determinants of health outcomes to micro-level data. The most critical aspect of this project is making the data and resources accessible and digestible to policy makers, communities, community organizers, and other government employees.

Nancy SandovalNancy Sandoval
Graduate School: Boston College School of Social Work
Undergraduate School: University of San Diego
Interest Area: Food Security and Immigration Policy
Mentors: Jeffrey  Sánchez, Senior Advisor, Rasky Partners, Inc., Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member and former Rappaport/Boston Urban Fellow and Takia Myers, former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: Chelsea Department of Housing and Community Development
Supervisor: Alexander Train, Director
Project Description: Nancy Sandoval is working with the City of Chelsea’s Department of Housing and Community Development where she will be developing a strategy for new housing and integrative services reflective of the needs of the community. The City aspires to increase the production, preservation, and improvement of affordable and mixed income housing for low- and moderate-income households, with a focus on serving BIPOC, undocumented, and systemically underrepresented communities. The City seeks to develop a strategy for supportive services related to workforce development and economic mobility, which could be integrated into future affordable housing projects. Nancy will undertake a critical role in conducting an inventory of available policies, programs, and resources; interviewing community members and key stakeholders; researching case studies illustrating best practices in a variety of economic mobility services and outcomes; and developing a set of actionable recommendations that will inform the City’s housing planning, policy, and development activities.

Mekka SmithMekka Smith
Graduate School: Harvard Graduate School of Education
Undergraduate School: Amherst College
Interest Area: Education Policy
Mentors: Stephen Chan, The Boston Foundation and Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member and Kelsey Edmond, UMass Boston and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Supervisor: Jackie Gantzer, Director of Remote Learning
Project Description: Mekka is working at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) within the Center for Strategic Initiatives on the Remote Learning Team. Mekka reports to the Director of Remote Learning and will provide strategic and operational support for a DESE partnership with LearnLaunch (an education innovation hub) and their revamped Building Blocks framework, which will support MA school districts to shift from remote learning to fall reopening. The framework categorizes the essential instructional elements for achieving equitable, high-quality teaching and learning amidst the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

Adrianna Spindle-JacksonAdrianna Spindle-Jackson
Graduate School: Boston University School of Social Work
Undergraduate School: California State University – Monterey Bay
Interest Area: Housing Policy
Mentors: Ramón Soto, Director of Government Advocacy, Boston Medical Center,  Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member and former Rappaport/Boston Urban Scholar and Leila Quinn, Senior Consultant, Zelus Consulting and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: Office of Representative Natalie Higgins, former Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy Fellow
Supervisor: Representative Natalie Higgins
Project Description: Adrianna will be working in Representative Natalie Higgins' office at the Massachusetts State House on housing related legislative efforts. She will support ongoing collaboration with local agencies related to moving from congregate to non-congregate shelter and develop materials to support the creation of a Housing Caucus for Massachusetts.

Madeline StumpMadeline Stump
Graduate School: Boston University School of Public Health
Undergraduate School: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Interest Area: LGBTQ+ Policy
Mentors: Jeffrey Sánchez, Rasky Partners, Inc., Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member and former Rappaport/Boston Urban Scholar and Ashley Barnes-Cocke, ACI Project Director, A Way Home Washington and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ+ Policy
Supervisors: Sasha Goodfriend, Commission Chair; Chastity Bowick, Executive Director, Transgender Emergency Fund
Project Description: Madeline is a Boston University School of Public Health Masters of Public Health candidate. She will spend her fellowship working with the Transgender Emergency Fund (TEF) in partnership with the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth. Currently TEF is determining the details for the development of a new transitional housing program specifically for transgender people, to be located in Boston, MA. Madeline's roles will be to analyze and consolidate TEF's recent survey data regarding the desires of transgender people living in MA for this new housing project; she will write a brief report detailing the importance of the development of this housing program with respect to trans folks and homelessness and housing insecurity generally, draft a statement of support for the housing project to be signed by individuals at the Trans Resistance march co-sponsored by TEF, and develop a longer final report outlining what the next steps of TEF should be.

Jessica TangJessica Tang
Graduate School: Harvard Graduate School of Design and Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate School: Hamilton College
Interest Area: Economic Development and Planning Policy
Mentors: Amy Dain, Dain Consulting, Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow and Colleen Dawicki, Deputy Director, Working Cities Challenge, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: MassDevelopment
Supervisors: Laura Christopher, Real Estate Innovation Officer and Noah Koretz, Director, Transformative Development
Project Description: Jessica will be supporting the Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) at MassDevelopment. She will analyze the implementation of current TDI projects, using this information to help adapt economic growth strategies for other areas in Mass. She will also be assisting with various stages of the grantmaking process.

Judy TouzinJudy Touzin
Graduate School: Harvard Graduate School of Education
Undergraduate School: New York University Steinhardt School of Education
Interest Area: Equity Policy
Mentors: Brian Doherty, General Agent/Secretary Treasurer of the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District and Rappaport Advisory Board Member and Chrystal Lopez Haynes, former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate
Supervisor: Melissa Threadgill, Director of Juvenile Justice Initiatives and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Project Description: Judy Touzin, is a fellow with the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA).  She will be responsible for supporting the office’s research and policy work on improving the Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) process across the Commonwealth.   Specifically, Judy will gather and analyze qualitative and quantitative data on the two school-based petition types (truancy and habitual school offender) as well as effective prevention/intervention processes that could reduce the need for these kinds of CRAs. As part of this work, she will look at specific interventions that can help promote equity and address persistent racial and ethnic disparities.  The goal of this project is to glean insights from the field and offer recommendations that will ensure youth and families across the state of Massachusetts receive timely and effective supports.

David VelasquezDavid Velasquez
Graduate School: Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School and Harvard Medical School
Undergraduate School: University of Southern California
Interest Area: Public Health Finance Policy
Mentors: Bill Walczak, President and CEO, South End Community Health Center and Andreas Mitchell, Internal Medicine Resident at University of California Medical Center
Placement: Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Supervisor: Ben Wood, Director of Division of Community Health and Prevention
Project Description:  This summer, David is working with the Division of Community Health Planning and Engagement at the Department of Public Health. He will work with stakeholders across the state to understand the landscape of existing hospital policies and business practices focused on addressing population health. He will further investigate how the COVID-19 pandemic and our recent reckoning with racism is structurally changing the way hospitals interact with vulnerable communities.

Mengni Amy YaoMengni Amy Yao
Graduate School: Boston University School of Social Work
Undergraduate School: Lehigh University
Mentors: Tech Leng, Director, Planning and Community Development, City of Revere, Rappaport Institute Advisory Board Member and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow and Tariana Little, CEO and Cofounder, EmVision Productions and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Placement: Mayor's Office of Food Access, Boston
Supervisor: Catalina Prada Valderrama, Outreach and Communications Director
Project Description: Amy Yao will work with the Mayor’s Office of Food Access to address under-utilization of food-assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), in the Boston area and beyond. Amy will conduct stakeholder interviews to understand the extent of and barriers to program under-utilization, and analyze the impact of recent policy changes to SNAP and COVID-relief policies on program participation. In addition, Amy will co-lead an outreach project to help de-stigmatize nutritional assistance programs, and to simplify the application process for residents.