Alumni Board members

Meet your alumni board

Alumni board members strive to increase the visibility of the Ford School; to strengthen the school's alumni network; and to assist the school with student recruitment, career services, and alumni relations activities. The board is comprised of 18 elected alumni members who serve three-year terms and two student representatives who serve one-year terms.

Term ending December 31, 2026


Brooklyn Law School

Michael Cahill, (MPP/JD ‘99)

Michael T. Cahill is a professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, where he was also
President and Dean from July 2019 to July 2023. He was previously on its faculty from 2003–16, leaving from 2016–19 to serve as Co-Dean and professor of law at Rutgers Law School. Cahill’s scholarship focuses primarily on criminal law; he has also written and taught courses about health law and policy, as well as teaching the introductory property course. Before joining the Brooklyn faculty, he was involved as staff director and consultant, respectively, for major criminal code reform projects in the states of Illinois and Kentucky. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife Rosalyn Scaff (whom he met at the University of Michigan, from which she received two master’s in 1999) and their two children.

International Finance Corporation

Olga Ioffe Kasher, (MPP/MA ‘99)

Olga Ioffe Kasher has 24-plus years of experience in results measurement and evaluation, donor, and investor relations, fundraising, and communications in major international development organizations. Currently, Ioffe Kasher is a consultant with the International Finance Corporation’s Financial Institutions and Creating Markets Advisory Groups that support teams in Africa and the Middle East. Prior to the International Finance Corporation, Ioffe Kasher worked with the United Nations Development Program in New York as well as the World Bank in Washington DC. Loffe Kasher is originally from Kazakhstan and became a Wolverine in 1994 as an undergraduate (BA’97), and earned her MPP in 1999.
Small profile avatar

City and County of San Francisco

Sophia Kittler, (MPP/MBA ‘14)

Sophia Kittler is the director of innovation and the deputy budget director for San Francisco Mayor London Breed. She has spent the last five years as a member of the mayor's senior staff in various policy and operational roles. Prior to joining city government, Kittler held various roles at the intersection of finance, technology, and social impact, including work at an impact investing venture fund; product design at financial institutions; and research at TechCrunch. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, her two year old son, and her four year old Alaskan Malador.

AT Kearney

DJ McKerr, (BA ‘13)

DJ McKerr, a principal in Kearney’s Healthcare & Life Sciences practice, brings over a decade of healthcare policy and consulting experience with large payors and providers. His experience spans the healthcare continuum and includes providers, integrated delivery networks, value-based care, private equity, payers, pharmacies, and more working with their leadership to drive immediate impact and grow advantage on their most mission-critical issues. McKerr’s commitment to healthcare focuses on the triple aim of improving quality, improving access, and lower the cost of care in communities across the country to improve outcomes and reduce disparities. McKerr’s grandfather, Bob McKerr (MPA ’58), is also an alumni and previous Neil Staebler Distinguished Alumni Service Award recipient. In addition to his BA of Public Policy degree from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy, he also holds an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Physicians for Reproductive Health

Kelsey Rhodes, (BA ‘14)

Kelsey Rhodes (she/her) is the communications director at Physicians for Reproductive Health, a national physician advocacy nonprofit organizing, mobilizing, and amplifying the voices of medical providers to advance sexual and reproductive health. She is responsible for media training over 500 physicians across the country who are committed to protecting and expanding abortion access in the United States. She has advanced the organization’s storytelling, message development, and training for more than seven years. Rhodes has prepared physician advocates for critical hearings on reproductive and sexual health before Congress and for roundtables at the White House and has been involved with the crafting of numerous amicus briefs for cases on reproductive health before the Supreme Court. Rhodes lives with her partner, their dog, cat, and three chickens in Kansas City, MO.
Courtney Sanders

Cortney Sanders (MPP ‘17)

Cortney Sanders currently serves as a senior advisor in the Office of the Acting Commissioner at the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) leading the agency’s equity efforts. Her current portfolio includes overseeing the agency’s equity efforts and outreach to help SSA operationalize equity as a fundamental element of its work and public service.   Prior to her appointment as senior advisor, Sanders was a senior policy analyst and senior manager at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities where she led the organization research efforts on equity and inclusion for the State Fiscal Policy Division. Her research included topics on education, criminal justice fines and fees, COVID19 equity, the Black Women Best economic framework, and a series of blogs on tax and budget issues. She was also an independent consultant and advisor for several universities, government entities, and policy organizations. Sanders has over a decade of years of experience in diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility as a subject matter, and began her career researching education, economic, and social policy.
As a student at the University of Texas at Austin, Sanders pioneered student efforts in writing an amicus brief for the Fisher v. University of Texas Supreme Court case with the Black Student Alliance as the Political Action Chair working with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Her efforts and organizing led to nation-wide support for the university and students of color attending Predominantly White Institutions. She was featured on several news outlets for her courageous work and awarded many awards for her student leadership. Sanders is a graduate of the University of Texas, Austin (BA) and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (MPP). She is also a board member for the Polichic Engagement Fund Texas and University of Michigan Ford School Alumni Board.

Term Ending December 31, 2025

Alli Berry portrait

Deloitte Consulting LLP

Alli Berry (BA ‘19)

Alli Berry is a human capital consultant who supports colleges and universities with organizational change management, strategic communications, organization transformation, stakeholder engagement, HR, and IT strategy. Recent projects include COVID-19 response and making a transition to virtual teaching and learning. She is passionate about making the workplace an environment where employees can thrive through targeted well-being, DEIB, and HR strategies. She is known for leading and inspiring teams to drive change and achieve results.
Prior to Deloitte, Berry spent three years working at the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel at The University of Michigan, which sparked her passion for higher education. Berry graduated with honors from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan in 2019 with a minor in Gender, Race, and Nation through the Gender and Women's Studies department.
Brenda Duverce portrait

Morgan Stanley

Brenda Duverce (MPP ‘16)

Brenda Duverce is a global sustainability / ESG analyst in Morgan Stanley’s equity research division. In this role, she conducts research on environmental, social, and governance factors and their impact on investments. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Duverce worked in management consulting for five years supporting federal government/public sector clients on a variety of business related challenges stemming from strategy and operations, business and operating model development, customer experience, and human capital management. She currently resides in Washington, DC.
Grace Evans

ONE Neighborhood Builders

Grace Evans Pedanou, Chair (MPP ‘16)

Grace Evans Pedanou is the chief of staff at ONE Neighborhood Builders, a community development organization in Providence, RI. With nearly ten years of experience working in and in service to communities, she has led strategy and special projects across the philanthropic, nonprofit, and government sectors. She previously served as a government performance fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab and is an alum of the Coro Center for Civic Leadership’s Public Affairs Fellowship. In addition to her MPP from the Ford School, Pedanou holds a BS in mathematics and a BS in nonprofit management from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.
Eliza Erickson portrait

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Eliza Erickson (MPP ‘10)

Eliza Erickson is the director of Permit, License and Certification (PLC) Innovation in the Office of Governor Josh Shapiro. As a senior member of the newly formed Office of Transformation & Opportunity, Erickson leads efforts to reform, improve, and innovate permit processes across Commonwealth agencies. Prior to joining the Shapiro Administration, Erickson served as the director of innovation & strategy for the City of Philadelphia, where she spent nine years building and growing a nationally recognized model of government innovation called “People, Place, Process,” and managed a flagship portfolio of programs, including an Innovation Academy, Lab and Fund. She studied history and religious studies at the University of Virginia, and subsequently received her master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan. Erickson has extensive experience in strategic planning, design thinking, and civic engagement—but her true passion is exploring Philadelphia with her husband, two kids, and rescue pit bull, Brew.
Headshot of David Tannenbaum

Hughes Hubbard & Reed

David Tannenbaum (BA ‘15)

David Tannenbaum currently works as a litigation associate in the D.C. office of Hughes Hubbard & Reed. While in law school, Tannenbaum represented an individual seeking asylum through Georgetown’s Center for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) and served as an intern with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division; Judge Reggie B. Walton, United States District Court for the District of Columbia; and the United States Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey in Camden, New Jersey.
Prior to law school, Tannenbaum was an associate with Schrayer & Associates. In this role, he worked with clients to advance their state and federal policy objectives in a variety of areas including gun violence prevention, foreign affairs, education, and public health. He received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center.
Janani Yates portrait

City of Detroit

Janani Ramachandran Yates (MPP ‘13)

Janani Ramachandran Yates is the deputy budget director for the City of Detroit. She has led efforts to rebuild the City’s program and performance based budgeting apparatus and to create a more transparent and inclusive budget process. Previously, Yates was the associate budget director in the Office of Budget and Performance Management for the District of Columbia, where she led the strategic direction and management of Washington D.C.'s $9 billion capital budget. She also helped lead the District's financial response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including the strategic allocation of once-in-a-generation federal aid packages totaling nearly $4 billion. Yates also served as a senior financial analyst with Arlington County, VA and held budget and operations roles with the federal government at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She holds a MPP from the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and a BA from Amherst College.

Term Ending December 31, 2024


Edward Chu (MPP ‘88)

Edward H. Chu is the deputy regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 7 in Lenexa, Kansas. He has over 30 years of environmental and energy policy experience, passion for public service and sustainability, and commitment to protecting public health and the environment. Chu has served in senior executive positions with EPA headquarters and regions, implementing over 20 environmental statutes with 27 states and over 300 federally-recognized tribes. During the Obama-Biden Administration, Chu served as the deputy associate director for Green Jobs, Community Protection, and Climate Solutions at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In addition to his position at EPA, Chu is currently serving as special advisor for environment and climate solutions at Arizona State University and as distinguished practitioner at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. He has hiked in all 50 states and in 15 countries since leaving the Ford School and has run 11 marathons since 2016. This is Chu’s second time on the Alumni Board.
Tosha Downey portrait

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Tosha Downey (MPP ‘96)

Tosha Downey is a senior program officer for state and local government relations for Tennessee at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to joining the foundation, she was vice president of advocacy for the Memphis Education Fund (MEF), a partner organization in Memphis’ effort to transform chronically underperforming schools. A native Memphian, Downey has spent more than 25 years leading work in charter school management, college access and recruitment, community engagement, and talent acquisition. She has also served as director of government affairs at the Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago, IL, and worked for the Academy for Urban School Leadership, Comer Science & Education Foundation, and the Ryan Family Foundation. She is a graduate of Leadership Memphis, the New Memphis Institute’s Leadership Development Intensive, and Leadership Tennessee. She sits on the Board of Utmost U and the South City Development Corporation. In addition to her MPP from the Ford School, Downey earned her BA in Education at Clark Atlanta University and a JD from the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Sam Geller portrait

Consumers Energy

Sam Geller (MPP '17)

Sam Geller is a senior analyst for electric regulatory strategy at Consumers Energy where he provides communications, strategic planning, and regulatory support for the company's electric generation and distribution divisions. Prior to this role, Geller was the budget analyst with the City of Detroit Mayor's Office. He has also served as a finance staffer on political campaigns for U.S. congressional, governor, and city council races. In 2017, Geller served as the Riecker Michigan Delegation Fellow with U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI).
Latesha Love-Grayer (MPP '02)

U.S. Government Accountability Office

Latesha Love-Grayer (MPP '02)

Latesha Love-Grayer is a senior executive at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), serving as a director of International Affairs and Trade (IAT). She has over nineteen years of experience leading performance and forensic audits in a wide range of federal program and policy areas, on behalf of Congress. She currently oversees a portfolio examining international policy issues, such as international cybersecurity issues, terrorism and corruption in security assistance, and trade barriers, among others. Prior to IAT, Ms. Love-Grayer spent several years overseeing audits of domestic policy issues, such as consumer financial protection, Medicare, immigration, regulatory policies, and governmentwide efforts to improve the efficiency and fraud risk management of agencies. Her work has led to identifying millions of dollars in savings to federal programs as well as a range of changes to federal programs, policies, and legislation that have improved their performance, operations, and risk management. Her commitment to GAO has also included leading or contributing to internal initiatives to enhance the performance, accountability, diversity, culture, processes, and staff development within GAO. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Virginia State University and a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy, where she was also a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow.


Kevin Sweitzer (BA ‘19)

Kevin Sweitzer is a state and local government consultant with Guidehouse, where he supports clients with the administration of large-scale government programs and strategy development that focuses on government effectiveness and service delivery. Sweitzer is passionate about transportation and urban policy. He previously interned with the U.S. Department of Transportation. While he was at the Ford School, Sweitzer was involved with several student organizations and groups and is eager to support BA students as they navigate the program and transition into the professional world. Sweitzer is originally from Lansing, MI and currently resides in Washington, DC.

Alliance for Affordable Energy

Jackson Voss, Vice-Chair (MPP/STPP '18)

Jackson Voss is the climate policy coordinator for the Alliance for Affordable, where he focuses on federal and state opportunities to transform Louisiana’s policy environment and better protect the state and its people from the worst effects of climate change. Born in New Orleans and raised in the south, Voss has also worked on political campaigns, for a regional economic development organization, in the U.S. Senate, and for a university-based public policy research center. Voss first came to the Ford School as a Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellow (JSI'13) while completing his degree in political science at Louisiana State University. He returned to the Ford School to complete his MPP and Certificate in Science, Technology, and Public Policy. He also served as the 2018 Riecker Michigan Delegation Fellow with U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI).


Undergraduate and Graduate Student Representatives to the Alumni Board


Yasmine Elkharssa (BA ‘24)

Yasmine Elkharssa is a second-generation, Lebanese Muslim woman who was born and raised in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Post graduation, she intends to focus on the impact that the law and government have on domestic, social inequalities. Elkharssa has interned with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), the Washtenaw County Office of the Public Defender, and the Community Development Advocates of Detroit during her time at the University of Michigan. While at the Ford School, Elkharssa served as the BA Peer Advisor, and as the vice chair of Undergraduate Students of Color in Public Policy. She was named as one of 62 Truman Scholars nationwide in 2023, for her outstanding leadership potential and dedication to public service. She looks forward to moving to Washington DC after graduation, and exploring all that life has to offer!

Danica Swiggart (MPP ‘24)

Danica Swiggart is dedicated to addressing systemic barriers and promoting equity, particularly in housing and education policies. As a first-generation college student, Swiggart is passionate about policies that serve historically disinvested communities. Before pursuing graduate studies, Swiggart catalyzed and disseminated research on poverty reduction as part of the communications team at J-PAL North America at MIT. At the Ford School, she focuses on using research and analysis methods to assess public policy outcomes. Her work extends to designing inclusive public engagement processes, and she participated in a faculty-directed project to develop a community engagement plan for a city’s budget process. In addition to her position on the Alumni Board, Swiggart serves on the executive board for the Ford School’s Students of Color in Public Policy.


Alumni Engagement/Visibility
Cortney Sanders, Co-chair
Jackson Voss Co-chair
Alli Berry
Michael Cahill
Ed Chu
Rohan Dharan
Tosha Downey
Kelsey Rhodes
Danica Swiggart

Sam Geller, Chair
Michael Cahill
Ed Chu
Grace Evans Pedanou
DJ McKerr
David Tannenbaum

Jackson Voss, Chair
Eliza Erickson

Staebler Award
Michael Cahill
Ed Chu
Rohan Dharan
Brenda Duverce
DJ McKerr
Jackson Voss 

Student Engagement
Brenda Duverce, Co-chair
Eliza Erickson, Co-chair
Yasmine Elkharssa
Tosha Downey
Olga Ioffee Kasher
Latesha Love-Grayer
Kelsey Rhodes
Kevin Sweitzer
Danica Swiggart
Jackson Voss
Janani Yates

U-M Alumni Association Washington, DC Chapter Representative


DC Public Schools

Rohan Dharan (BA '13)

Rohan Dharan graduated with a BA from the Ford School in 2013, with a focus in education policy. After graduating, Rohan was a Teach for America corps member in Las Vegas where he taught 1st and 4th grade. He then spent a year in India teaching spoken English at a school in New Delhi through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant scholarship. He has lived in DC for the past 7 years working with DC Public Schools in their central office. He currently serves as the manager for secondary advanced instruction, which primarily entails overseeing the district's Advanced Placement program. In his free time, Rohan loves to travel, try new restaurants, and go for long walks with his wife and dog.

Have any questions?