Coffee chats with alumni

Let's sit down and chat, in person or virtually

Join Ford School alumni for an informal conversation where you can ask questions, get answers, and learn how the Ford School shaped and prepared these former Ford School students for their career and professional paths.

Space may be limited at some in-person meetups, depending on location. Please register as soon as possible for the specific coffee chat you'd like to attend. We'll maintain a waitlist for any chats where interest exceeds space, and will follow-up with folks from the waitlists when spots open up.

  • Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
    Location: University of Michigan DC office, 444 N. Capitol Street, NW Suite 820


    • Jennifer Niggemeier, Ford School Graduate Career Services & Alumni Relations
    • Chelsea Davis (BA '15, MPP '19), U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
      Chelsea is a double Fordie, receiving her BA in 2015 and MPP in 2019. While pursuing her master's, Chelsea served as one of Ford's Riecker fellows with Sen. Gary Peters on his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) staff. After graduation, she was hired on full time, starting in Sen. Peters' personal office as a Legislative Aide. For the past year, Chelsea has served as a Professional Staff Member with Chairman Peters on his HSGAC staff where she heads a portfolio focused on Washington D.C., federal property, and environmental and transportation issues in the governmental affairs space. 
    • Bethany Haddad (MPP '22), U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
      Bethany is a second-year MPP candidate, currently studying off-campus as a Riecker Fellow with Sen. Gary Peters on his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. During her time at the Ford School, Bethany has focused on environmental and energy policy, including serving as President of the Environmental Policy Association. For her summer internship requirement, Bethany served as a Policy Fellow in the Executive Office of Governor Whitmer where her portfolio included climate plan strategy, PFAS, green procurement, and flood response. Lastly, while at the Ford School, Bethany consulted for the Michigan Food Security Council, where she worked to strengthen food security, sustainability, and the local food economy.

    Times: 10:00 a.m. ET
    Location: APSIA Office, 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 632 (directly above Farragut North metro)


    • Jennifer Niggemeier, Ford School Graduate Career Services & Alumni Relations
    • Callie Furmaniak, U.S. Department of Treasury
      After graduating with an MPP from the Ford School of Public Policy in 2020, Callie moved to DC to begin her work as a Presidential Management Fellow serving in the Office of the Chief Data Officer (OCDO) at the Bureau of the Fiscal Service. Callie started as an analyst working to stand up a new data governance structure then as the product owner for www.FiscalData.Treasury.Gov.  She is currently on rotation with the Office of Consumer Policy at the Department of the Treasury. Prior to attending Ford, Callie worked at Capital One as a project and product manager for the home loans and retail bank lines of business. Outside of work, Callie enjoys hiking and figure skating (and there are lots of opportunities to do both in Michigan and DC).

    Times: 12:00 p.m. ET
    Location: APSIA Office, 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 632 (directly above Farragut North metro)


    • Jennifer Niggemeier, Ford School Graduate Career Services & Alumni Relations
    • Michael Manansala (MPP '17), U.S. Department of State
      Michael Manansala (MPP '17) is a Foreign Affairs Officer at the U.S. Department of State. As a member of the State Department's career civil service, he designs and manages regional programs to address rule of law, cyber crime, and wildlife trafficking issues in Asia under the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, Office of Europe and Asia (INL/EA). Prior to joining the Department, Michael worked at a number of international development consulting firms, NGOs, and venture firms, including DT Global, FHI 360, Pearson Ventures, DAI Global, and Optimal Solutions Group.  He has experience working closely with the private sector, multilateral organizations, development banks, civil society, philanthropy, U.S. government agencies, and foreign governments to design, propose, and implement donor-funded programs.  Areas of technical expertise include good governance, cyber conflict, human migration, education, and the environment.  As an immigrant and a part of the LGBTQ community, Michael is committed to facilitating an inclusive workplace that values diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and life experiences. Michael earned an MPP from the University of Michigan and holds a BA in political science from Macalester College.

    Time: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. ET
    Location: Maize Room, U-M Detroit Center, 3663 Woodward Ave, Suite 150, Detroit MI 48201


    • Peter Vasher, Ford School Graduate Career Services & Alumni Relations
    • Janani Yates (MPP '13), City of Detroit
      Janani Ramachandran Yates is the Deputy Budget Director of the City of Detroit. In this capacity, she is responsible for the day-to-day management of the city’s Office of Budget, including the teams that produce the city’s revenue and economic forecasts, analyze and develop the city’s budget, administer budgetary controls, advance performance management, and support budgetary IT systems. Previously, she was the Associate Budget Director for Capital in the Mayor’s Office of Budget and Performance Management in the District of Columbia, where she led the strategic direction and management of Washington D.C.'s $8 billion capital budget, including transportation infrastructure, schools, IT systems, parks, development projects, municipal buildings and other publicly owned and financed assets. Prior to joining District government, she was a Senior Financial Analyst with Arlington County, VA and held budget and operations roles with 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.
    • Ben Eikey (MPP '19), Wayne State University Levin Center
      Ben Eikey is the Manager of State Training and Communications for the Levin Center at Wayne State Law School. He specializes in legislative oversight and has traveled across the United States to conduct oversight workshops and panel discussions in state legislatures and with partner organizations. He leads the communications efforts of the Levin Center, and is the host of Oversight Matters, a podcast on legislative oversight. Ben has experience in the Michigan House of Representatives and the United States Congress. His work involved state and federal appropriations committee responsibilities including budget analysis and departmental oversight. Ben excelled in encouraging positive impacts in criminal justice, appropriations, and fact finding investigations.

    Time: 10:00 a.m. CT
    Location: Key West Bistro, 2803 E. 38th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406


    • Farah Mandich (MPP '17), Xcel Energy
      Farah Mandich is director of resource planning and bidding for Xcel Energy in Minneapolis. She and her team lead development of long term electric generation resource plans and competitive resource acquisitions for the company’s five-state Upper Midwest service area. Prior to this role, Farah worked in regulatory affairs at Xcel Energy and Southern California Edison, drafting regulatory documents and advising on electric policy and regulation in Minnesota and California, respectively. Before attending Ford, she worked as a renewable energy subject matter expert in global consultancy McKinsey & Company’s Electric Power & Natural Gas practice. Farah earned her MPP from the Ford School in 2017. During her time at Ford she focused on economic policy and sustainability coursework. Farah completed her internship in the U.S. director’s office at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a multilateral development bank established to support post-Soviet countries’ transition to market economies. She earned her BS in economics from Texas Christian University, where she also completed an energy and agriculture policy-focused internship at the White House.

    Time: 4:00 p.m. PT
    Location: CAFE RÉVEILLE, 1998 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109


    • Claire Davidson, Ford School Graduate Career Services & Alumni Relations
    • Carmen Ye (MPP '18), Action Squared
      Carmen Ye is the Director of People and Culture at Action Network, which creates technology for the progressive movement. Previously she led People Operations at Make School in San Francisco and LaunchCode in St Louis, both non-profits creating alternative educational pathways to technology for underrepresented communities. During Carmen’s time at LaunchCode, the organization was a 2019 and 2020 honoree in the St Louis Women’s Foundation Women in the Workplace scorecard. This distinction recognizes employers who are committed to gender equity and initiatives to support women in the workplace. LaunchCode was also featured in Forbes’ 2019 Best Startup Employers. Carmen holds a Master of Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She was also a 2011 Public Policy and International Affairs fellow. Her policy interests include diversity, equity, and inclusion, leadership development, and identity formation among Asian Pacific Americans. Her personal interests include traveling, baking, and learning new languages, with fluency in Cantonese, Spanish, and Mandarin.
    • Belinda Sirha (MPP '18), Dropbox, Inc.
      Belinda Kaur Sirha currently serves as the Head of State and Local Government Affairs at Dropbox, where she is responsible for handling state and local policy issues in key markets, including California, New York, Texas and Washington. Prior to joining Dropbox, Belinda served as Senior Manager of State and Local Government at Gap Inc. Belinda began her political career at the University of California Office of the President where she worked on legislation related to energy, sustainability, compensation, online education, health sciences and academic research. Belinda also worked at Futures Without Violence, where she developed public awareness campaigns and education programs. A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Belinda served as a public health volunteer in rural Kenya from 2006-2008. Belinda is a San Francisco native and a graduate of the University of Southern California. She holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan.

    Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
    Location: Zoom (meeting link)


    • Jennifer Niggemeier, Ford School Graduate Career Services & Alumni Relations
    • Matt Manning (MPP '15), U.S. Department of Energy
      After graduating from Ford in 2015 with an MPP, Matt joined the federal government as a Presidential Management Fellow. Matt’s career has focused on global energy markets. He currently works as an advisor to the Office of Market Development in the Department of Energy. In this role, he works to catalyze the deployment and development of clean energy across the globe. He has previously worked in the Energy Information Administration and in the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.
    • Tanvangi Tiwari (MPP '20), University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
      Tanvangi is a program evaluation research associate with the Center for Community Engaged Evaluation in the Office of Community Health and Research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering from BITS-Pilani, India, and master’s degree in Public Policy, with an emphasis on quantitative and qualitative policy analysis, from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Prior to UAMS, she worked as a policy associate for the City of Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan, and as a quantitative data analyst with nonprofits in Washington, D.C. Her professional interests lie at the interface of technology with society, particularly in workforce development and health equity. Her work focuses on equitable growth to facilitate intergenerational socioeconomic mobility in communities of colour. Through her work, Tanvangi hopes to create knowledge systems that decentralize health education and empower communities to impact public policy.
    • Tim Trollope (MPP ‘19), Deloitte LLP
      Tim is a transfer pricing consultant at Deloitte Tax LLP in Chicago. He currently works on transfer pricing compliance and income tax controversy projects serving multinational clients. He is passionate about the economics of energy transitions worldwide, climate change and taxing the digital economy. He interned with the World Bank and the German Development Bank (“KfW”) during his graduate studies at U-M.

    Time: 12:00 -1:00 p.m. ET
    Location: Zoom (meeting link)


    • Elisabeth Johnston, Ford School Graduate Career Services & Alumni Relations
    • Frank Cousin (MPP '17), U.S. Internal Revenue Service
    • Grace Evans (MPP '16), ONE Neighborhood Builders
      Grace Evans is the assistant director of community innovation & strategy 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 has 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 Master of Public Policy from the Ford School, Evans holds a BS in mathematics and a BS in nonprofit management from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.
    • John Guerriero (MPP '17), National Governors Association
      John Guerriero serves as a Cybersecurity Manager for the Lafayette Group, Inc (LGI), where he consults federal agency clients on a variety of cybersecurity and risk management initiatives. Prior to joining LGI, John served as interim Program Director and Senior Policy Analyst for the National Governors Association’s Cybersecurity Program, where he supported governors’ staff and state policymakers on a variety of cybersecurity issues, including workforce development, incident response planning, disinformation campaigns, and election resilience. John holds his master’s degree in public policy and bachelor’s in political science from the University of Michigan.
    • Latesha Love-Grayer (MPP '02), GAO
      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.

More #FutureFordies activities

Keep getting to know us at Spring Preview, ask us your final questions at a virtual Q&A, and join the audience for our Instagram Live tour of the Ford School. View all admitted student activities.