Class Notes - Fall 2019 edition

November 19, 2019

Robert F. Goeckel (MPP ’74) is a professor of political science at SUNY Geneseo. He published Soviet Religious Policy in Estonia and Latvia: Playing Harmony in the Singing Revolution (Indiana University Press, 2018). The book is based on extensive research in Soviet-era archives.

David Sichel (MPP ’78) recently retired after a 30-year career at the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. He worked in establishing and operating risk-sharing pools for Vermont municipalities including health, property and liability, and workers compensation insurance.

Steven Moss (MPP ’85) is leading an effort to build affordable housing in Rwanda, with groundbreaking on an initial 40 units expected in September. What a long and winding road it’s been since graduate school, he writes, from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to founding an energy nonprofit, and now constructing homes. “Thank you, Ford professors!”

Angela Banks (MPP ’97, JD ’02) was recently appointed as a federal administrative law judge for the Social Security Administration. She had previously served as a senior attorney advisor with the Social Security Administration, having joined the agency after several years in private practice.

Richard (Beaman) McManus (MPP/MSW ’00) was recently promoted to managing consultant at the Lewin Group, a national health and human service consulting firm. He is in the program design and implementation capability group and advises federal and state governments on operations of health and human service programs.

In April, Jeff Kosseff (MPP ’01), an assistant professor of cybersecurity law at the United States Naval Academy, published The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet (Cornell University Press), a history of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. He developed an interest in the issue as a student in Virginia Rezmierski’s internet policy class in 2000.

Tarek Anandan (MPP ’03) will be celebrating the first birthday of his son, Casper H. Anandan, in September.

Brian Pappas (MPP ’03) took a new job as assistant vice president for academic affairs at Eastern Michigan University.

Sharon Dolente (MPP ’04) works as the voting rights strategist at the ACLU of Michigan. She wrote and led the successful effort in 2018 to pass a statewide ballot initiative expanding voting rights. In early 2019, she was appointed to Michigan’s first Election Modernization Advisory Committee convened by newly-elected Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

In 2018, Ina Ganguli (MPP ’04)received the Russian National Prize in Applied Economics, awarded biennially to recognize published research on the Russian economy. She was given the prize based on a series of three articles she published on Russian scientists after the end of the USSR. Ina is an associate professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Dara Alpert Lieberman (MPP ’07) was recently promoted to director of government relations at Trust for America’s Health. In her new role, she oversees the development and implementation of TFAH’s advocacy strategy with federal policymakers.

Ari Sznajder (MPP/MBA ’08) is the founder of Kapel Real Estate, a firm based in Lebanon, PA that invests for social impact. Sznajder was invited to serve on the economic revitalization committee for the city.

Jonathan Shepard (MPP ’09) serves as a senior business operations analyst with BigCommerce, a technology company in Austin, TX.

Menna Demessie (PhD ’10), serving her second term on the Ford School Alumni Board, was appointed by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia as the Secretary of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund Advisory Council. The effort aims to raise funds from the diaspora for socio-economic development in Ethiopia and has raised $4.4 million as of July 2019.

Melissa Forbes (PhD ’10) joined the federal senior executive service in June as FEMA’s deputy assistant administrator for recovery. In this role, she oversees programs that directly support survivors and communities as they recover and build resilience following major disasters.

Ian Wilhite (BA ’10) was named deputy national press secretary and director of African American messaging for the Beto for America campaign. Before that, Wilhite served as the press secretary and spokesperson for Lambda Legal. Wilhite began his career on the Hill as an aide to Congressman Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts and Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

Raeesa Khan (BA ’15) and Matthew Mejia (BA ’12) were married February 17, 2019 with close friends and family in Puerto Vallarta.

Salvador Maturana (MPP ’12) became a Mason Fellow at Harvard while pursuing a mid-career MPA at the Harvard Kennedy School in July 2019.

Kate Saetang (MPP ’12) is now the manager of public engagement at the Obama Foundation in Chicago. She is working to launch the Obama Presidential Center on the south side of Chicago.

Monica Cerrezuela (BA ’13) was promoted to chief of staff at the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) in July 2019.

Vanessa Kargenian (MPP ’13) was one of 30 women selected from 500+ applicants to form the inaugural Rise Up cohort at the Money 2020 conference; one of the youngest nominees, Vanessa was recognized for her fintech expertise. Vanessa covers cybersecurity/IT supervisory matters and emerging technology trends at the FRBNY.

Nathan Boll (STPP ’15, MS ’15) is the ASCEND program executive at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics where he is leading the development of a national space technology, commerce, and leadership initiative.

Molly E. Reynolds (PhD ’15), senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institute, received the Legislative Studies Emerging Scholar Award from the American Political Science Association. The award recognizes scholars who have informed the study of legislative politics through innovative and rigorous scholarship.

Nishant Malhotra (MPA ’17) started a new venture, called The Middle Road. The Middle Road alludes to a moderate road for an insightful and fulfilling life. The aim is to bring a fresh and out-of-the-box perspective on various facets of living with ingenuity.

Talha Aziz Mirza (BA ’18), completed his first year of law school at the University of California–Berkeley. He serves as the editor-in-chief of the Berkeley Journal of Middle East and Islamic Law and co-president of the Berkeley Law Muslim Students Association. He is currently working as an in-house legal counsel at LiveStyle, Inc. the world’s largest live EDM production company. Talha hopes to eventually become a human rights lawyer, but also plans to work privately in entertainment law.

Juan Jaimes (MPP ’18) published a journal article titled “DREAMers: Growing Up Undocumented in the United States of America” in the Handbook of Children and Prejudice—Integrating Research, Practice, and Policy. Juan and his co-author Jaime Chahin, a professor and dean at Texas State University, wrote the article pending a decision on the issues of immigration and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Anna Zinkel Walters (MPP ’19) was hired as a consultant at Guidehouse LLP. She works in the Detroit office on the state and local government team.

Below is a printed version of this edition of State & Hill, the magazine of the Ford School. View previous editions.