Spring 2021 Class Notes

June 10, 2021

Alan Miller (MPP/JD ‘74) coauthored a new book, Cut Super Climate Pollutants Now!, with Durwood Zaelke and Stephen O. Andersen (April 2021, Changemakers Books).

Maureen Donohue Krauss (MPP ’85) was recently named president/CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership, an economic development organization covering the city of Detroit and the surrounding 11-county region.

Bart Édes (MPP ‘87) authored Learning from Tomorrow: Using Strategic Foresight to Prepare for the Next Big Disruption (April 2021, Changemakers Books).

Matthew Naud (MPP ‘90) retired early from the City of Ann Arbor after 17 years leading sustainability work. He created adapt.city and is currently consulting on a variety of projects. Matthew is married to Mary Harrington (MPP ‘89). Their oldest child graduated this spring from the Ford School while their youngest will finish a musical theater program at the University of Illinois in 2022.

Stacy Dean (MPP ‘92) left her position at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and was appointed deputy under secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services by the Biden Administration. 

Laura Perna (MPP ‘92) is the Graduate School of Education Centennial Presidential Professor of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and was appointed vice provost for faculty, effective July 2020.

Susan McLaughlin (MPP/MBA ‘93) expanded her portfolio at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York during COVID-19 and is now responsible for four new emergency lending facilities. These facilities, established with equity capital from the Treasury, were implemented to support the provision of credit and liquidity to households and businesses during the pandemic.

Jim Townsend (MPP/MBA ‘97), director of the Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School, published an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press about how lawmakers shape the public square and the need for all of us to demand that legislators live up to that responsibility. 

Osei and Ossoff
Osei and Ossoff

Aidoo Osei (MPP ‘97) serves on the board of a wonderful nonprofit organization on the southeast side of Atlanta called Caring for Others, Inc. (CFO). Before the historic Georgia Senate run-off races in January, Aidoo’s youngest son had an opportunity to meet Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA.) at a CFO charitable distribution. His son could care less about the fanfare: all he wanted to know was who was flying the drone!

Olga Stella (MPP ‘99) was appointed the inaugural vice president for strategy and communications at the College for Creative Studies, a private art and design school in Detroit. She continues in her role as executive director of Design Core Detroit, a part of the college that works to position Detroit as a global source of creative talent.

Lisa Nuszkowski (MPP ‘03) recently started a new job as president of M-1 RAIL, the nonprofit entity that operates the QLINE, Detroit’s streetcar.

Sharon Dolente and Lara Liss
Dolente and Liss

Sharon Dolente (MPP/JD ‘04) was recognized with a 2021 Community Heroes Award for her work to revolutionize Michigan’s voting laws and make it easier to vote. 

Lara Liss (MPP/JD ‘04) is serving as global chief privacy officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance, a Fortune 20 company and a global pharmacy-led healthcare organization on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Kay (Milewski) Kelly (MPP ‘05) is the director of the Office of Innovative Mobility at the Colorado Department of Transportation. She oversees the division of transit and rail and other functions that work to lessen transportation's impact on the environment.

Vivian Byrd (MPP ‘06) and Bobby Byrd (MPP ‘05) celebrated their 15th anniversary in September. Bobby is a vice president at Fairstead Affordable and Vivian is senior researcher at Mathematica. They live in the DC area with their two boys.

Farouk Ophaso (MPP ‘06) was appointed chief of staff of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) at the U.S. Department of Defense. 

David Rogers (MPP ‘07) was assigned as the deputy director of the Office of Economic Growth and Integration at USAID/Kenya and East Africa and will start in the role in August 2021. 

Naomi Goldberg (MPP ‘08) was promoted to deputy director of the Movement Advancement Project and director of its LGBTQ program.

Richard Nguyen (MPP ‘08) was selected as board president of the Campbell Union School District, which serves 12 elementary and middle schools in Silicon Valley. He has been on the school board since 2015.

Demessie and Fritz
Demessie and Fritz

Menna Demessie (PhD ‘10) started a new position as senior vice president and executive director of the Taskforce for Meaningful Change at Universal Music Group.

On January 9, 2021, Peter Fritz (MPP/MBA ‘10), his wife Jane, and sons Henry and Stanley welcomed baby George Arthur Fritz to the world. The combination of family leave, working from home, and virtual school are giving the Fritzes plenty of time with the little guy, whose favorite lullaby so far is The Victors

In October 2020, Chantal Cotton Gaines (MPP/MUP ‘10) was promoted to deputy city manager for the City of Palo Alto, CA. The Flint, MI, native has worked in local government for over 12 years, including leadership roles with the city of Oakland, CA, and the City of College Park, MD. She is excited to continue her work at the level of government closest to the people.

Nathan Rix (MPP ‘12) recently achieved a childhood dream by earning a private pilot's license. He also founded the Aviation Youth Empowerment Foundation, which empowers youth from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds to achieve STEM college degrees.

Matt Schaar (MPP/MBA ‘10) was promoted to senior director at Accion Venture Lab, a seed-stage venture capital fund investing in fintech startups aiming to solve financial inclusion. He and his wife, Stephanie, recently celebrated their second year living in Washington, DC, with their cat Dakota and dog Bean. They look forward to many reunions with fellow Fordies in the DC-area once the pandemic subsides!

Joseph W. Person (MPP ‘11) joined the board of the Seattle-based social enterprise Samaritan. Founded by a U-M alum, it seeks to mitigate homelessness by providing psycho-social and financial support to at-risk populations.

Tam and Üsküp Morgan
Tam and Üsküp Morgan

On August 26, 2020, Simon Tam (MPP ‘11) and his wife, Kaira, welcomed the addition of Kiana Tam. Kiana, who has loved all the constant snuggles that come with her parents working from home, stayed up past her bedtime to cheer on the Wolverines during March Madness. Because, forever Go Blue!

Dr. Dilara Üsküp (BA ‘11) and Walter E. Morgan Jr., welcomed their son Pharaoh Sedrik Üsküp Morgan into the world on November 2, 2020. Pharaoh was put to work in utero helping his mother apply for and successfully win several large public health grants for her work at UCLA. 

Ryan Pretzer (MPP ‘12) married Amanda Patino at Great Falls National Park in Virginia in November 2020. To conduct a COVID-19 safe event, the couple invited only a small group of local friends, including Collin Gerst (MPP ’12). Ryan and Amanda live in Arlington, VA, and work for government consulting firms.

Haven Allen (MPP/STPP ‘13) was selected for the Neubauer Civic Scholar fellowship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He will begin a part-time MBA program in the fall with a full-tuition scholarship.

In December 2020, Caroline Andridge (BA ‘14) joined Results for Development as a program officer for nutrition. She supports resource tracking and global financing efforts to address malnutrition and food insecurity across the globe.


Michele Majors (MPP ‘15) and her husband Rob, welcomed their third son, Oliver, on Thanksgiving 2020. He joined Brennan (5) and Ellis (3). Rob and Michele are adjusting to being outnumbered by all their ruckus-raising boys, and have great hopes that the latest model will turn into a quiet, easy-going, introverted kiddo who sleeps.

Jessica Eller (BA ‘16) graduated with a master's in global policy studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in May. She specialized in human rights policy and co-authored a policy research report on a harmful Trump immigration policy.

Mitch Herz (MPP/MUP ‘16) accepted a position as the director of research, evaluation, and accountability with the New Mexico Public Education Department.

In February 2021, Meredith Reid (MPP ‘16) accepted a position as associate director at Save the Children U.S. After two and a half years as a program director, Meredith joined the Strategic Foundation Partnership as a fundraiser.


Sandy Mervak (MPP/MBA ‘17) and his wife, Eliza Singer (MS '17) welcomed baby James Reid Mervak on December 30, 2020.

On August 15, 2020, Lee Taylor-Penn (MPP/MPH ‘17) and her spouse, Josh Penn, welcomed the birth of their daughter, Caroline Taylor-Penn. Lee is a senior policy analyst at Families USA, where she works on health equity and maternal child health policy.

Yahya Bajway (MPP ‘18) and his wife, Minahil Raza (MPP ‘18), joined the Ford School as two and left as three after their daughter was born in April 2018 at U-M Hospital. She started school in March 2021, and Yahya and Mianhil hope she attends the University of Michigan. 

Jerry Nelson (MPA ‘20) became the treasurer/finance director for the City of Frankenmuth, MI, in October 2020.



PPIA fellows on the U-M Diag

PPIA milestone

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Public Policy & International Affairs (PPIA) program, which was designed to build diversity in public service. The Ford School has proudly supported PPIA since its inception in 1981. We’ve been one of just a handful of policy schools to host the educational initiative every summer, and have grown our enrollment in recent years.

Did you attend a PPIA Junior Summer Institute in Ann Arbor or elsewhere? We’d love to hear from you. Please click here to tell us what you’ve been up to. We’ll send a commemorative gift!

We welcome gifts to support the PPIA program in its 40th year.

Below, find the full, formatted Spring 2021 edition of State & Hill.

Click here to return to the Spring 2021 S&H homepage.