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Class notes, fall 2023

December 12, 2023

Dr. Robert Goeckel (MPP ’74), distinguished SUNY professor of political science and international relations, retired in January 2023 after teaching for 40 years at SUNY Geneseo.

Emmie with Luke, Zahra
Future Fordies (L-R: Emmie with Luke, Zahra)

Judy Arnold (MPP ’83), Barb Birnbaum (MPP ’83), Winthrop Cashdollar (MPP ’83), Sue Poppink (MPP ’83), Dan Sichel (MPP ’83), and Dave Weiner (MPP ’83) traveled to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in September to mark their 40th graduation anniversary. Ned Gramlich’s cost-benefit analysis class came in handy when the six IPPSsters (and two spouses) convened in Sault Ste. Marie and deliberated on how to maximize utility on the tour. Pareto optimality was achieved over 1,206 miles, three hotels, five boat rides, seven pasties, and what could have turned out to be a catastrophic ending during a hike at a dark park.

Marieka Klawitter (MPP ’83) retired as professor from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.

Bill Tatter (MPP ’87) retired in 2022 after 35 years of government service. He moved to Puerto Cayo, Ecuador in March 2023.

McLaughlin and Nicholas in the Pacific Northwest

Susan McLaughlin (MPP/MBA ’93) retired in August after a 30 year career at the New York Fed. She caught up with classmate, Peter Nicolas (MPP ’92) in the Pacific Northwest during her first trip in retirement. Susan is currently an executive fellow at Yale School of Management and has joined the Council on Foreign Relations. She would love to hear from former classmates!

In June, Columbia University Press published Gladys Mitchell- Walthour’s (MPP ’02) book, The Politics of Survival: Black Women Social Welfare Beneficiaries in Brazil and the USA.

Jessica Wyse (MPP ’05, PhD ’11), research assistant professor at Oregon Health and Science University, and Shayna Hirshfield-Gold (MPP/MSW ’06), climate program manager for the city of Oakland, CA, combined forces in February when Shayna guest lectured for Jessica’s graduate Public Health and Social Policy class at Portland State University. They intend to rinse and repeat until the climate justice crisis is solved.

Curtis and Gopo
Curtis (left) and Gopo (right)

Patrice Gopo (MPP/MBA ’07) is excited to share that her second essay collection, Autumn Song: Essays on Absence (University of Nebraska Press | American Lives Series), was released in September 2023.

Zenia Rogatschnig (MPP ’09) started a new position as a private sector specialist with the investment climate unit of the World Bank’s finance, competitiveness, and innovation global practice based in Vienna.

Emad Ansari (BA ’10, MPP/JD ’15), Diana Won (MPP ’15), and their son, Kamal, welcomed baby Zahra Inhye Ansari into the world on July 25, 2023. Zahra is wide-eyed, observant, and remarkably patient with her older brother’s clumsy but mostly well intentioned attempts at affection.

Menna Demessie (PhD ’10) received the 2023 Social Impact Award from the Black Music Action Coalition with Emmy award winners Keke Palmer and Jesse Collins.

Elizabeth Gebarski (BA ’10) made partner at her law firm, Quarles & Brady LLP. She practices health law, focusing on government pay (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid).

Adam Stolz (MPA ’10) returned to his consulting practice, Stolz Management Advisors, where he works with leaders of mission-driven organizations. Previously he was part of the leadership team at Maimonides Health in Brooklyn, NY.

Headshots of Mitchell-Walthour and Auerbach
Mitchell-Walthour (left) and Auerbach (right)

Nicole Auerbach (BA ’11) started a new job as the lead national college football insider for NBC Sports this fall. That’s in addition to her work as a senior writer at The Athletic and as a studio analyst at the Big Ten Network. Nicole also hosts three radio shows a week for SiriusXM. She resides in Chicago.

Andrew Chinksy (BA ’11), his wife, Allie (U-M ’12), and daughter, Emmie (U-M ’41), welcomed baby Luke (U-M ’45) in June 2023! Andrew also started a new position as assistant general counsel at The Aaron’s Company, Inc. in Atlanta.

Sasha Killewald (PhD ’11) became the director of the Stone Center for Inequality Dynamics at the University of Michigan in July. She is a professor of sociology in LSA and the inaugural Robert F. Schoeni Professor at ISR.

Salvador Maturana (MPP ’12) assumed the role of public affairs manager at the Chilean-American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Chile) in September after nearly two years as the senior policy manager LATAM at DiDi Global.

Christopher Crachiola (BA ’12) recently joined the U.S. Foreign Service, serving as a diplomatic courier with the diplomatic security service at the U.S. Department of State.

Doerr wedding

Leili Doerr (BA ’12) married Paul Riegel on September 3, 2023. She lives with her now husband and dog, Roger, in Mount Pleasant, MD and began a new role on the new business ventures team at Nestle.

DJ McKerr (BA ’13) was recently elected principal at Kearney, a global management and consulting firm. DJ relocated with his family to Nashville, TN.

Berger wedding

Sydney Berger (BA ’14) married Elan Cooperman on June 18, 2023, in Brooklyn, New York. Sydney is a director of social media and communications at Thrive Global.

Kat (Curtis) Gardiner (MPA ’15) completed her third year working as a park ranger for Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. She is proud to work in a place where policy, history, and education intersect and grateful for the preparation she received at the Ford School. Reach out if you are in the South!

Nick Pfost (MPP ’15) started a new role leading communications for the Program on Intergroup Relations, Office of Multi- Ethnic Student Affairs, and Spectrum Center at the University of Michigan.

Farah Mandich (MPP ’17) joined the General Services Administration as the first Presidential Sustainability Executive. She will be supporting the achievement of the government’s carbon free electricity goals set forth in Executive Order 14057.

Headshots of You and Demessie
You (left) and Demessie (right)

Lee Taylor-Penn (MPA/MPH ’17) started her own health policy consulting firm, Taylor-Penn Strategies, where she is focusing on building collaborative strategies to improve public health and maternal and child health.

This fall, Jeongmin Oh (MPP ’18) began work as assistant professor of public administration at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

Carrie Welton (MPA ’18) recently started as the senior director of policy & advocacy: anti-poverty & basic needs at The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS).

Jongeun You (MPP ’18) was appointed assistant professor in the department of political science and public administration at Northern Michigan University. Previously, he was a postdoc in the hydrologic science and engineering program at the Colorado School of Mines.

Bright and Conchuratt
Bright and Conchuratt

Ammara Ansari (MPP ’19) started a new position as director of development and new initiatives at Detroit Action, where she oversees the fundraising strategy for their c3, c4, and Super PAC.

Tyler Coady (BA ’19) recently got engaged. While his fiancé, Meghan, is a Notre Dame alum, he’s very excited to get married to the love of his life! He continues to work at CBRE in Boston, representing prominent landlords and retail clients.

Marena Dieden (BA ’19) graduated in May from the UCLA School of Law, earning a JD with a specialization in public interest law and policy. After graduation, she planned to take the bar and work for the LA County Public Defender.

Sophie Bright (MPP ’20) and Sam Conchuratt (MPP ’21) got engaged while on vacation at the Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. They first met in Spring 2019 when Sam came to visit the Ford School as a prospective student, and Sophie was his tour guide. They now live in Washington, DC with their dog, Bennett.


Lucchesi wedding

Gina Lucchesi (MPP ’20) married Adam Watkins (BA ’14) on August 26, 2023. They began their marriage by celebrating their shared love of travel with an adventure in Greece, Croatia, and Slovenia. They live in Washington, DC.

Andrew Krantz (MPP ’21) married his longtime partner, Allyson Corts, in September 2023.

Tara Lanigan (MPA ’21) married David Sheinfeld (JD ’21) in New York’s Hudson Valley on May 13, 2023, surrounded by family and friends. On hand were fellow Fordies Meredith Joseph (BA ’17, JD ’21), who co-officiated their ceremony, and Laurel Ruza (BA ’15, JD ’21).

Jeff Pfeifer (MPA ’23) was recently promoted to the role of director of public affairs at Harbor Strategic Public Affairs. Pfeifer has been with Harbor Strategic since February 2021.

Boratha Tan (MPP ’23) started a new career as Midwest regulatory manager at Vote Solar, a nonprofit advocacy group fighting for affordable, clean, and renewable energy.

Uchimura wedding

Marissa Uchimura (MPP/MBA ’23) married Will Hanna (JD ’23) on August 12, 2023 after getting engaged in Ann Arbor at the height of the COVID pandemic. They celebrated with more than 20 of their Michigan classmates!

In memoriam

Craig Bomberger (MPP ’95), a beloved father and husband, died on October 8. Bomberger lived in the Washington DC area for nearly three decades and had spent the last 24 years with the Federal Communications Commission. Craig’s family requests that donations in his memory be made to the Maui Strong Fund or The Nature Conservancy.

Emerson Elliott (MPA ’57) passed away surrounded by his loving family on September 26 at age 89. Elliott was the former commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and served in the federal government for 38 years. He is remembered for his leadership and extensive contribution to education research.

More in State & Hill

Below, find the full, formatted fall 2023 edition of State & Hill. Click here to return to the fall 2023 S&H homepage.