Class notes, spring 2024

April 24, 2024

Michael Weinberger (MPA ’66) and his wife of almost 40 years, Karen Weinberger, are moving to Pasadena, CA, after almost 60 years in the Washington, DC area, to be closer to their granddaughter, Luca.

Mike McGee (MPP ’83) was named the 2023 Lawyer of the Year by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. McGee served as Miller Canfield’s CEO from 2013 to 2021.

Jennifer Heitman Gurney (MPP ’87) is now an internationally published poet. Jennifer has spent a career in public policy, advocacy, and education. Fourteen months ago, she embarked on a journey to become a published poet for the first time, at the age of 59. Since November 2023, she has had nearly 700 poems accepted for publication in over 50 online and print journals around the world.

Bill Tatter (MPP ’87) retired in September 2022 from federal service after more than 35 years, mostly at Commerce. Last year he moved with his wife, Jill, and their cat and dog to Puerto Cayo, Ecuador, where they live in a home with a view of the Pacific Ocean.

Headshot of Laura Murvartian

Laura Murvartian (MPP ’93) launched her campaign for Georgia state representative for House District 48 in early February. This is the natural next step after decades of serving her community in Georgia and her lifelong interest in public policy.

Shaun Manchand (MPP ’94) joined Canopy One Solutions, a minority owned SBA 8(a) certified provider of technology solutions, as their vice president of business development. The company is based in Chantilly, VA, and Shaun would love to connect with other Fordies in the area!

Scott Morris (MPP ’94) is pleased to report that he has been appointed vice president for East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific at the Asian Development Bank for a three-year term. It is an exciting time to be working with governments in the region to implement their development and climate programs.

In June of 2023, Alfonso Salazar (MPP ’95) started a two-year term serving as a regent for the University of California. The board is the governing body for the University of California. As an officer of the UC Alumni Association, he will serve as an alumni regent for two years. Go Blue!

Headshots of Shawna Lee and Lara Liss
(Left to right) Lee and Liss

Shawna Lee (MPP ’02) was appointed associate dean for faculty affairs at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, effective January 1, 2024. She was also appointed as co-editor-in-chief of the academic journal Children and Youth Services Review.

Amber Arellano (MPP ’03) co-leads the statewide Michigan Partnership for Equity and Opportunity, which successfully advocated for changes that made Michigan among the first ten states to consider concentration of poverty in its allocation of funding.

Lara Liss (MPP ’04) recently started a new role as chief privacy and data trust officer for GE HealthCare in Chicago, Illinois. She has responsibility for the global privacy program in more than 160 countries and uses her public policy skill set from the Ford School on a regular basis.

In July, Caroline Sallee (MPP ’05) was promoted to managing director in Ernst & Young’s quantitative economics and statistics practice. She manages projects related to economic and social impact and state and local tax policy.

Naomi Goldberg (MPP ’08) became the executive director of the Movement Advancement Project in March 2024. She is thankful for nonprofit management classes at the Ford School and to Ford School Committee member Michael Fleming for helping prepare her for this new role.

Photos of Henry, and Mira
Future Fordies (Left to right: Henry and Mira)

Neil Sardana (MPP/MPH ’09) and his wife, Sarah, were excited to welcome to the world their amazing baby girl, Mira Bella Sardana. She was born on August 15, 2023.

Jonathan Shepard (MPP ’09) was promoted to manager, data analytics at HighLevel in Austin, Texas.

Matthew Filter (MPP ’13) and Catherine Clement welcomed their second son into the world, Henry Michael, on August 28, 2023. He is named for his paternal grandfather, a life-long Michigan fan.

Wedding photo of Brian Garcia and Charlotte Buckley

Brian Garcia (MPP/MBA ’16) married his longtime partner and fellow Wolverine, Charlotte Buckley (PharmD ’17) at a beachside wedding in Naples, Florida.

Dan Rebhan (BA ’17), after five years at Meta, recently started a new role on the policy governance team at Cash App. If you’re in NYC or in the fintech space, Dan would love to connect!

Class notes photo of a wedding reception submitted by Iovan

Carson Smith (BA ’17) graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in May. After the bar, he will clerk in the Eastern District of Texas.

Giorgi Tsimintia (MPP ’17) started a new job as a project manager of a multi-million dollar project: Inclusive Access to Markets (IA2M) at the United Nations Development Programme.

Photo of Natsuki
Future Fordie: Natsuki

Emily Fletcher (MPP/MBA ’20) recently started a new role as associate vice president at Challenge Seattle, a coalition of business leaders working to tackle some of the Pacific Northwest’s most pressing civic challenges.

Rachelle Mehdi (MPP ’20) was selected for the UN Junior Professional Officer (JPO) program following a rigorous application process and less than 1% acceptance rate. She works in the strategic planning and monitoring unit within the executive office of the Secretary General at UN headquarters in New York.

Photo of Alejandra Fuentes presenting in front of class

Stephanie Iovan (MPA ’21) (now Weiss) married David Weiss in Corktown, Detroit in September, 2023.

Christen Richardson (MPP ’21) will receive her JD from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in May 2024.

Headshot of Aissa Laouan Wandarama

Yuki Ura (MPA ’22), after a year at the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development headquarters in Rome, has transitioned to a new position as a programme analyst in the East and Southern Africa division, based in Nairobi. Yuki also finds joy in parenting his two-year-old daughter, whose constant companion is a cherished Michigan teddy bear. Karibu sana!

Alejandra Fuentes (MPP ’23) started working last year at World Vision International as an advocacy specialist. 

Lily Israel (BA ’23) started a new job in July 2023 as a legislative analyst at GrayRobinson in Washington, DC.

In August, Aissa Laouan Wandarama (MPP ’23), the elected graduate students’ speaker of the class of 2023, was appointed by the government of Niger as Minister of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management.


In Memoriam 

Alice Boelter (MPP ’71) died on December 19, 2023 in Boston, MA. She was among the first class of MPP graduates in 1971 and forged a career and life of tremendous positive impact on those around her. Her classmate, Mike Winn (MPP ’71) shared that Alice introduced him to his wife during the second semester of their second year and that she was known as “Aunt Alice” to his children for almost 50 years. Read more about Alice's life. 

More in State & Hill

Below, find the full, formatted spring 2024 edition of State & Hill. Click here to return to the spring 2024 S&H homepage.