Hire An MPP, Uncategorized

Hire an MPP: Luke Allen

IMG_1264 - Luke Allen

  • Policy Interest(s): Rural Development / Healthcare
  • Sector Interest(s): No Preference with Significant Non-Profit Experience
  • Location Preference(s): Near Washtenaw County, MI / Northern Michigan
  • Ideal Role(s): Combination of Outreach, Organizing, and Policy Analysis

Luke Allen, a graduating Master of Public Policy, says that his “MPP experience has taught me a great deal about the importance of quality program and policy evaluation. I’ve also been lucky, through my fellowship, to work with a very wide array of stakeholders, from academics to practitioners to elected officials, which has taught me that there really is value in cross pollination and collaboration, and that we need more of it.” Crediting his elective courses on state and municipal government, Luke says that he’s “become more optimistic about the ability of states and municipalities to implement ambitious and creative policies to improve society”. His capstone, tentatively titled ‘Lost in the Woods: Addressing the Rural Health Crisis’, proposes a menu of policy solutions to fix rural health disparities.

Prior to coming to MSU, Luke spent five years working as a community organizer and another year directing an environmental advocacy non-profit. Reflecting his passion for this type of work, he says that he’s “seen the effect that can be had when ordinary people participate in democracy in a deep way, in addition to the power that policy experts and public officials have to make immediate, meaningful change”. Luke’s impetus for beginning his MPP was a continuation of his drive to challenge assumptions, including his own, saying that he sought to “learn to evaluate what is effective policy, not just based on my values, but from a practical perspective”.  Luke is a well-rounded, experienced, and most importantly, passionate teammate and leader and is looking to make a difference. Luke lives in Ypsilanti, with his wife Alex, a pastor serving a congregation in Ann Arbor, and their chocolate lab, Doxology

Luke can be reached via his LinkedIn.

Check out some of our other graduating Masters of Public Policy!

If you have any questions about our graduating class, please contact Program Director Dr. Josh Sapotichne via email.

MPP Speaker Series, Uncategorized

MPP Speaker Series: Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan

20171113_162553The 2017-18 MPP Speaker Series continued with a presentation from the president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan and MSU alumnus, Eric Lupher. Mr. Lupher began by describing the long history of the organization. Beginning as the Detroit Bureau of Government and Research, the CRC eventually evolved into one of Michigan’s foremost non-partisan and non-profit public policy research organizations, primarily focusing on issues facing Michigan local and state government. At its founding, the CRC represented some of the fundamental principles of the progressive era including the reliance on fact-based policy research and the professionalization of American civil service. The CRC was also instrumental in Michigan’s 1961 constitutional reforms as it produced a number of white papers advising the state government and Michiganders on the latest in policy research at the time.

Mr. Lupher then discussed some of the major policy projects that the CRC has studied or worked on in the last few years, including improvements to the Detroit Public Schools budget, tracking the teacher shortage that is developing in Michigan, state public health and Medicaid spending, property tax policy improvements, and a number of local governance issues. Of particular interest to students were improvements that could be made at the county-level, including consolidating administration of certain municipal services such as police and fire, while allowing for local units to maintain their identity, and improved coordination through broadband network penetration of all city services.

Finally, Mr. Lupher fielded a variety of questions, mostly related to health policy and ways to effectively disseminate the CRC’s findings in a cost-effective manner. More information on the Citizen’s Research Council and their white papers can be found at http://crcmich.org/.


MPP Speaker Series: C. S. Mott Foundation

mott 2Kicking off the 2017-18 MPP Speaker Series, MSU alumnus (MPA, 1997) Neal Hegarty came to discuss the role of foundations in the non-profit sector. Mr. Hegarty is the Vice President of Programs at the C. S. Mott Foundation, based in Flint, Michigan. He was also joined by Amy Hovey, the Special Projects Coordinator for the Flint Area at the Mott Foundation.

The Mott Foundation was established in 1926 with the goal of developing and caring for the welfare of Flint, Michigan. The founder, Charles Stewart Mott, believed in what was called “shoe leather philanthropy,” believing that the Foundation should listen to, learn from, and observe the people and programs it funds and impacts. Mr. Mott originally made his fortune working with the General Motors Corporation and decided to give back to his adopted community with an initial donation of $326,000. Today, the Mott Foundation’s endowment is roughly $2.7 billion. Over the past nine decades, it has donated $3 billion to organizations in 62 countries, with the most efforts focused in Michigan and the United States as a whole.

Mr. Hegarty and Ms. Hovey led a presentation on the basics of charitable foundations, the role that the rather unique American tax structure plays in charitable giving – including information on the topical Johnson Amendment, and the history and impact of the Mott Foundation. Beyond this, they shared their extensive experience in the non-profit and government sectors, including discussing effective public engagement and career advice to the students.

After the presentation, Mr. Hegarty and Ms. Hovey fielded a variety of questions from the students on a wide array of topics. Principally, the students were interested in the operations of the Mott Foundation, its coordination of relief efforts for the Flint Water Crisis, and the potential impact of legislative changes to the American tax structure being discussed in Congress.

More information on the Mott Foundation and its ongoing projects can be found on its website at https://www.mott.org/.


MPP in the Summer: Warren Rothe

Warren Rothe is entering his second year in Michigan State University’s Master of Public Policy program and will complete his degree in 2018. He completed his undergraduate degree in political science at Michigan State in 2017. This summer, Warren interned at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) in Washington, D.C. with the CBPP’s State Fiscal Project.

CBPP is a think tank that specializes in programs that reduce poverty at both the federal and state level. The State Fiscal Project specifically focuses on state policy issues, collaborating with a network of 42 state-level non-profits dedicated to informing and shaping policy developments Warrenprimarily through budget and tax policies.

During his internship, Warren worked on a variety of research activities, including planning and implementing a research study on the composition of state income taxes, tracking budget developments in every state, assisting the research staff with management of state legislative and financial data, and writing a report on fiscal policy decisions implemented by states during the 2017 legislative session.

This research has given Warren a broad and deep understanding of policy issues in state budgets and tax codes. Furthermore, working in the nation’s capital allowed Warren to attend workshops and meet experts in various policy fields from social insurance to economic and racial segregation. He looks forward to applying this experience to his upcoming coursework, especially his quantitative-heavy research courses.

Working in state policy, albeit from a distance, solidified Warren’s desire to bring his policy knowledge and analytical skills back to his home state of Michigan, where he hopes to take his talents to the local government level. Upon graduation, Warren will continue to pursue a career in local government with the ultimate goal of becoming a city manager.


MPP in the Summer: Alec D’Annunzio

Alec D’Annunzio, a native of Troy, Michigan, entered the MPP program as a linked-student. In May 2017, Alec graduated from MSU with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and another in PoliticIMG_5020al Science Pre-Law. In his first year of the linked program, Alec completed his MPP internship experience as a legislative fellowship position within the Republican Policy Office of the Michigan House, which analyzes and develops policy in accordance with state representatives within the Republican Caucus. The primary role of the Policy Office is to provide Representatives with information regarding the need for a potential policy as well as to examine its proposed efficacy, keeping in mind past attempts at similar policies or other states’ versions of such legislation. Combining all of this information, the policy analysts meet with Representatives and revise legislation accordingly, all in an effort to make it more practically and politically feasible.

Drawing on his interest in criminal justice policy issues and his varied experience at various levels of government, Alec worked alongside the policy analysts in reviewing and revising proposed legislation. One of Alec’s major duties at the Policy Office was to craft policy memos that provided representatives with a brief overview of a proposed bill, including its origins, proposed effects, and potential consequences. Additionally, Alec spent time researching state laws across varied policy areas to lay the groundwork for representatives to craft and introduce legislation. Alec especially enjoying determining which states enacted certain policies and how these policies have fared in practice as well as developing potential language to be used in Michigan legislation.

Most exciting to Alec was his opportunity to independently research, craft, and propose a policy of his own choosing. Recognizing that as of spring 2017 Michigan had no laws in relation to the burgeoning body-worn camera (BWC) technology utilized by law enforcement officers, Alec set out to draft a comprehensive policy to fill this controversial and complicated legal void. Of primary interest to Alec was ensuring the proper application of this technology by law enforcement officers and safeguarding citizens’ privacy rights when filmed. After meeting with stakeholders such as the ACLU and the Michigan State Police to assess the current climate surrounding BWCs, Alec compiled information on the status of BWC laws across the nation. From there, he drafted a policy that aimed to resolve all apparent conflicts and provide more certainty in the application of this technology. Alec drew on the skills he has learned in MPP program when crafting the succinct policy memos and maneuvering the political rhetoric when speaking about this issue area. During Alec’s research, State Representative Jim Runestad introduced legislation regarding release of footage from BWCs – and, naturally, Alec began working on the analysis of Rep Runestad’s bill. While Alec’s comprehensive policy is still a work in progress, Rep Runestad’s bill has been signed into law and will go into effect in 2018.

Perhaps the thing that is most clear to Alec after his time in the policy office is that he wants to be on the ground level of policy creation, affecting it before it becomes enacted. Alec is interested in working as a policy analyst in the future, as he appreciates that the job requires great versatility and the ability to research potential policies, draft bill language, analyze the effects of legislation, and provide political support to enact laws. Upon graduation from the MPP program, Alec plans to attend law school in order to further bolster his understanding of the legal process at all levels.


Hire an MPP: Elizabeth Raczkowski

Many of Michigan State University’s second-year Master of Public Policy students graduated this May. They have a wealth raczkowskiE15of experience, knowledge, and passion that will allow them to put the skills they’ve acquired to good use. We’re posting profiles of all our graduates so you can get to know them—and maybe find the next addition to your firm or organization!

Name: Elizabeth Raczkowski

Ideal Job Location: Southeast or Lansing, Michigan

Ideal Job: “By combining policy research with organizational or communication activities, I would like to enter into the government or nonprofit sector, ideally working on local-level policies.”

Elizabeth is especially eager to work in collaborative environments that seek to improve the public welfare. Furthermore, she hopes to compound on her experience as a graduate assistant for the public policy program by developing a sense of community in her new environment. She would also be interested in exploring the field of government relations.

Work Experience: Elizabeth is a triple-threat of work experience, having completed three internships during her time in the program. As a research associate, she learned valuable research, project management and communication skills, as evidenced by her exemplary administration of this very blog. While interning for the City of East Lansing, she gained valuable insight into the inner-workings of a local government. Finally, working with the Wayne County Treasurer through the InnovateGov internship program, “was helpful for learning how to collaborate with different stakeholders, resolve conflicts, and analyze a difficult policy problem”. Extrapolating on this experience, she completed her capstone project on tax foreclosure law and practices in the Detroit area and even proposed effective changes based on academic literature and best practices employed by other governments.

Academic Training: Having completed all available quantitative methods courses offered to MPP students, Elizabeth is veritable expert in the methodology required of accurate and unbiased data gathering and analysis. She notes that it was important for her to understand what goes into a balanced and complete policy review process and, unsurprising given her communication skills, is keenly aware of how best to convey her findings. Finally, she points out that “one of the most important skills I’ve learned are synthesizing information from a lot of different sources and balancing different viewpoints and needs with objective information”.

Elizabeth would be a strong asset to any organization in both policy and government spheres. Please reach out to us for further information on her or any of our fantastic graduating candidates!


Survey Results Part 2

As we continue to analyze our Alumni Feedback Survey we would like to share more of our findings. This time we would like to focus on the open-ended responses in which respondents told us the highlights of their experience with the program as well as where they felt the program could improve. We  share now some common themes we’ve found as well as how the program has started to respond to your feedback!

We generated a word cloud for the 50 most common words used in response to the question: “If you were to highlight one of the best things in the MPP/MPA program at MSU, what would it be?”

Good Program WC

We also identified three themes among the nearly 75 responses to this question. One of the most often mentioned topics for alumni was the capstone project completed in the last semester of the program.Many alumni found the capstone to be one best experiences they had in the program. The capstone project allowed many to pursue an area of research they found personally important and while the capstone is an individual project, the opportunities for collaborating with local practitioners and faculty were often highlighted. Secondly the training in quantitative methods was mentioned as being very important for their careers. While some alumni continued to use their training in their analysis work, others found the basics of statistical analysis and their statistical literacy to be useful in wide-ranging settings. Lastly several alumni responded that the practical skills they gained through coursework or real-world experience from their internships to be the single most important aspect of the program. Interestingly this was also an area that was mentioned as needing improvement by many alumni.

Here is the word cloud we generated from the responses to the question “If you were to suggest one thing to improve in the MPP/MPA program at MSU, what would it be?”

Program improve WC

Again, we found a few common themes among the responses. The most common response from our alumni was to improve the career services offered by the program. Respondents wanted more guidance from beginning to the end of the program as well as more effort at maintaining contact with recent graduates. Another closely related theme was to make use of MSU’s location and have much better connections with state and local governments for internships, networking, and potential mentors for student projects. Many respondents indicated that their internships were the most useful part of their experience with the program and suggested a stronger focus on this. Lastly alumni advised a more practical curriculum over a theoretical emphasis as many became practitioners where the theoretical knowledge was less applicable than the practical skills they received from the program.

We are listening. The MPP Program has taken several steps to address these areas with a new emphasis on career services and internships. There has also been a concerted effort to build a closer relationship between the program and local practitioners in state and local governments, many of which are alumni themselves. You can keep track of our progress through our social media outlets, check out our posts on the distinguished speaker series as well as our alumni, faculty, and current student profiles!

mpp collage