Your Alumni News for July 2017

Dear Alumni,

I hope this finds you well. In May, we celebrated and welcomed 372 new graduates to the alumni community at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Delivering the convocation address, Patrick Gaspard, Vice President of the Open Society Foundations and former US Ambassador to South Africa, sharedthat "service to others is the kind of leadership that has a legacy."

We look forward to seeing the impact the Class of 2017 will make on the world. Please join us for their first alumni happy hour on August 15.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly with thoughts, questions, or updates at any time. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Brian Stern


Brian Stern
Director, Alumni Relations


  • Martha Bowen (MPA 2008), Deputy Resident Country Director, Indonesia at Millennium Challenge Corporation, was quoted in Reuters for MCC’s efforts to reduce stunting and malnutrition in Indonesia.
  • Andrew Breck, PhD Candidate (MPA 2009) and PhD Candidate Davin Reed were recipients of the newest Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy Grant.
  • Louise Bruce (MUP 2012), Senior Program Manager, NYC Organics at the NYC Department of Sanitation, was quoted in WasteDIVE at the NYC Food Waste Fair.
  • Elvis Cordova (MPA 2003) was mentioned in the Mount Vernon Daily Voice for his work on development projects with the Mount Vernon Urban Renewal Agency.
  • Imani Henry (EMPA 2013) was quoted in Vice as one of the organizers of Trans Day of Action.
  • Alvin Irby (MPA 2015) was featured in Buzzfeed for his plans to expand Barbershop Books to his hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas.
  • Sarah M. Kaufman (MUP 2005) co-authored an examination of how the recent F Train Breakdown played out on social media.
  • Chris Levendos (MUP 1997), Executive Vice President of Field Operations for Frontier Communications, was highlighted as a key piece of his company’s turnaround plan.
  • James McKissac (MPA 2001), Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs of Chattanooga, washighlighted on for joining the Board of Directors of ArtsBuild. James was also featured in the Times Free Press for a genealogy project that was researched by NPR and The Washington Post in the run up to the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
  • Aaron Meyerson (MUP 2012), Director of Business Operations for WiredScore, was quoted in Next City regarding Boston’s efforts to improve broadband access and infrastructure resiliency.
  • Meredith Phillips Almeida (MUP 2004), Executive Director of the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, was quoted in The Brooklyn Reader for helping spearhead the "Hate Has No Business Here" campaign.
  • Susan Robinson (MPA 1996), CEO of Global Health AspirAction, delivered a powerful TED Talk, "How I fail at being disabled." 
  • Jorge Sahd (EMPA 2015) , Director of the Center for International Studies at the Catholic University of Chile, was quoted in El Mercurio regarding IMF projections of the US economy under the Trump Administration.
  • Sean Thomas-Breitfeld (MPA 2007), Co-Director of the Building Movement Project, discussedintersections between racism and anti-LGBTQ bias and a model for advancing social change and the overall nonprofit sector in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
  • Melissa Valentine (MPA 2008), Assistant Professor at Stanford University, was featured in The New York Times for her research into flash organizations.
  • Dr. Jonathan Weinstein (MPA 2002), Clinical Psychologist and Suicide Prevention Coordinator at VA Hudson Valley Health Care System, recently co-authored a book about empowering students.
  • Oliver Wise (MPA 2008), Director of New Orleans' Office of Performance and Accountability, was featured in The Wall Street Journal for his unit's efforts to leverage data to improve city government.
Alumni in the news


    • Alexander Bebeshko (MPA 2014), Erica Greenblatt (MPA 2015), Elizabeth Kostin (MPA 2010), Adina Poupko (MPA 2016), and Sarit Wishnevski (MPA 2012) were named to the 2017-2018 class of Fellows of the Ruskay Institute for Jewish Professionals Leadership.
    • Liz Carollo (MPA 2017) and Jenna Liut (MPA 2008) were named 40 Under 40: Rising Stars in New York City Food Policy.
    • Nupur Chaudhury (MUP 2009) was selected for the second class of the Forefront Fellowship, which promotes the next generation of urban leaders.
    • Robert Joseph (MUP 2017) received the 2017 Student Award for Urban Planning Excellence from the APA’s New York Metro chapter.
    • Christine La Porta (MPA 2009), Deputy Executive Director of Westchester Parks Foundation, was named among The Business Council of Westchester 2017 Class of Rising Stars.


    • Angela Cox (MPA 2007) joined the Rasmuson Foundation as External Affairs VP to promote a better life for Alaskans.
    • Jennifer Hawkins (MPA 2002) was appointed Executive Director of One Neighborhood Builders in Providence, Rhode Island.
    • Meredith Phillips Almeida (MUP 2004), Executive Director of the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, was recently elected co-chair of the NYC BID Association.
    • Chris Whong (MUP 2013) became the Director of NYC Planning Labs, a new tech services unit of the NYC Department of Planning.
    Alumni events


    NYU Wagner will welcome five new faculty members this Fall:

    • Thom Blaylock will be the Clinical Director of MSPP and teach courses in the new program.
    • Atul Pokharel will teach Statistical Methods and an environmental course in the spring. Atul studies the comparative political economy of infrastructure governance and the community maintenance of shared resources.
    • Martha Stark will teach MPSO, Financial Management, and Performance Measurement & Management.
    • Travis St. Clair will teach Financial Management. His research agenda focuses on the long-term threats to fiscal sustainability in governments, how budget rules and institutions affect fiscal outcomes, and evaluating research methods used in the field of public budgeting.
    • Mona Vakilifathi will teach Statistical Methods and Policy Formation. Her research interests include U.S. state politics, lawmaking, and charter schools.
    • Professor Thad Calabrese (PhD 2009) was quoted in Marketplace about the effect on towns when shopping malls run into trouble.
    • Professor Ingrid Gould Ellen spoke on the Us & Them podcast about gentrification and the evolution of a neighborhood.
    • Professor Julia Lane was interviewed in Significance on the challenges facing the social sciences in an era of big data.
    • Professor Jonathan Morduch wrote about the effects of financial instability on American families in the Boston Globe.
    • Professor Mitchell Moss was featured on CBS New York and wrote an Op-Ed in Crain’s encouraging all New Yorkers to contribute to fixing New York City’s transit system.
    • Professor Kathy O’Regan was quoted in WNYC News regarding the NYU Furman Center’s report on poverty in New York City and in the The Washington Post for her research into affordable housing and racial segregation.
    New faculty