University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

CLOSUP in the Classroom - Prior Policy Analysts

CLOSUP Policy Analysts are University of Michigan students affilliated with the Center to help carry out research and analysis on a variety of state and local policy issues. These students may be employed by the Center or participate in an independent study for course credit. The Policy Analysts listed below have completed their appointments with CLOSUP. See current Policy Analysts here.

Valerie Benka

Valerie is working with CLOSUP on public opinion research focused on Great Lakes environmental issues. She is pursuing a joint masters degree between the Ford School and the School of Natural Resources and Environment (Class of 2013). Valerie is interested in the emerging field of conservation medicine, or 'one medicine,' which looks at the health of animals, humans, and the environment as being inextricably linked.



Erin Bozek-Jarvis

Erin is serving as a CLOSUP research assistant working with the Michigan Public Policy Survey. She is a junior in the Ford School of Public Policy where her studies focus on environmental policy. Erin is also pursing a minor in American Culture through LSA. She is especially interested in the ways in which grassroots organizing can impact environmental policy formulation and implementation.



Megan Bowers

Megan is a Policy Analyst studying patterns of accuracy and knowledgeability by government officials concerning Other Post-employment Benefit (OPEB) contributions. She is an class of 2018 undergraduate student in the Residential College. She is interested in government ethics and sustainability policy.



Andrew Bracken

Andrew is working with CLOSUP on background research for the Michigan Public Policy Survey. He is a masters student at the Ford School (Class of 2013), and a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Business. From 2008 to 2011 he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde and Mozambique where he worked in water and sanitation and food security with Luxembourg Development and USAID. His research interests include African affairs, environmental issues, and food security.



Cassarah Brown

Cassie is a Policy Analyst studying Ohio’s hydraulic fracturing policies for CLOSUP’s Energy and Environmental Policy Initiative.  She is a masters student at the Ford School (Class of 2014), and has a Master of Engineering degree in nuclear engineering from UM in 2012 and a B.A. in physics and political science from SUNY Geneseo.  Cassie is interested in nuclear nonproliferation and energy policy.

Cassie completed a CLOSUP-sponsored internship with the National Conference of State Legislature's Energy Program in the summer of 2013.



Erica Brown

Erica provides research for CLOSUP's National Surveys on Energy and the Environment (NSEE) Initiative. She is a masters student at the Ford School (Class of 2013). Prior to attending the Ford School, she worked as an environmental planner, granting permits for utility-scale energy projects in California. Her research focuses on the public opinion on hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania and how experience and partisanship influence public perception of risks and benefits.



Alison Carey

Alison is conducting a comparison of frack sand mining activity and related policies in Minnesota and Wisconsin for CLOSUP’s Energy and Environmental Policy Initiative. Alison is a Master student in public policy and urban planning (Class of 2016). Prior to coming to University of Michigan, Alison worked for a DC-based government consulting firm, where she performed cost-benefit analysis for federal environment and energy regulations.



Jessica D’Itri

Jessica is assisting with event coordination for CLOSUP. She is a masters student at the Ford School (Class of 2015). Prior to attending the Ford School, Jessica completed her Peace Corps service as an environmental educator in Nicaragua, in addition to having worked in the non-profit sector and as an advocate for improved cookstove technology in Uganda. She is most interested in international development and environmental advocacy.



Austin Fisher

Austin works at CLOSUP as an undergraduate research assistant on the Michigan Public Policy Survey. He is a freshman at the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts with plans to study Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School. Austin takes great interest in the effect of modern communications on public opinion as well as electoral reform, education policy, and urban planning.



Alexandra 'Sasha' Greer

Sasha is a Policy Analyst for CLOSUP studying the differences in county-specific opinion among local government leaders in comparison to state average opinion concerning fiscal health and community well-being. Sasha is an 2019 undergraduate in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. She is specifically interested in political advocacy and human rights.



Augusta Gudeman

Augusta assists with event coordination for CLOSUP. She is earning her MPP at the Ford School and her M.U.P. with the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She earned her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and most recently worked as a consultant with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Augusta is interested in studying state and local urban policy.



Christina Hajj

Christina works on various research projects, and assists with CLOSUP's lecture series and events. She is a masters student at the Ford School (Class of 2013), and a graduate from the University of Miami. Prior to attending the Ford School, Christina worked for the State of Florida House of Representatives as a District Aide, and, in 2009, I joined the Peace Corps as a TEFL Education Volunteer in Southwestern China.



Hillary Hampton

Hillary provides research focusing on public opinion about climate change for CLOSUP's National Surveys on Energy and Environment (NSEE) Initiative. She is a masters student at the Ford School (Class of 2013). Before graduate school, Hillary worked as an economic policy analyst at a Washington, D.C. think tank and as an AmeriCorps court advocate at a crisis center for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

 



Rachel Hampton

Rachel provides research on state oil and gas severance taxes as well as state trust funds tied to energy taxes for CLOSUP's Energy and Environmental Policy Initiative. She has co-authored several publications with Barry Rabe on the political economy of energy severance taxes and revenue use, including Taxing Fracking: The Politics of State Severance Taxes in the Shale Era, Trusting in the Future: The Re-emergence of State Trust Funds in the Shale Era, and Leaving Money on the Table: Pennsylvania Exceptionalism in Resisting Energy Severance Taxes (forthcoming). Rachel is currently a third year law student at the University of Michigan Law School. She attended the University of Michigan as undergraduate (Class of 2014), where she studied Political Science, German, and minored in Sustainability.

 



Kristine Hartman

Kristy's research examines public opinion of hydraulic fracturing in Michigan and Pennsylvania, as well as the role of state and local governments in taxing and regulating the industry. She is a masters student at the Ford School (Class of 2013). Kristy's previous experience includes serving as a congressional affairs liaison for the National Nuclear Security Administration and as a program analyst for the U.S. Department of Energy. Kristy is interested in how energy development and sustainability relate to national security issues.

Update: after graduating from the Ford School, Kristy joined the National Conference of State Legislatures as a senior policy analyst focused on energy policy. Kristy has been quoted in national media, such as this Bloomberg article.



Jacob Ignatoski

Jacob works with CLOSUP as an assistant with the Michigan Public Policy Survey. He is a masters student at the Ford School (Class of 2014). Before coming to the Ford School, Jacob worked at Habitat for Humanity of Kent County in Grand Rapids, MI as a grant and financial analyst. He has also completed a year of service in the AmeriCorps program. In his studies, he focuses on state and local policy issues, including community development and public budgeting.



Prabhdeep S. Kehal

Prabhdeep is working at CLOSUP on the Michigan Public Policy Survey with data entry and coding. He is a MPP and MA Higher Education candidate (Class of 2015) at the Ford School and the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education, focusing on organizational theory and management in his studies.

 



Heather Kirkpatrick

Heather is studying environmental and energy policy for CLOSUP. She is an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan studying Program in the Environment (PitE), Earth and Environmental Sciences, and minoring in history. She is interested in both the science and the politics behind the formation of environmental and energy policies as well as the role that states play in this growing issue.

 



Michael Lerner

Michael is studying policy and public perception related to hydraulic fracturing in Quebec, Canada for CLOSUP's Energy and Environmental Policy Initiative. He is an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan studying Political Science, French and minoring in Earth and Environmental Sciences. Before joining CLOSUP, Michael interned with the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights, and Law Program in Washington, DC.

 



Emma Maack

Emma is working on CLOSUP's joint American –Canadian public opinion survey on Great Lakes issues. She is a dual-degree masters student at the Ford School and the School of Natural Resources and Environment (Class of 2014). Her policy interests include land and water conservation at the local-to-regional scale and poverty and social justice issues.

 



Kerri Metz

Kerri provides research on the current state of cap-and-trade and carbon taxes in New Zealand for CLOSUP. She is studying environmental policy, planning and sustainability as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan’s School of Literature, Science, and the Arts (Class of 2015). She will be graduating with Honors in the Program in the Environment, and a Minor in Political Science, and will then progress on to a Masters degree. Her interests include the interconnectedness of policy, climate change, and renewable energy sources.

 



Sarah Mills

Sarah is conducting data analysis and research for CLOSUP's Energy and Environmental Policy Initiative (EEPI). She is a doctoral candidate in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Michigan where her research focuses on the impact that wind energy projects have on farming communities. Prior to returning to graduate school, she was a program associate at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Center for Science, Technology, and Sustainability; served as a consultant to the EPA's Energy Star Program; and lived and worked for two years in South Sudan.

 



Kyle O'Meara

Kyle is a Policy Analyst researching global emissions trading systems and EPA's Clean Power Plan for CLOSUP. Kyle graduated the Ford School in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in public policy and a minor in economics. He is most interested in environmental policy and state politics. CLOSUP congratulates Kyle as the recipient of the 2015 Daniel Rosenthal Legislative Intern Award for his outstanding work interning for Michigan State Representative, Al Pscholka. The award selection is made each year by representatives from the Michigan House, Senate, and Michigan State University’s Legislative Student Intern Program.

 



Lyndsay Pals

Lindsay is a Policy Analyst assisting with event coordination for CLOSUP. She is a masters student at the School of Social Work (Class of 2016). Prior to attending the School of Social Work, Lindsay worked in community development interacting with mental health policy and housing policy, while exploring the power of improvisational comedy in therapy and advocacy work. She is most interested in policy research concerning socio-economic inequality, gender, and mental health.

 



Noelle Polaski

Noelle analyzes data and conducts research related to the Michigan Public Policy Survey. She is a ‘15 Master’s of Public Policy student and is interning at the Executive Office of Governor Snyder. Prior to attending the Ford School, Noelle was a 2011 Teach for America Corps Member in Detroit Public Schools. Noelle is interested in state and local policy, Michigan politics, education policy, and the revitalization of Detroit.

 



Carolyn Rice

Carolyn researches the question of local versus state authority regarding hydraulic fracturing policy across states for CLOSUP's Energy and Environmental Policy Initiative. She recently graduated from the University of Michigan (2015), where she majored in Political Science and Spanish. She is particularly interested in policy research concerning gender and race inequality, as well as environmental advocacy.

 



Patrick Sier

Patrick is working at CLOSUP on the Michigan Public Policy Survey preparing data sets for public use. He is a senior in the undergraduate program at the Ford School, focusing on public-private partnerships. He is interested in working in local government and technology policy.

 



Ruth Tabak

Ruth provides research for CLOSUP's Energy and Environmental Policy (EEPI) Initiative. She is a masters student at the Ford School (Class of 2013). Prior to attending the Ford School, she worked on Capitol Hill for the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ways & Means. She also worked for a health care consulting company, primarily assisting clients with Medicare policy. She graduated with an A.B. in Public Policy and American Institutions from Brown University in 2006.



Nina Tannenbaum

Nina provides CLOSUP with research on the status of cap-and-trade and carbon taxes in New Zealand. She is an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan (Class of 2015), and is double majoring in the Program in the Environment and Spanish within Michigan's School of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Her specialization within environmental science is in environmental policy and law.

 



Emily VanDusen

Emily is currently assisting with data collection for CLOSUP's biannual Michigan Public Policy Survey. She is an undergraduate student at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy (Class of 2014), and has interned at the United States Department of Education and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. She is also signed on to intern for Representative John Dingell's Ypsilanti office during the summer of 2013. Along with Michigan politics, Emily is especially interested in civil rights law and policy.



Yu Jun Soh

Jun is assisting in CLOSUP's Michigan Public Policy Survey, through the University of Michigan's Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). She is doing a double major in Political Science and Economics at the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (Class of 2016). Jun is most interested in contemporary American politics and international politics.

 



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