University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

CLOSUP in the Classroom - 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.

After their time at the Ford School, CLOSUP Policy Analysts take their experience and expertise to positions with leading policy organizations. For example, Kristy Hartman, a CLOSUP Policy Analyst for AY2012-2013, later joined the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) as an energy policy specialist and was quoted in the Wall Street Journal regarding new policies on hydraulic fracturing in Colorado.

Current Policy Analysts are listed below. For other recent Policy Analysts, see here.

Leah Adelman

Leah is CLOSUP Policy Analyst studying the influence of state and local siting regulations on wind energy development. She is a sophomore in the University of Michigan LSA Honors program. Her career ambition is to use her passion for environmental policy to make a positive impact. Policy regarding renewable energy and water infrastructure are of particular interest to her. She has experience working for the United Nations Foundation campaign for adolescent girls and as an intern for the U.S. House of Representatives. On campus, Leah is also a group fitness instructor for Recreational Sports and a board member for Epsilon Eta, a professional environmental fraternity.

 



Mayur Bandekar

Mayur is a Policy Analyst studying the social dynamics of wind energy sites to predict contention among prospective wind projects in Michigan for CLOSUP, the University of Michigan Energy Institute, and Program in the Environment’s senior honors thesis. He is a senior studying Program in the Environment and completing a minor in earth/environmental sciences in addition to a minor in business from the Ross School of Business. Mayur is interested in how energy policy impacts the private energy sector and how effective policy can transition society to use more sustainable forms of energy.

 



Emily Blackmer

Emily works with CLOSUP's Renewable Energy Policy Initiative. She is a dual-degree master's student with the Ford School and the School for Environment and Sustainability and holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College, where she studied environmental anthropology. Emily now focuses on natural resource policy and management, with a particular interest in the Western U.S. and finding solutions with concurrent ecological and social benefits.

 



Elizabeth Chon

Elizabeth is a Policy Analyst for CLOSUP’s Local Fiscal Health Project. She is a senior in the Ford School pursuing a focus area in financial regulation, and also has a minor in Business Administration through the Ross School of Business. Elizabeth is interested in the intersection between finance and government, and her past internship experiences include working for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Outside of classes and research, she is the president of Beta Alpha Rho Pre-Law and Public Service Fraternity and is involved in the Roosevelt Institute.

 



Alissa Graff

Alissa is a Policy Analyst for CLOSUP's research on Communities of Interest in support of the Independent Citizen's Redistricting Commission. She is a dual-degree masters student at the Ford School and at the UM School of Information (Class of 2020). Prior to attending the Ford School, Alissa was an Admissions Counselor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and has since interned with The Kresge Foundation, City of Detroit, and has managed a political campaign. Originally from the Detroit area, she is most interested in urban and housing policy, and has focused most of her academic and professional pursuits in Detroit. Alissa holds a B.A. in urban studies, anthropology, and international relations from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.

 



Sarah Gruen

Sarah is a Policy Analyst studying the community of interest criteria of Michigan's new legislative redistricting law for CLOSUP. She is a first-year masters student at the Ford School, and has a B.A. in geography and international development from the University of Washington. Sarah is a sustainability expert with a background in local and regional policy. Her recent work includes carbon emission accounting and reporting, and stakeholder engagement processes to determine sustainability priorities for governments.

 



Karl Hoesch

Karl is a Policy Analyst studying state-level renewable energy policy for CLOSUP's Renewable Energy Policy Initiative (REPI). He is a masters student at the Ford School (2020) and the Science and Technology in Public Policy Graduate Certificate Program and holds a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish (Hope College, 2007). Karl is passionate about Energy Justice and the intersection of affordable housing and energy policy.

 



Kseniya Husak

Kseniya is CLOSUP Policy Analyst studying the influence of state and local policies on wind energy development in Wyoming. She is a second-year master's student in the University of Michigan School of Public Policy and School of Information. Outside of her classes, Kseniya is also involved in a student-led interdisciplinary sustainability project through the Dow Sustainability Fellowship. Prior to graduate school, Kseniya helped install residential solar in low-income communities across the US. And although her main academic and professional focus has been on renewable energy, her interests are wide-ranging, spanning from transportation policy and shared mobility to experimental economics and data mining

 



Charles Kargman

Charley is a Policy Analyst studying the fiscal condition of Michigan municipal and county governments for CLOSUP's Local Fiscal Health Project. He is a masters student at the Ford School (Class of 2020) and holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Chicago. Prior to Ford, he worked as a program associate at American Jewish World Service, a human rights nonprofit, where he supported AJWS's grassroots grantmaking and international education portfolios. Charley is interested in state/local policy, economic development, and nonprofit management, and how immigration intersects with all three.

 



Sujin Kim

Sujin is a research assistant working in event planning and coordination for CLOSUP. She is in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts pursing a double B.A. in political science and psychology (class of 2022). Sujin is also a research assistant in the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program at Ford, and is interested in social welfare policy and human rights law.

 



Anthony Martinez

Anthony is a CLOSUP Policy Analyst investigating local government fiscal health in the State of Michigan. He is an undergraduate at the Ford School of Public Policy (Class of 2020) and looks forward to continuing his studies following graduation. Anthony’s policy areas of interest include tax policy, environmental policy, and foreign affairs.

 



Safiya Merchant

Safiya is a Policy Analyst for CLOSUP's project on communities of interest and the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. She is pursuing a Master in Public Policy degree at the Ford School, and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. A Chicago native, Safiya previously worked as a government, crime and education reporter at the Daily Herald in the Chicago suburbs, and as a K-12 and higher education reporter for the Battle Creek Enquirer in West Michigan. Most recently, she worked as a storyteller for the University of Michigan's communications team. Safiya is interested in K-12 education and housing policy, with a specific focus on issues relating to school segregation, homelessness, and equitable education funding strategies.

 



Lucas Misera

Lucas is a Research Assistant preparing Michigan Public Policy Survey data for public use. He is a master's student in the Ford School (Class of 2020) and previously attended Kent State University, receiving B.B.A.s in economics and finance. Lucas is most interested in small business development and credit access.

 



Nick Najor

Nick is a member of the student team researching the implementation of Michigan's new Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy at the Ford School. Nick is passionate about the local contractor workforce and neighborhood development in Detroit.

 



Douglas Noe

Doug is a Policy Analyst studying state-level renewable energy policy for CLOSUP's Renewable Energy Policy Initiative (REPI). He is a dual MBA/MS student at the Ross School of Business and the School for Environment and Sustainability (Erb Institute). He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Georgetown University (2011). His prior experience includes mergers & acquisitions consulting and financial auditing. Doug is passionate about renewable energy and the intersection of policy and business in the energy space.

 



Zach Pritchard

Zach is a Policy Analyst working with Sarah Mills to study the factors that shape community acceptance of renewable energy. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Chemical Engineering and holds an M.S.E. in Chemical Engineering (UM, 2019), a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Science, Technology, and Public Policy (UM, 2019), and a B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Georgia Tech, 2014). Zach is interested in using science to shape policy and using policy to shape science.

 



Gerson Ramirez

Gerson is a Policy Analyst studying proven practices to support the state's new Independent Citizen's Redistricting Commission. He is earning a Master in Public Policy (MPP-20) and has a BA in Sociology from North Park University. His policy interest includes local government and k-12 education finance reform.

 



Christen Richardson

Christen is a CLOSUP Policy Analyst focused on developing a deeper understanding of the fiscal health and the fiscal challenges of local governments in Michigan by working with the Michigan Department of Treasury. She is a masters student at the Ford School of Public Policy with a concentration in Data Science. She is a proud product of the James Madison College, a rigorous public policy program, within Michigan State University. Prior to attending the Ford School, Christen worked as a tax accountant at a consulting firm specializing in state and local government tax and tax provisions. She is most interested in public finance, housing policy, and criminal justice reform. Her career ambition is to merge the public and the private sector to fuel economic development.

 



Natasha Robertson

Natasha is a part of the University of Michigan undergraduate research opportunities program (UROP) working with CLOSUP as a research assistant on the Michigan Public Policy Survey Program. She hopes to major in Political Science and Economics within the college of LSA (Class of 2022). She is most interested in studying the criminal justice system and education policy.

 



James VanSteel

James is a Policy Analyst studying the application of "Community of Interest" criteria in Michigan's new redistricting law for CLOSUP. He is a dual masters student at the Ford School and Taubman College studying public policy and urban planning (Class of 2021). Prior to attending the Ford School he worked as an energy market analyst for the State of Michigan. James is interested in the intersections of social, urban, and environmental policy.

 



CLOSUP in the Classroom






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