Alumni news – August 2023

Elizabeth Erickson (MIPA ’19) recently started a new position as co-executive director at Higher Expectations, an organization that strives to build a fully capable and employed workforce in Wisconsin’s Racine County. Since 2019, Erickson has worked for the organization in communications, outreach, and engagement roles.

Abigail Swetz (MPA ’19) was named the inaugural Alumni Fellow of the College of Arts and Letters at Truman State University. The award, which was created to “honor alumni who demonstrate integrity and have made significant contributions to their profession and community,” came with the opportunity for Swetz to visit her alma mater and conduct workshops with current students about her personal and professional journey. Swetz, who found college to be a challenging time due to mental health struggles, was honored by the award and found the visit to be an incredibly healing and powerful experience. Swetz works as the communications director for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Shehrose Charania (certificate in public policy ’21) started a new position as an administrative professional at Kaiser Permanente. While at UW, Charania received UW–Madison’s 2020 Newman Civic Fellowship, a national honor. Charania received a bachelor’s degree in health promotion and health equity and a certificate in public policy in 2021 from UW–Madison. This May, she completed her master of public health from the University of Minnesota.

Muhammad Shayan (MPA ’21) accepted a position in the Yale School of the Environment’s PhD program, starting in fall 2023. He will work in Professor Narasimha Rao’s lab, focusing on the intersection of poverty, development, climate change, and the role of renewable energy. Additionally, Shayan recently had a first-author paper published in the journal Preventive Medicine. The paper identifies heterogeneity in the data and methods used to evaluate recurrent firearm injury in the U.S. and demonstrates how such heterogeneity hinders our understanding of the epidemiology of firearm injury. Shayan, who completed his MPA in 2021, was inspired to pursue an education in public affairs  after a Pakistani boy sacrificed his life to save 2,000 students from a suicide bomber. He later started a scholarship in the boy’s honor.

Emma Heins (MPA ’22) helped host an EV State Policy Bootcamp in Madison, Wisconsin with her team at Electrification Coalition. The event brought together policymakers, experts, and advocates to discuss the biggest challenges to electrifying the Badger State. Heins works as a policy manager at the Electrification Coalition, where she manages the organization’s state policy work in Wisconsin and North Carolina as well as some of the organization’s federal infrastructure work.

Will Keenan (MPA ’22) started a new position as air quality, climate, research, and innovation program manager for the Federal Highway Administration Colorado Division Office. In this role, he manages the implementation of the Applied Research Program and Innovation programs and activities, including serving as the division coordinator of the Every Day Counts, Technology Deployment, and State Transportation Innovation Council programs, leads electric vehicle plan development and deployment, and serves as the air quality expert in the office. He was previously a transportation planner in the Division Office. As an MPA student, Keenan worked as an outreach and communications assistant for the La Follette School, where he promoted events, faculty research, and student accomplishments via social media, stories, and other communications projects.

Katie Pollock (MPA ’22) started a new position as a public affairs specialist at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy. Previously, Pollock worked as an ORISE nuclear energy justice policy fellow at the DOE, integrating energy justice into program areas and creating and implementing training materials. While on campus, Pollock served as graduation coordinator for the La Follette School Student Association and worked as a civic engagement fellow with the Campus Election Engagement Project, a content creator intern with As Goes Wisconsin, and a content writer with a research institution.

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