Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, May 12, 2022

Alumni News – May 2022

From left to right: Peter Tempelis (MPA ’06), Kara Savitt (BA ’20), Will Keenan (MPA ’22) From left to right: Peter Tempelis (MPA ’06), Kara Savitt (BA ’20), Will Keenan (MPA ’22)

Bryan Gadow (MPA ’05) is the new administrator for the City of Middleton. Previously, Gadow has served as the administrator for the City of Monona and for the Village of New Glarus. In 2019, he earned a Wisconsin Certified Public Manager certificate, a 300-hour, nationally accredited program through UW–Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies that prepares government, tribal, and nonprofit employees for the unique challenges and demands of public management.  

Peter Tempelis (MPA ’06) was elected as president of the State Bar Government Lawyers Division. Tempelis will serve as president-elect from July 2022 to June 2023, and as president from July 2023 to June 2024. Tempelis has been an attorney for the State of Wisconsin since 2006. Most recently, he has served as assistant district attorney for Waukesha County since 2019. 

Colin Higgins (MPA ’16) joined the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in March as a policy advisor to Deputy Secretary Todman, where he looks forward to building the economic foundations of communities, expanding the opportunities to all Americans, and building a more equitable country. A Rhodes Scholar from 2016 to 2018, Higgins previously worked for the Nowak Metro Finance Lab and the Governance Project. 

David Specht-Boardman (MPA ’16) served on the panel discussion How Policy-Making in the Capitol Happens for Catalysts for Science Policy (CaSP) and the Association for Graduate Engaged Scholars at UW–Madison. Boardman is a policy advisor for Sen. Joan Ballweg, who also participated. Also on the panel were Sen. Kelda Roys, Reps. Francesca Hong and Sheila Stubbs, and Nada Elmikashfi.  

Sam Alhadeff (MIPA ’18) accepted a new position with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in February. He is a portfolio manager for development innovation ventures, contracted through Social Solutions International. Previously, Alhadeff worked for nearly three years with Grant Thornton Public Sector.  

Atiya Siddiqi (MIPA ’18) was the analyst-in-charge for a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report about long COVID, which was highlighted in the Washington Post and by Chief Healthcare Executive. She has worked at the GAO since July 2018, most recently as a senior analyst for the Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics team.  

Claire Zautke (MPA ’19) started a new position in April as the fiscal policy manager in the office of new Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson. She will co-lead the city's first strategic planning process since 2004 and provide policy and budgetary analysis, advice, and support. Zautke was the student-selected speaker at the 2019 La Follette graduation ceremony

Jess Rutstein (MPA ’20) presented The Evolution & Impact of Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) with Jonelle Brom at the annual Feeding Wisconsin Hunger and Health Summit in April. Rutstein is a FoodShare program and policy analyst with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), where she spearheads the effective design and implementation of P-EBT programs to support more than 400,000 low-income children across Wisconsin.  

Michael Zell (MPA ’20) began a new position as a strategy and process consultant for Grant Thornton Public Sector. He previously was a research associate for Intersect Illinois.  

Kara Savitt (BA ‘20) began a new role in April as a foreign policy communications coordinator for the Brookings Institute. Previously, Savitt worked as a scientific affairs officer for Israel in the U.S.A. in Washington, D.C. Savitt received her bachelor’s degree in political science and history with a certificate in public policy in May 2020. While completing her degree, she worked on the La Follette School outreach team. 

Blake Buege (BA ’21) is starting a new position as a junior publicist at Linda Roth PR in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was an intern at the United States House of Representatives and then worked as a staff assistant in a personal office for a U.S. senator. Buege received his bachelor’s degree in political science and government with a certificate in public affairs in May 2021.  

Andrew Busker (MPA ’21) joined the City of Houston Mayor’s Office in April as a staff analyst. He works with community members, businesses, and elected officials on the city’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones, 380 Agreements, and Tax Abatement program. Busker previously was an operations manager for Houston Audubon.  

Dylan Helmenstine (MPA ‘22) recently accepted a role as a health care rate analyst in the Bureau of Rate Setting, Division of Medicaid Services at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. He will start his role after graduating this May. He will be working to conduct analysis and program improvement for the state's "Include, Respect, I Self Direct” program, which is a Medicaid waiver program that is centered on self-determination and self-direction for eligible members. 

Will Keenan (MPA ’22) will start a new position as a community planner with the Colorado Division of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). He will provide guidance and technical assistance to FHWA staff, the Colorado state Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and local governments on current federal planning requirements, polies, procedures, and guidance to ensure highway projects using federal funds are compliant with federal laws, policies, and regulatory guidelines. Since January, Keenan had worked for the FHWA as a transportation specialist in Madison, and as a 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.  

Ethan Kenney (MPA ’22) has accepted a position as a performance evaluator with the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau. While completing his MPA, he has worked as a policy research intern for the Wisconsin Policy Forum, conducting nonpartisan, data-driven research on Wisconsin policy issues at both the state and local governmental level.