SPPUA in Action | May 2016
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Dear Friends,

As we conclude another remarkable academic year at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, it is my privilege to share some of our school’s latest achievements and impacts. This issue showcases some of the best we have to offer, from interdisciplinary research partnerships that are shaping the world in which we live, to an impressive list of students, faculty, alumni, and staff who have been recognized for their achievements. Their commitment and outstanding work continues to add to our legacy of innovation, policy analysis and impact.
In this issue, we highlight how professors Thomas Vicino, Gavin Shatkin and Dietmar Offenhuber are using interdisciplinary seed grants to conduct use-inspired research in Brazil and Indonesia. We share a recap of our Class of 2016 Graduation Reception, an annual event that honors new graduates who have distinguished themselves through their outstanding academic performance, strong leadership, and exceptional commitment to embrace research and its applications in both local and global dimensions. We also feature a series of articles that bring to the spotlight students, alumni and faculty’s intellectual accomplishments.
MPA student Ben Irwin discusses lessons he has learned through work and studying public management and policy, and Manny Alcantara, a veteran and first-year MPA student with a focus on public safety and emergency management, writes a guest column about the importance of Memorial Day.
Lastly, May is Military Appreciation Month and we have multiple veterans and active service members among our students. Check our website as well as Facebook and Twitter profiles for features on students who are building on their military backgrounds to their studies in public policy.
Thank you for your continued support and I urge you to keep an eye out for the summer issue of SPPUA in Action, which will launch the commemoration of our 10th anniversary.
Matthias Ruth
Director and Professor, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
April in Photos
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Faculty Research
Gaining new insights into social resilience in Brazil’s conflict zones

Two professors in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs have teamed up to document how social media platforms are being used as sites of social resilience in Brazil’s City of God, one of Rio de Janeiro’s most notorious favelas, or slums.

Thomas Vicino, associate professor of political science, public policy and urban affairs, and Dietmar Offenhuber, assistant professor of art and design and public policy, received a Provost’s Tier 1 Interdisciplinary Seed Grant, a $50,000 internal grant designed to stimulate and support interdisciplinary research at Northeastern and to increase the competitiveness of external proposals. Read more.
Analyzing flood risk in Jakarta

In an interdisciplinary effort, Gavin Shatkin has partnered with faculty in Northeastern’s School of Architecture and the departments of Art and Design and Anthropology to examine projections of flood risk in rapidly growing coastal megacities. Read more.

Lights. Camera. Action

Class of 2016 Graduation Reception

Following graduate commencement on Friday, May 6, alumni and their families joined faculty and staff at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs for the Class of 2016 Graduation Reception. The annual event honors a select few who have distinguished themselves through their outstanding academic performance, strong leadership, and exceptional commitment to embrace research and its applications in both local and global dimensions. Read more.

SPPUA capstone team takes second place in MassASPA competition

The Brookline Succession Planning Project, a four-member capstone team representing the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, placed second in the annual MassASPA Keough Best Capstone Competition and Award. Members Charles Thomas Ransdell, Haley Oh, Patricia Wehman, and John M. Montgomery developed a succession plan focused on new leadership in the public sector of Brookline that incorporates diverse representation in the town’s leadership. Read more.

SPPUA students recognized at Northeastern’s Student Life Awards

“Having my Northeastern experiences honored in tandem with [Jarvis’] spirit, integrity, and perseverance makes me feel connected to the heartfelt presence he had in the world. I am dedicated to carrying this connection to Greg Jarvis into the work, interactions and relationships still to come.” Read more.

And the awards go to SPPUA faculty and staff

Multiple faculty and staff in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs were honored at the 4th annual College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH) Faculty and Staff Celebration. Read more.

Northeastern honors community’s highest achievements

Northeastern University celebrated the highest achievements of students, faculty, and staff at the sixth annual Academic Honors Convocation on April 21 in East Village. The event honors a select few who channel their extraordinary talents into transformative research and scholarship, exceptional teaching and mentoring, and innovation in higher education—both on campus and around the globe.

“You are grabbing these opportunities and we are here as your support team,” Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun told the award winners. “You are the role models.” To the student winners, he said, “You are the future of this place,” and then he joked, “One day you will replace me, but don’t do it too soon.” Read more.
Get to Know: Ben Irwin, MPA student and communications manager for Boulder, Colo.

"I joined the program to build an academic framework around my real-world experience. But the courses have encouraged me to apply what I am learning in real-time. For example, 'Principles of Policy Analysis' was not just theoretical. The semester-long project involved consulting with a local non-profit to provide a plan for evaluating a hospital voucher program that encouraged diabetes patients to purchase fresh produce at local farmers markets. I was surprised and thrilled that my school work could help a local organization at the same time. Plus, I worked with an incredible team of classmates on the project, a phenomenon I have experienced throughout my time at Northeastern." Read more.

Guest Column: Memorial Day from a veteran’s perspective


By Manny Alcantara, a first-year student in the Master of Public Administration

Every year, on the fourth Monday of May, Americans across the country take the time to remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defending the United States of America. The rights and freedom that American citizens are granted were fought for and protected by honorable service members from multiple generations. Those who died defending our country served with the understanding that they may not survive their commitments. As a veteran, I feel as though paying tribute to those service members who are no longer with us is the least I can do to show my gratitude for all they sacrificed. Read more.

Student & Alumni News

Cities, Data & Coffee

Antonio Vázquez Brust, a student in our Master of Science in Urban Informatics, recently received a research seed grant from the Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI) for a project that will look to describe the process of gentrification in Boston. Read more.

Follow Brust’s new weekly blog, Cities, Data & Coffee, on the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs website for updates on his research at the intersection of urban science and public policy.  

Northeastern alumna, staff member receives Fulbright award

"I want my work to be actionable and have value for the people I’m working with. I received a great deal of hospitality when I was there before, and I want to return that. And I think I’m well positioned to do this, based on my previous experience.”
—Nina Angeles
Read more.

Doctoral candidate receives academic exchange service grant

Tracy Corley, a doctoral candidate in the PhD in Law and Public Policy at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, has been awarded a Deutsher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) academic exchange service grant, which will allow her to conduct research in Düsseldorf, Germany.

“In addition to this award, I also have institutional support from The Skilled Trades Chamber in Düsseldorf and status as a guest researcher at The Berlin Social Science Center and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne,” Corley said. Read more.

With Fulbright, Northeastern student wants to fuse education and violence prevention

Graduating senior Esther Laaninen’s time at Northeastern has been defined by her global experiences, teaching opportunities in communities around the world, and on- and off campus activities. Now, she’s planning to harness what she’s learned to make the most of a Fulbright fellowship in Colombia. Read more.

SPPUA alumna promoted

Congratulations to alumna Jenna DeAngelo on becoming a full-time program associate at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

DeAngelo graduated with a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Policy in August 2015 and started working at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy as an intern last May. She was hired part-time in September and became a full-time program associate in April. Read more.

Moot Court 'captures Northeastern's commitment to experiential learning'

Undergraduate students enrolled in “Introduction to Law,” a course in the minor in Law and Public Policy, got a taste of what it is like to be a lawyer on April 11 during a moot court competition at Northeastern University.

Forty-eight students "argued a case" in front of a panel of judges comprised of experienced Boston attorneys in private practice, public service and nonprofits. Read more.  

Intern 101

Joe Russo, a student in our Master of Public Administration, is documenting his summer internship in Mayor Stephanie M. Burke’s office in Medford, Mass. Follow his bi-weekly blog "Intern 101" for reflections on his time as an intern at Medford City Hall. Read more.

Nonprofits and Social Change in London

Roxanne Anderson, left, a student in the Human Services Program, and Chrissy Beluk, who is majoring in Sociology and Human Services, are currently on a Dialogue of Civilizations in England. Follow their weekly blog for an inside look on how the two seniors are navigating internships at London nonprofits, senior research projects, and the infamous underground tube.  

SPPUA Update

Economists: Paid leave proposal would expand access for Mass. workers

A proposed statewide program to provide paid leave for medical and family caregiving would cover 3.1 million Massachusetts workers and level the playing field for women, minorities, and low-income workers, at an average cost of only $3 a week per each covered employee, according to a new analysis by economists from Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts Boston. Read more.  

311 Systems

Daniel T. O’Brien, assistant professor of public policy and urban affairs and criminology and criminal justice, recently wrote an article about 311 systems by which residents can request government services for nonemergency problems, such as potholes and graffiti. Read more.

'Strategic Logic of Credit Claiming: A New Theory for Anonymous Terrorist Attacks'

Affiliate Professor Max Abrahms co-developed a statistical model that can explain which terrorist attacks will be claimed, when and why as part of a forthcoming study in Security Studies.

“The study resolves the puzzle of why terrorist groups generally don't take credit for attacks,” said Abrahms who co-wrote the study with Justin Conrad, a professor at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Read more.

Professor Modestino helps Mayor's Office of Workforce Development get grant

The Mayor's Office of Workforce Development (OWD) has been selected, as part of a national competition, to assess the feasibility of implementing the innovative Pay for Success contracting model to Boston's Summer Youth Employment Program, according to a press release.

Alicia Sasser Modestino, associate professor of public policy and urban affairs and economics, is currently completing a comprehensive evaluation of Boston's Summer Youth Employment Program. According to her preliminary results, participants report significant increases in job readiness skills, financial literacy, community engagement, and college aspirations. Read more.

Capstone Presentations and End-of-Year Celebration

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and capstone clients gathered on Wednesday, April 27, for Capstone Presentations and End-of-Year Celebration. View our photo gallery here.

Credit building for young working adults

Alicia Sasser Modestino, associate professor of public policy and urban affairs and economics and associate director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, will track and measure the City of Boston Credit Building Initiative for Young Working Adults’ ability to improve credit and credit-building behaviors, providing important new insights for other youth asset-building opportunities across the United States. Read more.

Professor Albright recognized for intellectual achievement

Assistant Professor Len Albright’s co-authored article "Race, Space, and Cumulative Disadvantage: A Case Study of the Subprime Lending Collapse" has been awarded the 2016 John Hope Franklin Prize for Best Article on Race, Racism, and the Law, by the Law and Society Association.
In the Media

The faculty and staff at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs continue to be reliable sources of expertise on current pressing issues. Click here for a list of articles during the month of April that reference our knowledgeable staff and their research.

Quote of the Month

Upcoming Events

The Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy will release its first annual Greater Boston Built Environment Report Card at A Better City's State of the Built Environment Conference June 7, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Seaport Hotel. Register today!

The Northeastern Way

Our graduate policy programs create leaders through experiential learning, research and education.

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