School of Public Policy Kicks Off Spring Beacon Hill Project

SPP alumna Raija Vaisenan, Katie Stebbins (UMass President's Office) and SPP students Ainsley Brosnan-Smith and Clare McGladrigan
SPP alumna Raija Vaisenan, Katie Stebbins (UMass President's Office) and SPP students Ainsley Brosnan-Smith and Clare McGladrigan

Students at the School of Public Policy (SPP) will meet with government officials and other policymakers at the municipal, state and federal levels this spring as part of SPP’s Beacon Hill Project.

Launched in 2018, the Beacon Hill Project brings students in SPP’s graduate programs on monthly trips to Boston for conversations with legislators, government officials and advocacy groups.

“The project gives School of Public Policy students an up-close view of how policies are developed and implemented,” said Alasdair Roberts, SPP director. “It’s also an opportunity for students to make professional connections and to see the many kinds of careers they might pursue in government or the nonprofit or private sectors.”

This semester’s Beacon Hill Project begins on Feb. 8 with a day focused on municipal government. The students will start the day at Boston City Hall visiting the office of Mayor Marty Walsh, where they’ll meet with mayoral Chief of Staff David Sweeney for a conversation about the inner workings of city government. From there, the group meets with Maria Cheevers, director of research and development at the Boston Police Department and a UMass Amherst alumna, for a discussion about public safety policy.

In addition, the SPP students will visit the Massachusetts Municipal Association for a meeting with Executive Director Geoffrey Beckwith to learn about the organization’s work, which includes advocacy on policy issues affecting the cities and towns. The day ends at the Museum of Fine Arts for a conversation with Makeeba McCreary, the MFA’s chief of learning and community engagement and an alumna of UMass Boston. McCreary previously spent twenty years working in education policy, most recently as managing director and senior adviser of external affairs at the Boston Public Schools.

Other Beacon Hill Project trips this spring will include visits to the Massachusetts State House for meetings with lawmakers and to state and federal agencies based in Boston. In the fall, the group met with representatives from prominent think tanks and advocacy organizations for discussions on effective government relations, economic development policy and the role of independent research organizations.