Beacon Hill Project Wraps Up Successful Inaugural Year

photo of UMass President Marty Meehan with School of Public Policy Students

The UMass Amherst School of Public Policy has wrapped up the inaugural year of its Beacon Hill Project, which brings students on monthly trips to Boston for a front-row view of the policymaking process.

“Our first Beacon Hill Project has been a great success,” said Alasdair Roberts, director of the School of Public Policy. “Our students met with a fascinating range of legislators, advocacy groups, nonprofit leaders, and government officials. They also learned about the many career opportunities open to them and made valuable professional connections.”

“Public policy is such a broad field, and there’s so much you can do with your degree,” said Tamara Keshecki, a student in SPP’s Master of Public Policy and Administration program. “I think the best part of the Beacon Hill Project was being able to meet a variety of people across so many sectors. That’s especially important for students who are figuring out what they want to focus on.”

Over the past two semesters, the Beacon Hill Project connected with more than three dozen professionals from municipal, state, and federal government; think tanks; nonprofits; advocacy groups; and higher education.

That diverse list included UMass President Marty Meehan; state Rep. Christine Barber (a 2003 School of Public Policy alumna); Kristen Lepore, chief of staff to Gov. Charlie Baker; Jeffrey Thompson, senior economist at the Federal Reserve; Kennedy School fellow Amy Dacey, former director of both EMILY's List and the Democratic National Committee; Setti Warren, director of the Shorenstein Center and former mayor of Newton; Lucas DeBarros, executive director of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus; and Geoffrey Beckwith, executive director of the Mass. Municipal Association.

A number of School of Public Policy alumni hosted the Beacon Hill Project to talk about their organizations and the career paths that took them there. In addition to Barber, they included Rebecca Balder '07, project manager for market performance at the Mass. Health Policy Commission; Lauren Coakley ’18, health policy analyst at the Center for Health Information and Analysis; Michele DesAutels ’09, waterways management specialist for the US Coast Guard; Michael Hamel '07, director of the Office of Municipal & School Technology at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Michael Lichtman '83, director of database administration at the Center for Health Information and Analysis; and Raija Vaisanen ’10, director of research at the Commonwealth Corporation. 

Top photo: UMass President Marty Meehan in conversation with School of Public Policy student
Bottom photo: School of Public Policy student Tamara Keskecki connects with Maria Cheevers, director of research and development for the Boston Police Department

People and organizations the School of Public Policy’s Beacon Hill Project connected with in its first year:

  • Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus
  • State Representative Christine Barber
  • Office of State Senator Jo Comerford
  • Office of State Senator Pat Jehlen
  • Office of Governor Charlie Baker
  • UMass System President’s Office
  • McCormack School at UMass Boston
  • Harvard Kennedy School
  • Freedom for All Massachusetts
  • Commonwealth Care Alliance
  • Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance
  • Commonwealth Corporation
  • Pioneer Institute
  • Mass. Health Policy Commission
  • Community Catalyst
  • Mass. Budget and Policy Center
  • Mass. Center for Health Information and Analysis
  • Mass. Office of Municipal and School Technology
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • US Coast Guard
  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Office of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh
  • Boston Police Department
  • Mass. Municipal Association
  • Boston Museum of Fine Arts

About the School of Public Policy: Established in 2016, the UMass Amherst School of Public Policy is a hub for research and teaching, preparing students for leadership in public service. The program’s focuses include social change and public policy related to science and technology.

— Maureen Turner, communications manager, School of Public Policy 

Share this page: