Heller Profiles

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Alumni Notes

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and Coverdell Fellow sharpens analytical skills

Shaun Willis, MS '15

“Fundamental change must first take place at the policy level if it is to enhance the lives of the most vulnerable.”

Putting People to Work: National Policy, Reform and Innovation

Gregg Weltz, MMHS '97, Director, Division of Youth Services, Department of Labor

"It's clear there's no one solution. It's a global problem."

Heller MBA re-launches careers for students passionate about change

Rachael Weiker, MBA '13

"My fellow classmates do a good job of keeping the big picture in mind."

Using cultural norms to resolve conflict

Travis Warrington, MA-SID/MA-COEX '13

The use of cultural norms and practices with regard to conflict management and peacebuilding may be a more sustainable approach to future peacebuilding efforts for conflicts throughout the world.

The Impact of Heller Alumni around the World: Taiwan

Lisa Wang, PhD '91, Professor and Library Director, National Chung Cheng University

"People with disabilities in Taiwan have lower education levels, lower income status and lower participation rates in various social activities, with less than sufficient transportation support to assist them in getting to school, the hospital and social events."

Managing Health Care Reform, State by State

Anya Rader Wallack, PhD '07, President, Arrowhead Health Analytics

Implementing health care reform will be an "enormous burden" on the individual states, especially given the current economic climate.

Putting People to Work: Social Enterprise

Sara Wall, MPP '10, Program Director, Project Access

"Our business model is aligned with our mission."

The Impact of Heller Alumni around the World: Tunisia

Safia Trabelsi, MA-COEX '10, Communication and Partnership Officer, UN Women

"It is a huge challenge to help shape a real democracy where men and women can participate equally and effectively to build the democratic institution."

"Lost Boy" finds his way

Peter Ter, MA-SID/MA-COEX '14

"Our professors are respected international experts in their field — and we learn the word is mightier than guns, and that by bringing people together, they can work through their differences."

Putting People to Work: National Policy, Reform and Innovation

Rob Seidner, MBA '03, HR Specialist, U.S. Department of Transportation

"Employers are not looking at potential anymore. By the time you finish college, you already should have accomplished something."

Getting to the root cause is crucial

Neyha Sehgal, MBA '13

"The professors and career advisors motivate me, and their questions lead me to valuable answers."

Well-managed nonprofits yield greater social change

Brian Schon, MBA/MPP '11, Director of Policy and Strategy, Primary Care Progress

“If you want to improve your career, you have a lot of options. But if you want to improve the world while improving your career, you come to Heller.”

A Q and A with Brenna Schneider, MBA '12, founder of 99Degrees Custom

Brenna Schneider, MBA '12, Founder and CEO, 99Degrees Custom

"My vision of upward mobility in struggling cities gets me up in the morning."

A "disease detective" seeks public health and health economics training

Genesis Samonte, MS '14

"The courses are so interesting, I wish I could clone myself."

Standing at the intersection of the for-profit and nonprofit sectors

Sherria Saafir, MBA '15

“At Heller, the class discussions can bounce from finance issues to social issues, connecting these often disparate entities.”

Serving the population by improving the public health system

Angelique Rwiyereka, MS '07, PhD '13

"I credit my medical training as well as my Heller education for my ability to contribute to Rwanda's public health system."

Internship helped cement an interest in philanthropy

Jennifer Ross, MPP '11

"[I'm] interested in the role foundations can play by increasing collaboration and resource sharing among the nonprofit community."

Back Together Where They Belong: Compassion and Medicine

Julie Rosen, MMHS '89, Executive Director, Kenneth B. Schwartz Center, Massachusetts General Hospital

"I found my home at the Heller School. The atmosphere was intellectually exciting, the faculty was on a first-name basis with students, and it was the kind of place where you got what you put into the experience. I loved every minute of it."

Dual MBA/MS candidate passionate about improving health systems

Princess Osita-Oleribe, MBA/MS '15

“My goal is to gain a robust set of tools for both health systems strengthening and management that I can employ in my career in Nigeria.”

The Impact of Heller Alumni around the World: Israel

David Portowicz, PhD '80, Chairman and Co-Founder, the Jaffa Institute

"If it were only possible, I would reach out to all 20,000 children growing up in this community."

Practicum led to full-time position

Gustavo Payan, MA-SID '05, Project Director, International Development Division, Education Development Center

"International development is a broad field and Heller provides a real macro picture of all areas from social justice and human rights to environment and health."

Citizen Leaders for Social Justice

Jayanta Patra, MA-SID '13

“I am committed to helping my community and other deprived communities.”

Putting People to Work: Local, Sustainable Workforce Development

Paula Paris, MMHS '79, Deputy Director, JFYNetWorks, Boston

"The scale of what needs to be done is huge. There has been a lot of finger pointing about whose responsibility it is, but it's not realistic to expect either government or the private sector alone to solve the problem."

Rebuilding homes and a culture in Northern Uganda

Jacqueline Okanga, MA-SID/MA-COEX '13

"It wasn't until I started living and working among internally displaced person camps that I began to hear and understand what these people needed."

Fulbright scholar and medical doctor gains practical skills to strengthen Afghanistan’s health care system

Bashir Najeeb, MS '15

"Our ability to analyze problems and develop innovative solutions is a continuing challenge for development as a whole, and the health care sector in particular."

Pharmacist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo gains research skills

Helene Mukeya, MS '15

“I am excited to become an agent of change in developing countries, and to bring a smile to the faces of those troubled about access to health care.”

Youth are not only our future, but our present

Davron Mirsagatov, MA-SID '16

"It is important to include communities in decision making."

The Impact of Heller Alumni around the World: Japan

Akiko Mera, MA-SID '05, Executive Director, Oxfam Japan

"Now is the time to put people together -- those who work in disasters and those who work to fight against poverty."

Citizen Leaders Building Stronger Communities

Heather McMann, MBA '12, Executive Director, Groundwork Lawrence

“Heller was the only MBA that took the nonprofit and social policy piece seriously.”

A world of new possibilities for the young women of the Maasai

Grace Majiakusi, MA-SID '13

"I believe that to create change, you must start small, but I don't set limits on what is possible."

Reengineering Healthcare in Central and Eastern Europe

Henrieta Madarova, MS '06, Partner, Advance Healthcare Management Institute

Health systems in Central and Eastern Europe face a number of thorny challenges that the United States is confronting, including the graying of their population and rapidly increasing healthcare costs.

AmeriCorps and Peace Corps service lead former refugee to Heller

Pa Kong Lee, MA-SID '15

“All of us come to Heller to learn, to change the world, because we share the same passion and vision.”

The Road from Chandigarh to Heller

Ramandeep Kaur, PhD '15, Public Health Research Analyst, Research Triangle Institute’s Waltham office

"At Heller, there are so many people in so many fields, there are always faculty to help examine payments, financing, economics of health care and there is enough support to digest the material."

A development professional working to create lasting change

Yu Wen Kao, MA-SID '16

"Working outside my country was challenging, but I was able to learn a lot from the local residents."

Citizen Leaders: Harnessing the Power of Education

Masoud Juya, MS '11, Co-Founder, Kahkashan-e-Sharq University

“I have a commitment and a desire for change. I know it will take a while, but I am determined.”

Fulbright recipient acquires skills to go beyond clinical medicine

Bulat Idrisov, MS '14

"Heller feels like the United Nations, so many countries represented, so many languages spoken, so many passionate, friendly students always learning from each other."

Combining interests in business and community service

Jacquelyn Hodgson, MBA '15

“The discussions and level of awareness of social justice issues are so prevalent here.”

Heller Alum Champions Nurses, Geriatrics and Haiti

Antoinette M. Hays, PhD '90, President, Regis College

"I learned the importance of being politically active and how to influence policy -- but to do this I had to understand the economics at play behind the scenes and how it impacted patient care."

Citizen Leaders Advocating for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Cariann Harsh, MBA '04, Director, Autism Division, Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services

“This wave of kids isn't just a wave. The issue now is: How do we support all these kids who all look slightly different?”

Heller MBA's nonprofit focus suits him

Abraham Gore, MBA '13

"Preparation for a career in nonprofit management is what I came for and what the program delivers."

Peace Corps veteran finds similar dedication to social justice at Heller

Rachel Gold-Brown, MA-SID/MA-COEX '15

“When I say I went to Heller, people will know who I am and that I stand for something.”

Citizen Leaders: Harnessing the Power of Education

Jessica  Girard '10, MA-SID '14

“At Heller, leadership is based on being an educated person, crafting partnerships — you learn from them, they learn from you, and everyone is empowered.”

Citizen Leaders Building Stronger Communities

Pertula George-Redd, MA-SID '08, Manager of Volunteer Programs, DC Central Kitchen

“I’ve learned so many things at Heller. It’s prepared me for launching a nonprofit in my home country."

Crafting an encore career pairing deep experience with new skills

Lynn Garvin, PhD '14, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Boston University School of Public Health

"The Heller faculty's rich policy expertise and experience on both the federal and state levels is really unparalleled."

Putting People to Work: Local, Sustainable Workforce Development

Cara Fuller, MBA '05, Program Director, YouthBuild, Sasha Bruce Youthwork

"When folks are not employed, crime rates go up, the cost of food stamps goes up, drug use goes up, the number of small children without support goes up."

Heller education broadens skills and perspective

Katherine Fitzgerald, MBA '13

"I've come to think of all of my classmates as my teachers."

Dual MBA/MPP candidate works to reduce persistent inequities

Ev Evnen, MPP/MBA '15

“For me, gaining these tools is incredibly important because the work I want to engage in has to be done.”

Learning about health care from all angles

Sarah Emond, MPP '09, Chief Operating Officer, Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, Massachusetts General Hospital

"I knew that I had a lot more to learn about health care policy, so Heller's leadership on health care issues made it a perfect choice for me."

AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumna sees same values at Heller

Kimiko Ebata, MA-SID '15

“Heller is like a mini-UN because we are from all over the world and bring such an incredible richness of experience both to class and to our everyday conversations.”

The Impact of Heller Alumni around the World: Afghanistan

Michelle Dworkin, MA-SID '07, Program Officer, USAID

"To this day, I remain grateful for all of the lessons I learned while at Heller, and they continue to guide me in my work and help me focus on the importance of sustainability in development."

Consumers making decisions about their treatment dollars

Bevin Croft, MPP '10, PhD Candidate

"Just seeing how involved Heller faculty were with health care reform and how that Massachusetts law went on to be a model for the nation took my breath away."

Learning both inside and outside the classroom

Matthew Brown '08, MPP/MA '13

"The Heller community is passionate and knowledgeable, bringing their varied experiences and backgrounds with them."

The Impact of Heller Alumni around the World: United States

Mary Brooks, MA-SID '03, Lecturer and Assistant Director for Student and Academic Services, the Heller School for Social Policy and Management

"I really fell in love with the values of Heller, the community, the diversity and the commitment people here have to making a difference."

Putting People to Work: Social Enterprise

Sara Bonizio, MBA '10, Assistant Vice President for Quality Assurance, Work Inc.

"With no margins, there's no mission."

Passionate about strengthening health care in her native Rwanda

Noella Bigirimana, MS '15

“Understanding the whole system helps you identify and understand gaps in the system.”

A citizen of the world

Ronald Bernard, MA-SID '12

"Heller has helped me develop the knowledge, skills and relationships that will enable me to help create real change."

Putting People to Work: Global Impact

Neal Bermas, PhD '81, Founder, Streets International

"Social enterprises are at the forefront of a global entrepreneurial trend."

Learning to lead with the research question

Jodi Benenson, PhD '15, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University

"I'm getting excellent training in being a researcher - I know where to go, whom to ask, and I'm equipped to do my own study."

Heller leads to career in government

Jessie Babcock, MBA '09, Country Director for Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

“I came to Heller to build the skills that would take me to the next level of my career, and I believe my education has done exactly that.”

Strength in health finance and delivery transformation draws student to Heller

Taroon Amin, PhD '15, Senior Advisor, National Quality Forum

"Heller's collaborative, supportive environment in a cross-disciplinary context and the non-competitive atmosphere contributed to my and other students' learning."

The Impact of Heller Alumni around the World: South Sudan

Panther Alier, MA-SID '09, Team Leader, Winrock International

"This is an opportune time for me to be doing this building of government capacity. I hope to continue providing this much-needed help to develop systems for this new nation."

An unwavering commitment to public health

Tanwir Ahmad, MS '13

"World-class faculty, robust teaching methodology, and peers from across the globe create a unique learning environment."

Knowledge Advancing Social Justice

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