Reasons to Fall in Love with Heller

Amanda Miller, Heller Admissions Staff

February 14, 2023

Happy Valentine’s Day, blog readers! On this day, where we celebrate love, I want to take a moment to recognize what lies at the root of this community: a genuine belief in the power of people to effect good in the world. In a world that so often feels chaotic or stagnant (or worse, deteriorating), everyone at Heller not only believes that positive change is possible, but are actively working to improve it. Over the past year, our students, alumni, faculty, and staff have done amazing things, so here’s my Valentine to the Heller community: these are some of the reasons why I love Heller.

From July 2021 to June 2022…

  • Heller faculty and director of the Institute for Children, Youth, and Family Policy Dolores Acevedo-Garcia was appointed to the Societal Experts Action Network, a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to bring timely, actionable guidance to the critical and complex questions facing decision-makers.
  • Sandy Ho, MPP’22, co-wrote an article for the Winter 2O22 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Time for Philanthropy to Confront Ableism.” She argues that if philanthropy is to build a more just and equal society, it must combat ableism in its own institutions and practices. Sam Hyun, MPP/MBA’22, was the subject of a Dec. 15, 2O21, profile in The Boston Globe, “Sam Hyun Is Tireless in Amplifying Long Silenced AAPI Voices”.
  • The Master of Public Policy program sponsored a talk by Robert Kuttner, Meyer and Ida Kirstein Professor in Social Planning and Administration, on April 28, 2O22, in which Kuttner discussed his book “Going Big: FDR’s Legacy, Biden’s New Deal, and the Struggle to Save Democracy.”
  • Phillip Aitken, MA COEX’22, Ruya Akar, MA SID/ COEX’22, Gabriella Lanzi, MA SID/COEX’22, and Whitney Wehrle, MA SID/COEX’22, received Boren Awards to further their international and language studies. Making use of these grants, Phillip studied Portuguese in Cabo Verde; Ruya studied Arabic in Amman, Jordan, and Gabriella in Rabat, Morocco; and Whitney continued her studies of Armenian, which she began in country as a Peace Corps volunteer in 2O18.
  • Heller faculty and PhD Alumna Alexandra Piñeros-Shields, PhD’07, was honored at the White House’s Fourth of July Celebration (2O21) for her work in defending the rights of immigrants and promoting humane immigration reform.
  • PhD student Janelle Ridley was quoted in a Sept. 28, 2O21, Boston Globe story about The Run Around, a tabletop game about the juvenile justice system that is designed to be impossible to win.
  • A bill proposed in California (AB-2832) recommended the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy’s Child Opportunity Index as a potential screening tool for collecting data on racial and economic equity in order to provide the state’s highest-need communities with additional investments for early childhood infrastructure and resources.
  • Samantha Berlus, MPP’23, and Armando Vizcardo, MPP’23, were among the recipients of the 2O22 Harvard Kennedy School Rappaport Public Policy Fellowship. During the summer of 2O22, Samantha worked with the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance and Armando worked in the Massachusetts Office of the Treasurer and Receiver General’s Office of Economic Empowerment.
  • In March 2022, Heller faculty member Peter Dixon facilitated “Restorative Justice in Concord,” a reconciliation dialogue between a local private school and The Robbins House, a local museum run by interim dean Maria Madison, around the history of slavery in Concord, Massachusetts.
  • Heller faculty Anita Hill’s April 7, 2022, op-ed, “The Senate Judiciary Committee Mistreated Judge Jackson. I Should Know,” appeared in The Washington Post.