Alumni Events

MPP Program Director Michael Doonan hosted the domestic career panel during the 17th Annual DC Heller Alumni Reception
alumni holding paintings
Heller Alumni Association Board Member Isaac K. Cudjoe, MA COEX'18 and Adam Motenko, MBA'16, hosted DC-area alumni for a painting event Nov. 16.
students with an alumna at networking night
Students and alumni mingled during Alumni Networking Night on Nov. 14
alumni in Uganda
Heller Board of Advisors Member Charles Nalyaali, MA SID'98, and MS GHPM Program Director AK Nandakumar hosted a get-together for alumni in Uganda.
alumnus and student at holding muffins
Former Heller professor Walter Leutz, PhD'81, was one of the alumni who attended Heller's bi-annual muffin breakfast, sponsored by the Heller Alumni Association.
David Weil and Tom Perez on stage
Democratic National Committee Chair and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez discussed his career, progressive politics and his strategy for advancing Democratic candidates in 2020 with Dean David Weil.
Jeanette Takamura, PhD’85, Heller Alumni Association Board member, hosted a dinner in the Ginza area of Tokyo, Japan for prospective students and alumni.
Africa Night included a panel discussion and debate, food, a fashion show, a student-produced documentary, live theater, and performances by emerging artists from the Heller community. 
2019 Heller Award winners: Dean Weil, Prof. Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, PhD student Alexandra Kritikos, Scientist Rachel Sayko Adams, Associate Director for Academic Affairs Marc Kiredjian, Bria Price, MPP'19 and Meghna Kanthan '22.
Dean Weil talking to a student
Heller alumni gathered at the 16th Annual Washington, DC Alumni Reception to reconnect with old friends and professors, hear from Dean Weil and network with current students.
Cupcakes for everyone! Students, faculty and staff celebrated Heller's No. 7 ranking in social policy from US News & World Report with tasty blue treats at our Heller Town Hall.
Activist and Kennedy School lecturer Marshall Ganz shared how he learned "the craft of organizing," first as a volunteer with the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964 and later in his work with Cesar Chavez.
Professor Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld led a panel on "Negotiation & Conflict Resolution in the Trump Era."
Heller students came together for International Mother Language Day, dressing in traditional clothing and dancing and singing in front of Heller community members.

We're excited to share a great slate of events throughout our 60th anniversary year. Make sure to update your information to receive emails about upcoming events! Be sure to use the hashtag #Heller60for60 if you attend and post about any of our anniversary events. 

Upcoming Events: 

Can You Move to Opportunity? Evidence from the Great Migration featuring Ellora Derenoncourt

April 22, 2020, 12:30 pm EST

Attend via Zoom

Racial composition shocks during the Great Migration (1940-1970) lowered black upward mobility in the northern United States. The Migration’s effects on children are driven by location factors, not negative selection of families. Migration led to persistent segregation and higher police spending, crime, and incarceration from the 1960s onward. The changes induced by the Migration explain 27% of the region’s racial upward mobility gap today. Co-sponsored by the Heller School and Economics Department Joint Seminar Series.

Ellora Derenoncourt is an economist who works on labor economics, economic history, and inequality. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Industrial Relations Section at Princeton University Department of Economics. In July 2020, she will join the faculty at UC Berkeley, in the Economics department and the Goldman School of Public Policy. She received her PhD in Economics from Harvard University.

Cancelled: Heller 60th Anniversary Celebration

June 5-7, 2020

The Heller School 60th Anniversary Celebration at Brandeis Alumni Weekend has been cancelled. Please visit the 60th anniversary page for more details. 

Previous Events: 


International Women's Day: Priorities for Reducing Gender Disparities

March 9, 2020

In commemoration of International Women’s Day, Professor Anita Hill hosted a virtual gathering of Heller School alumni and students. The webinar involved a panel of experts comprised of Heller alumni who have contributed significantly to advocating for greater gender equity. Panelists included: Odgerel Dashzeveg MA SID'07; Seraphine Mukankubito, MA SID/COEX'12; Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson '80, PhD'06; Chhoeki Penjor, MA SID'11. Professor Hill lead the discussion on reducing gender disparities and areas where greater emphasis needs to be placed during this new decade. Listen to the recording.

17th Annual Washington, DC Heller Alumni Reception

February 20, 2020

Over 150 Heller alumni, students, faculty, and staff gathered in Washington, DC to socialize, reconnect, network and enjoy light refreshments. This event was co-hosted by Heller Alumni Relations and the Heller Career Development Center as part of their annual Washington, DC Career Trek. The event included concurrent panel sessions focused on domestic and international policy, chaired by Michael Doonan, PhD'02, Associate Professor and Director, MPP Program and Ravi Lakshmikanthan, MA SID'99, Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Services. Domestic alumni panelists included Elle Chang, MA SID'15; Sarah Leonard, MA COEX/MS'19; Phoenicia Lewis, MA SID/COEX'17; Brett Jordan, MPP'16; and Darley Tom, MA SID'11. International alumni panelists included Amira Abouhussein, MA SID/COEX'17; Pertula George-Redd, MA SID'08; Burhan Razi, MA SID'15; Prapti Sherchan, MBA'13; and Indalecio Vallejos, MA SID/COEX'13. Panel sessions were followed by an alumni and student networking reception.

The Joy of Negotiating: Be Aware and Empower Yourself! in Kigali, Rwanda

February 16, 2020

Welcoming remarks and presentation by Alain Lempereur, SJD, Director, MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence Program. Professor Lempereur, wrote "The First Move. A Negotiator’s Companion," a bestseller that sold tens of thousands of copies in 15 languages, presented a series of first moves to invite you to do first things first in negotiation, increase your power as a negotiator and also enjoy everyday dealmaking and conflict resolution.

How the 2020 Election Could Change Healthcare for a Generation at Goulston & Storrs, Boston, MA

January 30, 2020

Candidates are running on a platform of change, specifically in the way our nation delivers and pays for health care. As the 2020 elections approach, we heard from a panel of experts who outlined and discussed the major healthcare policy challenges and opportunities and their potential impact on our country, our commonwealth, and ourselves. Panelists include Dr. Carole Allen, Executive MBA’17, Vice President, Massachusetts Medical Society; Michael Doonan, PhD’02, Associate Professor and Director, Masters of Public Policy Program; and Cindy Friedman, Massachusetts State Senator. Moderator: Elana Margolis ’97, senior director of state government and regulatory affairs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Hosted by: Doug Rosner ’88, Goulston & Storrs, Boston, MA. Read full biographies.

Understanding the Opioid Crisis: A Timely Discussion with Heller School Faculty Member Andrew Kolodny, MD in Hollywood, FL

January 12, 2020

The United States is in the midst of an opioid crisis: More than 100 Americans die every day from overdosing on opioids. Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Heller School faculty member, medical director for OPRC, a national expert on the opioid crisis and an outspoken critic of Purdue Pharma and other opioid makers, discussed how a flood of prescription opioids resulted in an epidemic of addiction and what’s needed to bring the crisis to an end.

Ford Hall: Closing the Disparity Gap

January 21-22, 2020

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the Ford Hall anniversaries, Sankofa Community Conversations presented by the Heller Office of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity offered a two day event, titled "Ford Hall: Closing the Disparity Gap." On Tuesday, January 21, 2020 was "Ford Hall Commemorative Community Discussion & Film" with Kwesi Jones '21. On Wednesday, January 22, 2020 was "Revisiting the 'N-Word': Intent vs. Impact in Communication" presented by Liz Pryor, Associate Professor of History at Smith College followed by "Charge to Remember" presented by Heller PhD candidate Jarvis Williams.

Heller School Student and Alumni Social in NYC

January 9, 2020

The Career Development Center and the Department of Alumni Relations gathered with alumni and current students for drinks and hors d’oeuvres as we laugh, converse, and enjoy a night of Heller in NYC. Come support current students as they explore some of the worlds most important international, governmental, non-profit, and non-governmental organizations.

The Joy of Negotiating: Responsible First Moves to Empower Yourself and Others in Deal-Making and Conflict Resolution in India

January 5, 2020

Welcoming remarks: Ravi Lakshmikanthan, MA SID'99, Assistant Dean, Academic and Student Services

Presentation by: Alain Lempereur, SJD, Director, MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence Program

Ravi Lakshmikanthan and Alain Lempereur were in Mumbai, India and hosted this event to bring together Brandeis and Heller alumni and prospective students. Alain Lempereur, who wrote "The First Move. A Negotiator’s Companion," a bestseller that sold tens of thousands of copies in 15 languages, presented a series of first moves to invite you to do first things first in negotiation, increase your power as a negotiator and also enjoy everyday dealmaking and conflict resolution.

Heller School Coffee Hour in Kigali, Rwanda!

January 4, 2020

Sarah LaMorey, MA SID/COEX'19, Program Coordinator, Graduate Program in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence, hosted alumni and prospective students at the Camellia Restaurant in Kigali, Rwanda.

Heller School Coffee Hour in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania!

January 2, 2020

Sarah LaMorey, MA SID/COEX'19, Program Coordinator, Graduate Program in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence, hosted alumni and prospective students at the Holiday Inn in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


Fall Semester

  • September 19, 2019, Conversation with the Dean: Carmen Rojas, CEO and Co-Founder, The Workers Lab, came to Heller for the first Conversation with the Dean of Heller’s 60th anniversary school year. She and Dean David Weil discussed ways to improve the lives of U.S. workers, and she offered a critique of traditional philanthropy, described the innovative methods of the Workers Lab and shared her own background and journey. The Workers Lab collaborated with Heller's Institute on Assets and Social Policy earlier this year on an occupational segregation report titled, "Not Only Unequal Paychecks: Occupational Segregation, Benefits, and the Racial Wealth Gap."
  • September 25, 2019, Student Coffee Break: The Heller Alumni Association welcomed new and returning students by inviting them to enjoy coffee and the legendary muffins from the Gingerbread Construction Co. 
  • October 7, 2019, Heller School Coffee Hour in New Delhi, India: Featuring Allyala Krishna Nandakumar, Professor of the Practice; Director, Institute for Global Health and Development; Director, MS Program in Global Health Policy and Management at Le Meridien Hotel New Delhi, Windsor Place, India.
  • October 28, 2019: PhD Alumni Panel for a Non-Academic Career Track: The Heller School PhD Student Association welcomed the following alumni to come and present about their career outside of academia. Panelists include: Pieta Blakely, PhD'17, Blakely Consulting, LLC; Danielle Fuller-Wimbush, PhD'14, Director, Partner Support and Grantmaking, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC); Kate Giaponni Schneider, PhD'17, Research Scientist, Heller School; Julie Johnson, PhD'15, Director of Research, Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. Sponsored by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations and Career Development Center.
  • October 30, 2019, The Evolution of Conflict Transformation: A Conversation with John Paul Lederach: The COEX program held a panel discussion with the Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize Award winner John Paul Lederach. Panelists included Isabella Jean, MA COEX'06, Pamina Firchow, Ted Johnson, and Sandy Jones; moderated by Alain Lempereur, COEX Program Director. Lederach is Professor Emeritus of International Peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he previously served as director of the Peace Accord Matrix research initiative, and was the founding director for the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. Lederach works extensively with Humanity United as a practitioner in conciliation processes in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast and Central Asia. You can learn more about the Gittler Prize on the Brandeis website.
  • November 1, 2019, Arthur Pollock Legacy Award Event: The Heller School Center for Youth and Communities and The Treehouse Foundation and leaders from across the country discussed re-envisioning foster care in America. Remarks were given by Prof. Susan P. Curnan, Judy Cockerton, Founder & Director, Treehouse Foundation, andPhyllis N. Segal, Founding Chair, The Eli J. & Phyllis N. Segal Citizen Leadership Program & Vice President, The Keynote address was given by Marc Freedman, Founder & CEO, Lynn Price, Founder, Camp to Belong, was presented with the Arthur Pollock Legacy Award. The Arthur Pollock Legacy Award honors extraordinary individuals, age 55+, who use their life experience to enhance the lives of our nation’s children and youth living in foster care and promote a Re-Envisioning of Foster Care in America. 
  • November 14, 2019, Student and Alumni Networking Night 2019: Students came to meet, greet, learn from and share community with Heller School alumni, Heller Board of Advisors Members and Heller Alumni Association Board Members who are engaged in wonderful work in healthcare, non-profit management, government, policy, advocacy and non-government organizations. In this moderated program that follows a "speed networking" format, they had conversations and made connections.
  • November 16, 2019, Heller School Alumni Meetup in Washington, DC: Hosted by: Isaac Cudjoe, MA COEX'18, Heller Alumni Association Board Member, and Adam Motenko, MBA'16. Heller alumni met up for this fun event to socialize and meet alumni from the DC area. The Heller School covered the full cost of this event for alumni attendees and 40% of the event expenses will go back towards the Heller Annual Fund, dedicated to supporting students and their academic experience.
  • November 19, 2019: Heller MPP alumni gathered for a special event to recognize Janet Boguslaw for all she has done for the Heller MPP Program. She has had many accomplishments as the Associate Director of the MPP program and as the poverty alleviation concentration chair and will continue to work at Heller in a new role. The program is collecting donations in honor of Janet to benefit the MPP summer internship program, of which Janet has been such a champion. Click here to make a gift (please designate “Other” and put MPP Internship Program in the text box).
  • November 20, 2019, The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy: 2019 Annual Distinguished Lecture: Using Population Data to Inform Autism Policy in the U.S.: Featuring Dr. Paul Shattuck, A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University, who discussed the importance of data in policies that help or hinder quality of life for people on the autism spectrum. In his lecture, Dr. Shattuck shared the development, strategies, and impact of the National Autism Data Center and the Research Program in Life Course Outcomes. Learn more about the Lurie InstituteWatch the full lecture here.
  • December 5, 2019, Stanley Wallack Distinguished Memorial Lecture: Healthcare in 2021 Ingredients for Change: Featured Speaker: David Blumenthal, MD, President & CEO, The Commonwealth Fund
    The 4th Annual Stanley Wallack Distinguished Memorial Lecture was sponsored by the Schneider Institutes for Health Policy. To make a gift to the Stanley Wallack Distinguished Memorial Lecture Series click here. To watch the full video of the lecture, click here.

Spring Semester

  • Jan. 23, 2019, Conversations with the Dean: Chuck Rosenberg: Impeachment, treason and the complexities of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation dominated the conversation as Chuck Rosenberg, former senior FBI official, U.S. Attorney and DEA administrator, visited the Heller School for a “Conversation with the Dean” with Dean David Weil. 
  • Jan. 30, 2019, Marshall Ganz described his experiences learning "the craft of organizing," first as a volunteer with the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964 and later in his work with Cesar Chavez and the National Farm Workers Association in California.
  • Feb. 15, 2019 "Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in the Trump Era": Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld led a panel of negotiation experts, who discussed Trump’s unpredictability, need for personal gratification, use of private sector tactics in the public sector, as well as lessons learned from labor union negotiations and the challenges of moving society forward in an age of tribalism.
  • Feb. 20, 2019, 16th Annual Alumni Reception and Career Panels in Washington, DC: Heller alumni, students and faculty gathered in Washington, D.C. to share career advice, network and reconnect with old friends.
  • March 20, 2019, US News Rankings Celebration: Cupcakes for everyone! The community celebrated Heller's #7 ranking in social policy from US News & World Report with tasty blue treats at our Heller Town Hall.
  • March 20, 2019, International Mother Language Night: Heller students came together for International Mother Language Day, organized by Brandeis Bangladeshi Students Association. 
  • April 1, 2019,  Conversations with the Dean: Tom Perez: Democratic National Committee Chair and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez joined Dean David Weil for part of the Conversations with the Dean speaker series. The event featured a wide-ranging dialogue on Perez’ life and career, his thoughts on progressive politics and his strategy for advancing Democratic candidates in 2020.
  • April 3, 2019, Heller Awards 2019: The Heller School presents awards each spring to members of the community for outstanding service in teaching, mentoring, teaching assistance, staff service, research, and equity, inclusion and diversity.
  • April 5, 2019, MBA Distinguished Management Lecture 2019: Mo Cowan, president of Global Government Affairs and Policy at GE, delivered the 2019 MBA Distinguished Management Lecture.
  • May 4, 2019, Africa Night is Heller’s annual celebration of African intellectual achievements, cultural heritage and diversity. It included a panel discussion and debate, live music, dance, poetry, oratory, free food, fashion show, hip-hop, student-produced documentary, live theater, and performances by emerging artists from the Heller community. 
  • June 24, 2019, Alumni Gathering in Ginza, Tokyo: Jeanette Takamura, PhD’85, Heller Alumni Association Board member, hosted a gathering that included Mutsuhisa Ban, a prospective student, Akiko Mera, MA SID’05, Yuki Kondo, MA SID’14,  Hajime Takizawa, MA SID’07, Jeanette C. Takamura, PhD'85, and Ayumu Osawa, MA SID’13.

Heller at 60