Summer 2021 Heller Magazine

Letter from Dean Weil

"Our society has lived through 16 months where it was easy to feel paralyzed by circumstance and isolated from our colleagues. The way this pandemic split us all up, sent many of us home, and pushed our worlds onto Zoom screens made many of us feel newly hypervigilant and yet helpless to intervene.In reflecting on the events of the last year I have often ruminated on a quote from Leviticus 16:19. The translation I remember most vividly is, 'Thou shalt not stand idly by.'”



Advancing access to independent living

The Community Living Policy Center (CLPC) helps win increased funding for home- and community-based services for people with disabilities in the American Rescue Plan

Read more: CLPC and the American Rescue Plan

The overlooked children

Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy research informs new policies to include children in immigrant families in essential safety net programs

Read more: Safety Net Programs for children in immigrant families

Beyond “Do no harm”

Four students and three professors reflect on ethical dilemmas in international development and peacebuilding – and how Heller is teaching them to challenge the status quo

Read more: Ethics in international development

Accelerating Africa’s (technology) revolution

Amrote Abdella, MA SID’07, is expanding internet access and supporting African-led start-ups at Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative

Read more: Amrote Abdella, MA SID’07

A big-picture approach to better health care

Health policy experts Jennifer Perloff and Robert Mechanic explain how Accountable Care Organizations could remake our health care system

Read more: Q&A with Perloff and Mechanic

Creative community-building during a pandemic school year

From virtual walking challenges to Halloween trivia and socially-distanced hikes, Heller students have found ways to stay connected during a challenging pandemic school year

Read more: Student community-building


Calvin Harris, MPP’10

Director of Communications for
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott

Calvin Harris, MPP'10“Breaking down the nuances of policies and communicating them in a coherent way is essential. I recognize how infrastructure issues lead to environmental issues that lead to public health issues that lead to a host of other matters,” Harris says. “I’m honored to work with a new generation of bold leadership that wants to tackle racial equity head-on, and build a system that truly works for everyone.”

Constance Fairweather Kane, PhD’85

Heller Alumni Lounge sign

Founder, Empowered to Educate
Chair, Heller Board of Advisors

Constance Fairweather Kane, PhD’85Heller holds a special place for Kane, not just for the technical and academic education she received, but because it’s a community of people who are committed to social change and to supporting one another. “You have the strength, leadership, and skills to do whatever you want to do, but don’t try to go it alone. Don’t forget your friends and your network from Heller. And don’t be afraid to ask for help; nine out of ten people will say ‘yes.’”

Christopher Ives, MA SID’11

Heller Alumni Lounge sign

Eco-Friendly Vitruvian Van

Christopher Ives, MA SID’11“Ten years ago, the Heller SID program helped educate me about intersectional systems of sustainability, and I’ve realized more and more, every day, how connected I am to that system—that ecosystem. Ecosystems aren’t just the environment; it’s about how we interact with the environment; how we act with our ‘ecos,’ our home.”

Barbara Nobles Crawford, PhD’84

Heller Alumni Lounge sign

Dir. of Exec. & Leadership Coaching
UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Barbara Nobles Crawford, PhD’84Nobles Crawford serves as a member of Heller's Board of Advisors and moderated a panel with Dr. Eddie Moore, creator of the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge©. “Just as I feel proud to have been part of movements to improve policies, best practices, and laws that ameliorate injustices for underrepresented, and brown and Black people, I’m proud to be a part of helping teach equity, diversity, and inclusion to my fellow Brandeisians.”

Emilia Dunham, MBA/MPP’15

Heller Alumni Lounge sign

Manager of Special Projects
MassHealth Office of Behavioral Health

Emilia Dunham, MBA/MPP'15 in a black suitFrom budget and contract management to meeting with sheriffs and corrections officers, Dunham’s responsibilities at MassHealth are broad. Fortunately, she says, her Heller experience prepared her with the transferable skills and resourcefulness needed to establish and grow a new program. “As an MPP/MBA dual degree student, I had to learn to be adaptable, to pick up a broad skillset that enabled me to take on this project and do whatever was needed for it.”

Join B Connect!

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Make connections with the
new B Connect

B ConnectLooking to renew old Heller connections or make new ones? In the market for a job or an internship? Interested in serving as a mentor to a recent Heller grad or search for career advice from a fellow Heller alum? Connecting with fellow Brandeisians and Heller alumni is easier than ever with the newly relaunched B Connect platform, Brandeis’ hub for alumni networking and mentoring.


Zoom grid of David Weil, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, and Professor Anita Hill

The First 100 Days series

During the spring semester, Heller held a series of panels on the Biden administration's approach to critical social policies:

The Heller School named top 10 graduate school in two public affairs categories

The Heller School is now a top 10 graduate program in both social policy and health policy and management according to the 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings for graduate schools of public affairs. Heller rose to number 9 for health policy and management, joining Heller’s social policy ranking at the same spot.

Leading and advocating for the Massachusetts Asian American community in a time of crisis

During a year of escalating racism and violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, Sam Hyun, MBA/MPP’22, has used his role as chair of the Massachusetts Asian American Commission to bring AAPIs together and push for legislation to better define hate crimes and fight discrimination.

The Heller community’s deep dive into racial equity

During the spring 2021 semester, the Heller School embarked on a school-wide initiative to deepen the community’s understanding of racial equity and racism in the U.S., which included a one-credit pro-seminar for students, and a school-wide and alumni invitation to participate in the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge.

Due to the unique circumstances of the 2020-21 school year and the global pandemic, this edition of Heller Magazine is entirely digital, with no print edition produced.

Heller Magazine is published by the Heller School Office of Communications

David Weil

Constance Fairweather Kane, PhD’85

Nicole Rodriguez, MPP’14


  • Nomi Sofer ’91
  • Alix Hackett
  • Robert Brinkerhoff


  • Bethany Romano, MBA’17
  • Alexandra Rubington
  • Karen Shih


  • Deborah Wieder, art director
  • Jessica Tanny, graphic designer
  • Jess Quirk, production manager


  • Mike Lovett