Monday, April 30, 2012

Valerius to begin position with U.S. Department of Education

Matthew Valerius (MPP '10) was recently awarded a 2012 Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF), the U.S. government's primary leadership training program aimed at recent graduate students. As a presidential management fellow, Valerius obtained a position in the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE).

"It will be a privilege to have the opportunity to work on these critical initiatives at the federal level, and I am excited to begin in OVAE this July," says Valerius.

OVAE is responsible for administering and coordinating federal programs related to adult education and literacy, career and technical education, and community colleges. He will be working primarily on OVAE community college initiatives designed to: a) build public support for community colleges and program reforms across the country, b) provide actionable guidance on community college education for teachers, administrators, students and employers, and c) promote strategies to support students in the completion of their degrees and certificate programs. Much of his work in OVAE will also be focused on the priorities outlined in the Obama Administration's recent proposal to reauthorize and transform the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act in order to improve the quality of career and technical education (CTE) programs around the country and better align classroom teaching and learning at community colleges with ongoing industry needs.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Peterson accepts position with the Wilder Foundation

Mandy (Olson) Peterson (MPP '08) accepted a position in February 2012 with the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in Saint Paul MN as a Research Assistant with their data collection unit.

Miles moves up at Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Charles Miles (MPP '09) was promoted to Business Systems Analyst at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota in February, 2012.

Lee begins position with University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute

PLee.jpgPatricia Lee (MPP 2009)accepted the position of Research Analyst for the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute in February 2012. The Institute provides government, business, and nonprofit organizations with effective solutions in the areas of research, organizational development, training and technical assistance. Lee's current work supports the evaluation of high school dropout prevention and career and college readiness initiatives of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. For more information, visit:

Gallivan begins work with Maggio + Kattar

In March, Sean Gallivan (MPP '08) was named Immigration Paralegal with the Washintong D.C. firm Maggio + Kattar. This firm has represented newcomers and their families, in all facets of immigration law, for more than three decades.

Bales joins Veterans Affiars in Austin

Thomas Bales (MPA '10) recently left the City of Minneapolis in the Community Planning and Economic Development department and accepted the position of Senior GIS/Engineer/Analyst at Veterans Affairs (VA) in Austin, Texas. He is currently working on a project using ArcGIS that will allow the executive leadership to make quick decisions during a crisis by being able to view data in real time through the web.
Bales writes, "I am so saddened by the fact that I am no longer in the geography community. I would dearly like to, someday, rejoin this community ... [and] I hope that I may be able to do this in the future ... I would not have been able to do what I do in my current position if it was not for the hybrid Public Affairs/Geography courses that I was allowed to take."

VerHage accepts position with North Park University

In March, Peter VerHage (MS-STEP '04) joined North Park University in the Chicago area as a System Architect.

Sitaramiah joins Greater MSP

Gita.jpg Gita Sitaramiah (MPA '00) is Director of Communications at Greater MSP. She joined the organization in January. In this role, she drives execution of all communications. Sitaramiah has 20 years of experience as a journalist, most recently on the business desk of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She also has reported for the Kansas City Star and other regional newspapers. Sitaramiah earned a bachelor's degree in English at the University of Minnesota.

Nolan accepts position with US Bank

John Nolan (MPP '02) was recently accepted the position of Relationship Manager at US Bank in Minneapolis. Prior to this position, Nolan was a Business Loan Committee Member of the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers.

Jarzynka joins Olivia's Place in Shanghai

In March, Dana (Ingman) Jarzynka (MA '97) began working with Olivia's Place in Shanghai, China. Olivia's Place offers therapy services (speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy) to children from birth to 12 years of age. Some have special needs and some are typical children whose development is just slow or obstructed in one area, such as speech (e.g. late to talk or doesn't speak clearly), fine motor skills (has difficulty with handwriting or with manipulating small objects), or gross motor skills (uncoordinated, has difficulty playing sports). The specialists use individualized exercises and training to help all of these children maximize their abilities. For more information at

Lopez Franzen gets DFL party endorsement

Melisa Lopez Franzen headshot.jpgOn March 24th, Melissa Lopez Franzen (MPP '03) secured the DFL party endorsement at the Senate District 49 Convention; Senate District 49 includes Edina, West Bloomington and parts of Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. Franzen's focus once elected will be on education, jobs, and clean energy. Franzen is an attorney with Target Corporation. For more information on Franzen's campaign please visit

Classen recognized by Nonprofit Quarterly's readers

Julia Classen's (MPA '01) article "Here We Go Again: The Cyclical Nature of Board Behavior" was chosen as one of Nonprofit Quarterly's top ten reader favorites of 2011. Featured in the spring 2011 issue, Classen's article includes her insights on how board behavior has changed in the last twenty years.