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Alumni in Action 2014

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Helen Chin promoted to Director of Sustainable Environments Programs
December 23, 2014
The Surdna Foundation has appointed Helen Chin, former UEP student, as the Director of the Sustainable Environments program. Ms. Chin has served as a Program Officer at Surdna since 2008. The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures. "I am honored and feel immensely privileged to direct Surdna's Sustainable Environments work," said Helen Chin. "I've been given an exciting opportunity by an organization that has invested in my growth over the past six years. And, with a smart, dedicated team and our many partners, I look forward to accelerating progress toward building a next generation infrastructure that benefits all communities and populations equally." Read more >

UEP Alumni Bridgette Wallace's Skylab Picked by City of Boston for Community-Driven Programs at New Roxbury Innovation Center in Dudley Square
December 22, 2014
On Friday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the Venture Cafe Foundation will operate the Roxbury Innovation Center located in Dudley Square. The center is currently under construction and will soon be completed. The City selected Skylab to provde the community-driven programming. Skylab, co-principaled by UEP Alumni Bridgette Wallace, MPP11, is looking to enable young people and other residents of the community with the skills to compete more effectively for jobs in the 21st century economy. Wallace is optimistic for the new center saying, "We are excited to be given this opportunity to program the innovation space in the Bruce Boiling Municipal building. The SkyLab will be a gateway for community residents, in partnership with advisors and mentors, to explore what it means to become an entrepreneur. They will be able to discover what steps are needed to bring that to fruition, taking a deep dive into what the risks and costs associated with starting a venture are – all to question how we might link urban innovators to the larger innovation community."

UEP Professor James Jennings was also involved in the RFP submission process as a member of the Selection Committee. The new innovation center, located in the Boilling Building, Dudley Square, is expected to open the first quarter of 2015.

UEP Grad Kaitlin Kelly Presents Thesis to NREL
November 9, 2014
Recent UEP graduate Kaitlin Kelly recently hosted a webinar on her Masters Thesis for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Kaitlin presented her thesis "Low-Income Renewable Energy Programs: Case Studies of State Policy in California and Massachusetts" on Monday November 3. Her thesis examines the Single Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) and Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Programs in CA, and the Low Income Solar Thermal Program in Massachusetts.

UEP grad connecting an urban river to its environmental justice neighbors
July 23, 2014
Jonathon Feinberg, a 2014 graduate of the UEP master's program, is working with environmental justice communities and a new citizens' organization to engage low-income, immigrant and minority populations in the protection and restoration of the Malden River, which forms the border of the cities of Everett, Medford and Malden before it joins the Mystic River and flows into nearby Boston Harbor.

Jon is working with the Tri-City Community Action Program (Tri-CAP), an Everett-based anti-poverty program, the Cambridge Health Alliance, the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA), the year-old Friends of the Malden River, and Tufts University’s Water: Systems, Science & Society (WSSS) graduate certificate program, a program in which many UEP students participate. Students involved in the spring 2013 WSSS Practicum project were active in helping to create the Malden Friends.

Jon, whose efforts are directly supported by grants from the Boston Foundation and Constellation Energy, also will assist MyRWA and Tri-CAP in applying a $60,000 EPA Urban Waters Grant awarded on July 17 to public education and outreach to members of underserved communities in Everett, Medford and Malden.

For many decades, the 2.3-mile-long Malden River has been little more than a polluted industrial canal. Today, it’s seen as having the potential to be a priceless recreational resource in a densely-populated urban area — if it is thoughtfully reclaimed and made accessible to all.

As Jon said in a recent Boston Globe interview, "The point is to see what the community wants its relationship with the river to be and to ensure they have a voice in the decision-making process."

As Tri-CAP's Barry Ingber told the Globe: "What we are trying to do now is build a self-sustaining community group around the social justice aspects of cleaning up the Malden River to make sure it becomes a benefit to the community and not a liability. Low-income people often get stuck with all sorts of pollution and environmental hazards, and especially low-income minority people."

New MPP Graduate Tracy Brown (May 2014) starts "Healthy Smart Homes" non-profit
May 20, 2014
New MPP graduate, Tracy Brown has founded "Healthy Smart Homes," a non-profit company seeking to reduce the negative impact of environmental toxins that impact the physical, intellectual abilities of children, especially children of color. Find out more about "Healthy Smart Homes."

UEP Graduate Molly McCullagh's thesis turned into report by Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
May 6, 2014
UEP graduate Molly McCullagh's (May, 2012) thesis has been turned into a report by Johns Hopkins University's Center for a Livable Future. The report is titled "Food Policy for All: Inclusion of Diverse Community Residents on Food Policy Councils". Read the report >