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Cuyahoga County Public Policy Fellowship Program, Class of 2011

Public Policy Fellowship Class of 2011

Eight college students were selected to participate in Cuyahoga County’s inaugural Public Policy Fellowship program for the summer of 2011.  A short biography of each is listed below.

  Michael King grew up in Cleveland Heights. After graduating from Hawken School in 2004 he earned a degree in political science from the University of Rochester. King recently completed his second year of law school at Washington University in St. Louis and is particularly interested in constitutional law, civil rights, digital rights, and information privacy law. King spent the past summer with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in Cleveland. He said he feels privileged to have the opportunity to serve as part of the newly restructured County government, and intends to watch as many Indians games as his working hours permit. 

“Awesome program that provides a wide range of opportunities without cuddling us.  The law department gave me a lot of autonomy, which was great.  Gaining experience drafting legislation and advisory memos.  Getting to meet with judges/lawyers from other offices.” Michael King – Law Department
   
  Dani Lachina will serve as public policy fellow for the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, where she will work with senior legislative staff and County Council members on a variety of public social policy issues.

Lachina is currently a graduate student at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, where she focuses much of her social work practice on policy and advocacy for women’s health issues as well as clinical practice in the healthcare setting. Lachina holds a Bachelors of Arts in Creative Writing and Art History from Ithaca College.

Lachina, who recently made a career change from an arts administrator in the nonprofit sector, hopes to bring fresh and innovative insights to the complex challenges facing Cuyahoga County, including on public health programming and ex-offender reentry issues. A Cleveland native, Lachina lives in Cleveland Heights.
   

Caitlin Mann, a Rocky River native and a graduate of Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, is an upcoming junior at Boston College. She studying English in the pre-law concentration and participates in the college’s Honors Program. She is also a competitive Irish dancer and has competed in the world championships 10 times in her career in addition to many other national and international competitions. While in high school, she was named an Intel Science Talent Search Finalist for her project involving micro-sensors mentored by Dr. C.C. Liu at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Engineering. Her abstract from the project was published by the Ohio Academy of Science and the American Junior Academy of Science. An active member of the Cleveland community, she was a part of the Look Up to Cleveland Class of 2008 and the Chair of the City Club of Cleveland’s Youth Forum from 2008-2009. Now, in addition to competitive dancing and schoolwork, Mann is a member of the Boston College Irish Dance team, a writer for a national online publication called Her Campus, a member of the Boston College Honors Program Student Executive Board. Mann volunteers in her free time and also enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with friends and family.

“I absolutely loved being a part of the fellowship program. I learned so much about government, policy etc.  I had a very active role in research and was able to give my input into several projects.”   Caitlin Mann – Communications/New Media
   
Terrance R. Richardson is currently a full time student at Case Western Reserve’s Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations, where she is pursuing an executive master of nonprofit organizations. She already holds a master of arts in sociology from Cleveland State University, and a bachelor of arts in education from Ursuline College. Richardson previously worked for the City of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University. She currently volunteers with the Center for Families and Children.

“Writing…Research…full autonomy to make decisions and implement necessary changes”.  Terrance Richardson – Public Works
   
Trevor Rutti earned a master of urban planning, design, and development from Cleveland State University in 2011, where he worked as a teaching assistant. He specialized in real estate development and geographic information systems. Rutti served as the membership and fundraising chair for his university’s chapter of the American Planning Association. He received his undergraduate degree in print journalism from Penn State University. Rutti currently lives in downtown Cleveland’s historic Warehouse District. In his free time he likes to write fiction and read historical non-fiction.

“Fantastic, great exposure to high level work and decision-making, awesome environment, energetic staff. I was given enough direction to start down the path, but enough discretion to find the answer.”   Trevor Rutti – Regional Collaboration

 

   
Scott Singer is a third-year law student at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. A native of Shaker Heights, Singer attended University School in Hunting Valley. Scott attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C. where he majored in political science with a minor in history. After college, Singer was a legal assistant at the New York office of the corporate law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP where he worked in the Litigation and Mass Torts & Insurance departments.

“The program was incredibly substantive.  On top of interesting projects, the county staff’s excitement in including fellows in meetings and projects made the program, informative and productive for us all.”   Scott Singer – County Council
   
Peter Zahirsky is currently enrolled in a law and public administration dual-degree program at Cleveland State University. He is pursuing a concentration in business law for a juris doctor, and a concentration in city management with a certificate in urban real estate development and finance for a master of public administration. Zahirsky completed his undergraduate studies at Ohio University, where he received a bachelor of arts degree in history. In the past, he has worked for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, the City of Shaker Heights Law Department, and the law firm of Berkman, Gordon, Murray & DeVan. He also served as a volunteer to the Cuyahoga County Transition Advisory Group’s Economic Development Workgroup. Zahirsky said he is looking forward expanding his work experience while working for the benefit of the citizens of Cuyahoga County.

“I found the fellowship to be an excellent experience.  I learned a great deal not only about economic development, but also the functions of county government and the way local government works in general.  This was definitely a worthwhile experience.”  Peter Zahirsky – Economic Development
   
 

Lori Sommerfelt of Cleveland is a graduate student at American University in Washington, D.C. pursuing a Master’s degree in Sociology, which she will receive in August, 2012. She works part-time as a Research Assistant at the university’s Center on Health, Risk, and Society. A graduate of Magnificat High School, she has studied in Prague and interned in U.S. Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich's Capitol Hill office. After completing her studies, Lori hopes to return to the Cleveland area to seek employment in the public policy sector.