The Policy Innovation Lab's alumni move on to positions in government, non-profits, foundations, and private sector organizations. Their experiences in the Policy Innovation Lab motivate them to continue serving their communities and striving to contribute new ideas and solutions.
Kristina Rodriguez, MPP 2017
Kristina Rodriguez was the Co-Director of the McCourt Policy Innovation Lab and a 2nd year Master of Public Policy student. In her role as Co-Director, Kristina oversees 22 Policy Innovators and McCourt graduate students, and leads the Lab’s efforts to develop innovative policy solutions to DC’s most pressing issues.
Kristina came to the McCourt School from the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago where she worked in research and program evaluation. She has prior experience in research and community organizing with other nonprofit organizations, including New America, After School Matters and AmeriCorps. During her undergraduate studies, she worked as a research assistant on human-computer interaction projects, focused on using design thinking to improve technologies.
Kristina is focusing her graduate studies on policy issues surrounding education and community development, as well as local politics. She also serves on the Editorial Board of the Georgetown Public Policy Review. Kristina received a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University.
Shiri Yadlin, MPP 2017
Shiri is a second year MPP student at McCourt and in her second year of work with the Policy Innovation Lab. Shiri led the Housing Team for the lab last year and will be focusing on community engagement efforts this year. Prior to starting at McCourt, Shiri worked in a direct service position at Pathways to Housing DC, a local non-profit that uses the Housing First model to combat homelessness in adults struggling with substance abuse and severe mental illness. Her policy interests include homelessness, affordable housing, community development, and urban inequality.
Janani Shankaran, MPP 2017
Prior to McCourt, Janani worked at an urban planning non-profit in NYC. Her recent work included developing a monitoring program to measure the success of a regional water resource policy, and a revitalization plan for Newark, NJ in association with a subway line extension. A New Jersey native, Janani graduated from Rutgers University and (hopelessly) roots for Scarlet Knights football. Her current policy interests include energy, climate change and tax/fiscal policy.
Caitlin Phillips, MPP 2017
Caitlin was a second year MPP candidate at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. She's interested in equitable community development, preserving the affordable housing stock, and expanding economic opportunity for low-income families, particularly in the Washington, DC area. Caitlin also holds a BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys eating (cooking and trying new restaurants!), backpacking, and volunteering.
America Avalos, MPP 2017
America was a second year MPP student at the McCourt School of Public Policy and currently a Policy and Advocacy Intern at Mercy Corps. Last summer she worked in Bogota, Colombia at the Fundacion para la Reconciliacion researching the Political Economy of Hate and implemented programs, such as the Pedagogy of Care and the Schools of Forgiveness and Reconciliation, with victims and offenders of the Colombian conflict. America is a team member of “Peace Cluster,” which was awarded Top Finals in the National Public Policy Challenge obtaining a grant to implement the project. Before coming to Georgetown, she worked with the public, nonprofit and private organizations to develop policies to break the cycle of violence in Culiacan and Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, which are deeply affected by drug trafficking.
Meriem Tikue, Lab Member 2016-2017
Meriem was a second year MA student in the Policy Management Program, McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. She has a wide array of experience in the field of finance and administration at non-profit and for profit organizations including higher education, manufacturing and intergovernmental organizations. She previously worked in the area of international development aimed at achieving Millennium Development Goals in Ethiopia. Her research interests lay at the intersection of policies on human capital investment and economic development to promote inclusive and sustainable growth. She holds a BA in Business Management from the University of Asmara, Eritrea.
Jacob Rykken, Lab Member 2016-2017
Jake was a full-time Master of Policy Management student at the McCourt School of Public Policy. He joined the Lab to support community and non-profit leaders as they confront policy challenges in D.C. Wards 7 and 8. An Army Officer and Wisconsin native, he enjoys studying leadership across contexts, design thinking, and strategy in public policy.
Joseph Schartz, Lab Member 2016-2017
Joseph is a native of Humboldt, South Dakota, where his family continues to farm to this day. He graduated from South Dakota State University in May 2016 and worked as a producer at Argus Leader Media before enrolling in the McCourt School of Public Policy. Appointed to the South Dakota Board of Regents by Governor Dennis Daugaard in June 2013, Joseph spent three years working in higher education governance, prioritizing affordability, economic development, and placement. Working as part of a team that governs South Dakota's six public universities and two special schools required building relationships with legislators, community members, faculty and students, and instilled in Joseph a desire to continue serving the public good by advancing education opportunities.
Kayla Auletto, MPP '16
Kayla Auletto is the Program Coordinator for the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service. She previously served as Co-Director of the McCourt Policy Innovation Lab.
Kayla came to the McCourt School from Northwestern University, where she worked in major gift fundraising and alumni relations. She has prior experience in policy advocacy and research for nonprofit organizations, including the Council on Foundations, Environmental Working Group, and World Food Program USA. During her undergraduate studies, she interned in the Michigan State Legislature and volunteered for the 2008 Obama campaign.
Kayla focused her graduate studies on policy issues surrounding philanthropy and social innovation, as well as local and national politics. Kayla received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from the University of Michigan.
Kate Mereand, Lab Member 2015-2016
Kate currently serves as the manager for Tech & Innovation at the DC Department of Small & Local Business Development. In this role she principally works to build the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. This includes convening stakeholders around key topics for inclusive entrepreneurship holding over 60 public roundtables in 2017, develops pilot programs like Aspire to Entrepreneurship supporting reentering citizen business owners and the DC Youth Corps bringing technology and business training to DC youth, designed and operates the Build A Dream workshop, provides one-on-one technical assistance for any DC aspiring or existing businesses, creates strategic partnerships locally and nationally, and oversees research projects on topics like day care, coworking, and food trucks related to the small business ecosystem.
She holds a Bachelors of English and a J.D.from the George Washington University, and has completed coursework towards a Masters in Public Policy at the Georgetown McCourt School. Her legal training focused on antitrust and consumer protection, and her major writings revolve around understanding competition policy and overcoming barriers to entry into market places.
Raisa Johnson, MPP 2017
Dan Willett, Lab Member 2016-2017
Hanna Schurman, Lab Member 2015-2016
Anthony Gill, Lab Member 2016-2017
Claire Sun, MPP 2017
Matt Emeterio, MPP '16
Chandarprabha Sharma, MPP '16
Kathryn Zickuhr, MPP '16
Jessica Clarke, MPP '16