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Alumni Feature - Matt Shafer

November 15 Thursday 03:48 PM

Here at the Martin School, we are lucky to have some fantastic alumni. From recent graduates to our more seasoned alumni, we love to celebrate our graduate's success. We are excited to continue that celebration by examining how the Martin School prepared recent 2018 grad Matt Schaffer for his new career with The Council of State Governments (CSG).  

Where is it you currently work?

I am a Senior Policy Analyst in CSG’s Center of Innovation. The Center of Innovation houses all of CSG’s grant-funded projects. I started at CSG as a graduate fellow in January of 2017 and was fortunate enough to get hired full-time when a grant-funded position in the center opened up. A lot of what I do is carry out the deliverables outlined in the proposed grant workplan. This varies from project to project but generally includes things like writing reports, convening meetings, and providing technical assistance to states.  

The grant I am currently employed under is from the U.S Department of Labor and is tasked with helping states examine their occupational licensing practices. The goal of this three-year project is to identify licensing criteria to ensure that existing and new licensing requirements are not overly broad, burdensome or restrictive, and that they do not create unnecessary barriers to labor market entry, and improve the portability and reciprocity provisions for selected occupations across state lines.

What is your favorite project you have been a part of at CSG?
Beyond the Occupational Licensing project, I have enjoyed getting to work with our partners at the Office of Disability Employment (ODEP) on workforce development for people with disabilities. While most express a desire, ability and willingness to work, many adults and youth with disabilities experience significant barriers to employment. We have been working with states to help them best meet the needs of their citizens with disabilities.

How do you feel the Martin School prepared you for your new position?
The Martin School prepared me to think critically and be a good writer. So much of what I do is contingent on an ability to write clearly and succinctly. Learning how to write policy briefs, and short memos were very valuable. A critical component of my job at CSG is taking complex issues and condensing them into bullet points or a one-page description. When working with state officials such as legislators or staff in executive offices, many times they don’t have the ability to read a 10-page report about an issue. I need to be able to communicate problems and solutions in a succinct way so that it is easily digestible. I believe I initially learned that skill at the Martin School.  

What was your favorite class at the Martin School?
The class I learned the most in was Public Econ taught by Dr. Agrawal. I’m not sure that I would say it was my absolute favorite because it was very challenging. We learned about different public programs like social security, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance and studied what problem they are trying to solve and how each affects the economy in a supply-demand model. Despite the difficulty, I think that was the most valuable class I took at the Martin School.

Alumni & Friends Reception

October 29 Monday 12:55 PM

Please join us for the Martin School 2018 Alumni and Friends Reception, November 16, 2018.  Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will be available beginning at 6:00 pm and the program will start at 7:00 pm.

The program will feature this year’s award recipients for the Kentucky Public Service Hall of Fame and the Distinguished AlumniWe ask that all RSVPs be in by Friday, November 9th. 


If you have questions, please email Tabatha Christianson, Operations Manager of the Martin School at tabatha.christianson@uky,edu.

The Wendell H. Ford Lecture Series

October 23 Tuesday 03:40 PM

On October 16th, we welcomed former Senator Bill Bradley to campus to deliver the annual Wendell H. Ford Lecture. The Senator focused his remarks on the intersection of sports and public policy. Senator Bradley discussed the values that policymakers, and the general population, can learn from sports.

Senator Bradley was joined by panelists Bruce K. Johnson, Professor in Economics at Centre College, and Tom Leach, the Voice of the Kentucky Wildcats. The discussion was moderated by KET Public Affairs Producer and Host Renee Shaw.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, also known as the Bradley Act. This bill served to halt the spread of sports gambling throughout the United States. Just five months after the Supreme Court's decision, half a dozen states have legalized sports gambling and almost a dozen more are considering adopting the practice.

In light of this growing trend, the panel received a variety of questions about the efficacy of sports gambling. Highlights included discussion of the impacts of sports gambling policy on state revenues, NCAA athletes, and game fixing.

It was wonderful to have such a lively conversation about a rapidly evolving policy area. The Martin School extends its thanks to all those who attended, asked questions, and helped to continue the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Lecture Series tradition of excellence. An additional thanks goes out to everyone who helped make this event a success, especially Tabatha Christianson, the Martin School’s own Operations Manager without whom the event would not have been possible.


Senator Bill Bradley at the Martin School

October 8 Monday 12:35 PM


We are incredibly excited to announce that on October 16th, 2018 the Martin School will be hosting Senator, and former NBA Champion, Bill Bradley. Senator Bradley is giving a lecture entitled "Sports, Politics, and Public Policy: What happens when they intersect?" as part of the Wendell H. Ford lecture series. The lecture will be from 3:30pm-5:00pm at the Worsham Cinema in the Gatton Student Center. 

Senator Bradley attended Princeton University where he graduated magna cum laude in 1965. While at Princeton, Bradley earned a gold medal as part of the 1964 Olympic basketball team and was named NCAA player of the year in 1965. After graduating, Bradley was drafted by the NBA where he played for the New York Nicks. In his third season he led the Knicks to their first NBA championship. In 1983, Bradley was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

After retiring from his impressive professional sports career at the age of 34, Bradley ran for a United States Senate seat. He was elected and served the state of New Jersey as a Senator from 1979-1997. During his time in the Senate, Bradley focused on complex policy reform initiatives. As a notable example, Bradley was a co-sponsor of Tax Reform Act of 1986 which simplified the income tax code, broadened the tax based, and worked to eliminate many tax shelters.

In 2000, Senator Bradley ran in the presidential primaries where he ultimately overtaken by Al Gore as the party favorite and consequentially retired from politics. Currently, Bradly is managing director of Allen & Company LLC and sits on the board of several prominent private and nonprofit organizations. Senator Bradley has written a several books on American politics and culture and hosts a weekly radio show entitled American Voices. 

Please join us at this year’s Wendell H. Ford Lecture on October 16, 2018 at 3:30PM in the Worsham Cinema to hear from Senator Bill Bradley and a panel of local professionals.

Martin School Alum Follows Her Passion for Neighborhood Revitalization to Harvard

August 20 Monday 03:41 PM

Jeana Dunlap (MPA ’06) was recently selected to be a Harvard Loeb Fellow. We are thrilled to hear of her accomplishments! We caught up with her to discuss her passion for public service as she embarks on this new chapter. Currently, Jeana is the Director of Redevelopment Strategies for Louisville Metro, the consolidated metropolitan government for Kentucky’s largest city. “I focused on cross-functional coordination between agencies within Louisville Metro Government and collaboration with private for-profit and community-based organizations to ensure visible, tangible results at the neighborhood level,” she says.

She’s a pioneer in this role—the office was created in 2016 when the city was awarded a $29.5 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Implementation Grant to redevelop the Beecher Terrace public housing complex, which historically has faced many challenges. “Overall, the plan involves leveraging public dollars into more than $200 million of mixed-income, mixed-use development at the site through the public housing authority. My specific charge from Mayor Greg Fischer was to facilitate an additional $400 million of investment throughout the greater Russell neighborhood which includes Beecher Terrace.”

Dunlap’s been rewarded for her hard work through seeing tangible results. Although her work focuses on improving quality of life through the built environment, she also is an educator. “The work is challenging, primarily due to pervasive misperceptions about disinvested communities and the people that live there,” she notes, citing “the history of redlining practices” as an example, referring to discriminatory lending practices used by banks in the past to deny minorities access to financial instruments, such as mortgages, based on where they lived.

Neighborhood revitalization is a long-standing passion for Jeana. After she finished her degree at the Martin School, she joined Louisville Metro’s Department of Housing & Community Development. Describing this time, she says, “To my delight, this role including managing the Louisville-Jefferson County Landbank Authority, the Urban Renewal Commission and the Vacant Property Review Commission. I received a crash course in public real-estate policy.  I grew to understand the impact of real-estate market failures and appreciate the potential for using public policy as a tool for neighborhood revitalization. I’ve been hooked ever since!”

The Loeb Fellowship has been awarded by the Harvard Graduate School of Design since the 1960’s. As Dunlap explains, “Each cohort is selected based on their accomplishments and their potential to make the world a better place through the built environment.” In her 2019 cohort, Jeana will be joining eight other mid-career professionals from around the world in an immersive, self-directed learning environment—they will study at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, live together, and travel together. “I expect to use this time to reflect on my career and create a blueprint for the future. I’m most excited about connecting with world-renown researchers and innovators in the areas of social mobility, digital inclusion and equitable economic development,” she says.

Our MPA program provided a foundation for the exciting work she has done and will continue to do in the public sector. “I would not be where I am today without the Martin School. My studies in public policy help me think more critically about how social outcomes are interconnected with policy decisions.” Current students, take note! If Jeana were to go back in time to give herself advice, she would focus more on public finance — “While it is important to design programs that function efficiently, at the end of the day, it is our ability to finance great programs and projects that stands between the status quo and better quality of life. Ultimately, my research agenda going forward will focus on finding new ways to finance community inspired design.”

Even in her spare time, Jeana stays busy—"I love music and traveling around the region to catch concerts while taking in the local scene. I also crochet and cast zodiac charts for newborn babies. Other than that, I take time to practice ‘bourbonism’ in all its forms.” Spoken like a true Kentuckian!