BOSTON, MA (SEPTEMBER 6, 2023) – Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation (MTF) today announced the launch of its new Policy Start Fellowship, created to expand the pipeline of graduates from underrepresented communities with opportunities in the public and private sectors. Developed in partnership with the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (ACIU Mass) and supported by member MTF companies, Leedya Senbetta has been named MTF’s inaugural fellow.
This new initiative supports fellows as they start their careers in public policy and finance by offering a practical understanding of policymaking in the Commonwealth; providing exposure to a variety of career paths related to public policy; and helping to expand fellows’ professional networks.
“A critical component of this program is to prepare fellows for a career in public policy or a related field, and we are thrilled to welcome Leedya to the team,” said Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Doug Howgate. “Her dedication to promoting equitable policy solutions and her commitment to supporting underserved communities, paired with real-world exposure to policymaking through the fellowship, will be invaluable not only to Leedya but to our organization and our members as well.”
A key component of the Fellowship will be a mentoring and networking program that will connect fellows with MTF members, partners, and leaders in higher ed. Appointed annually, in order to be eligible, fellows must have an undergraduate or graduate degree from an AICU Mass member institution; education experience in public policy and an interest in pursuing a career related to public policy. Supporters of the program include AICU Mass, AT&T, Baystate Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA, Comcast, Fidelity Investments, Mass General Brigham, and Ted Ladd.
Senbetta is a recent graduate from Boston University's School of Public Health, where she earned a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Law following a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, which she earned from Michigan State University. “I am grateful to be selected as the inaugural Policy Start Fellow by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation,” said Senbetta. “I look forward to working alongside MTF to advance high-quality research and non-partisan analysis in service of strengthening the state's finances and economy to foster the long-term wellbeing of the Commonwealth.”
The Fellowship will provide significant benefits to MTF by strengthening research capacity and supporting its diversity goals. Additionally, the Fellowship will provide benefits to participating institutions, MTF members, and the broader public policy community by expanding diversity in the talent pipeline for public finance, government affairs, and research professionals.
Fellowship partner testimonials:
Rob McCarron, AICU Mass CEO: “This exciting new Fellowship aligns very closely with AICU Mass and our 59 member colleges and universities and our work around Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. We are really pleased to have this opportunity to work with Doug and his team to establish the Fellowship and expose young, diverse professionals to the inner workings of public policy and professional mentoring opportunities.”
Michael Caljouw, Vice President for Government and Regulatory Affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts: “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is proud to partner with MTF on the Policy Start Fellowship. Massachusetts public policy is better for the diversity of voices we can bring to the conversation.”
Kristin Christopher, Vice President of Government Affairs for Comcast in Massachusetts: “Comcast is proud to support MTF’s Policy Start Fellowship as we believe programs that offer leadership development and mentoring opportunities are incredibly beneficial to our communities,” said Kristin Christopher, Vice President of Government Affairs for Comcast in Massachusetts.
John Emra, President – AT&T Atlantic Region: “Progress is best fueled by a diverse and creative array of ideas, which is why AT&T is honored to support MTF’s Policy Start Fellowship. By expanding the pipeline of difference-makers and talented policy minds, this program helps further steer the Commonwealth towards a future of innovation, equity and growth. We look forward to seeing Leedya Senbetta and future MTF fellows become the next generation of leaders in Massachusetts.”
Ted Ladd, MTF Executive Committee Member: “The MTF Policy Start Fellowship provides a quadruple whammy of benefits: engaging potential new leaders in public policy, expanding MTF’s commitment to diversity, opening new avenues for our members to participate with MTF, and expanding the research capacity of the Foundation.”
Laura Peabody, Mass General Brigham Chief Legal Officer: “Mass General Brigham is proud to support workforce development programs like the Policy Start Fellowship that serve as invaluable professional opportunities for the fellows that will participate. By opening doors for future workers in underrepresented communities and expanding the talent pipeline, we can help ensure that diverse voices and experiences are reflected in public policy and research, and that our laws and regulations may achieve greater equity for all.”