Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, June 2, 2011

News from alumni and friends

Grads gather in D.C.

A few alumni from the classes of 2009 and 2010 got together at a Mediterranean restaurant in Washington, D.C.'s Chinatown. Maggie Carden was in town from Madison for a work conference. Left to right in the front row areAlison Patz, Lilly Shieldsand Allie Bagnall. In the back are Lindsay Read, Maggie Carden, Jeramia Cibulka and Kao Phetchareun. Justin King was at the dinner but didn't make it in time for the picture.


In spite of being "retired" as a city manager and Denver department head, John Hall has been recruited by the City of Denver to serve on an advisory committee for the renovation and improvement of the city's Buffalo Bill Museum. He holds a 1958 bachelor's degree in public policy and administration from the University of Wisconsin. The museum is located on Lookout Mountain and features Buffalo Bill's grave.


Jeff Appelquist, 1986, has published his second book, Wisdom Is Not Enough: Reflections on Leadership & Teams. The book is an outgrowth of his business Blue Knight History Seminars, LLC, a company that offers leadership and team development training centered on visits to great American battlefields.

John Norquist, 1988, is putting the final touches on Congress for the New Urbanism's 19th gathering. This year's event will be in Madison June 1-4 and will focus on linkages that urban communities have with local food production, the food economy and the infrastructure that has developed around this symbiosis. The former mayor of Milwaukee, Norquist is chief executive officer of the Chicago-based Congress for the New Urbanism.

Jan O'Neill

1986 alum Jan O'Neill co-founded QLD in 1998 with Anne Conzemius. The Madison-based national educational consulting firm specializing in public school improvement was featured in the Wall Street Journal in March. The article focused on the power of student goal setting. O'Neill and Conzemius wrote three books, Building Shared Responsibility for Student Learning, The Handbook for SMART School Teams, and The Power of SMART Goals. They developed one of QLD's classic and longest selling products, "Making Meaning Through Measurement." In her role as co-founder of QLD, O'Neill develops communications, is involved in client development and serves as secretary on QLD's board of directors. In the field she is a keynote speaker and a lead consultant for long-term clients.


Raul Leon

Raul Leon heads to Eastern Michigan University this summer to start a tenure-track position as an assistant professor in higher education and student affairs. After completing his Master of International Public Affairs degree in 2007 he went on to earn a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis in 2010. He is spending the 2010-11 academic year as an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Southern Mississippi.

As the special events coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, Emily Plagman, 2010, organized and hosted its annual Bill of Rights Celebration in March. The keynote speaker, Aasif Mandvi from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, gave an entertaining and on-point speech about the importance of protecting civil liberties and rights to a crowd of more than 300 people.

2009 alumni marry

Maggie Carden and Kevin Luecke were married on October 2, 2010. The ceremony was held in the conservatory at Olbrich Gardens in Madison. Since graduating in 2009, they have been living and working in Madison. Luecke is the lead planner at the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, and Carden is an AmeriCorps program officer with the Wisconsin National and Community Service Board. When not working they can be found bicycling around Madison and southern Wisconsin.

Nina Carlson is working full time at the Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence as the senior policy analyst and federal liaison. She and her husband, Deven Carlson, are expecting their first baby — a girl — in July. Both earned Master of Public Affairs degrees in 2007. Deven is pursuing his doctorate in political science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Brian Quinn, 2010, is an executive policy and budget analyst in the Wisconsin Department of Administration's Budget Office. His assigned areas include the Department of Revenue, shared revenue, property tax relief, property tax exemptions, individual and corporate income taxes, state lottery, tribal gaming, excise taxes, and economic research.

Jessica Berger Gross, 2000, has been writing the twice weekly Enlightened Motherhood blog for Her writing has also appeared in The Globe and Mail, and on Salon and Babble.

Daniel Bellefleur, 2010, is working in Jakarta, Indonesia, with the American Chamber of Commerce in Jakarta. "My position is quite dynamic," he reports. "My primary responsibility is to build a working relationship with APINDO (an Indonesian labor and policy organization) and KADIN (an Indonesian chamber of commerce) to conduct joint policy analysis to improve the business environment in Indonesia." He is working with chamber's young professionals to set up outreach, social and professional events. In addition to assisting chamber committees with position papers and meetings, he is trying to get the chamber involved with new Global Entrepreneurs Partnership in Indonesia.

2006 graduates Karyn (Kriz) and Rob Dall'Asta had twins in July 2010, a girl and a boy. "Their names are Abigail and Alexander, and they are great," Dall'Asta reports. The family lives in Chicago, where he practices law. Karyn and Rob met and started dating during student orientation in 2004.

After serving in the Peace Corps in Peru, Paul Stanchfield, 2006, is off to Nicaragua to start in June as program director of Bridges to Community, a non-governmental organization that employs about 50 people to oversee about 1,000 volunteers on service-learning trips. Bridges to Community activities include building houses, refurbishing schools and building latrines. The agency also distributes small business loans and maintains educational scholarships.

This article originally appeared in the spring 2011 La Follette Notes.