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Michigan State University’s Class of 2018 Michigan Political Leadership Program Fellows have been announced.

The 24 men and women from across Michigan begin their studies this February.

As MPLP Fellows, they’ll be traveling to communities across Michigan, touring established and up-and-coming businesses, visiting nonprofit organizations and learning what makes successful leaders and winning political campaigns.

Among the 2018 MPLP Fellows are legislative directors, township trustees, attorneys, a minister, a teacher, library director, firefighter and captain in the Detroit Police Department.

“Our MPLP Fellows are diverse, committed to civil discourse and preparing themselves to lead from the grassroots to the highest levels of elected and appointed office,” said political scientist Matt Grossmann, director of MSU’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.

The Institute, known as IPPSR on campus and internationally, is MPLP’s home at MSU. IPPSR is a hub of policy, leadership training and survey research within MSU’s College of Social Science.

With the MPLP Class of 2018, GOP political leader Susy Avery steps into her first year as one of MPLP’s two co-directors. “This is sure to be an exciting year,” she says. “In these times, MPLP’s mission to create a learning environment centered around policy and civil conversations on a bipartisan basis is more critical than ever.”

Avery has extensive personal leadership experience as former head of Michigan’s Republican Party, executive director of the Michigan Women’s Commission and Director of Public Affairs for former governor and current MSU Interim President John Engler.

She’s served in numerous leadership roles from county, local and regional positions to cable television program host.

“We know that MPLP Fellows, and our more than 600 alumni, succeed,” said MPLP’s Democratic Co-Director Steve Tobocman, a former House Majority Floor Leader, the second highest position in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Recent research shows that MPLP training not only encourages its alumni to run, but it also helps them to win. “MPLP is committed to empowering practical politics, civil discourse and effective governance,” Tobocman said.

He puts three terms in the Michigan House of Representatives and statewide advocacy experience to work for MPLP. He’s managing partner at New Solutions Group, LLC and CoDirector of the Michigan Foreclosure Task Force.

More than half of MPLP’s alumni are currently serving or have served in elected or appointed posts.

As the Class of 2018 begins its weekend learning sessions, MPLP is planning to host its 23rd Annual Fundraising Dinner on Thursday, March 8 in Livonia and 16th Annual Fundraising Breakfast on Friday, March 9 in Grand Rapids. 

Each event acts as a festive homecoming for MPLP alumni and each features nationally known leaders in a quick-paced, give-and-take that raises essential MPLP funding. MPLP fellowships cost an estimated $12,000.

This year’s speakers are former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Both men were candidates for president in 2016 and campaigned through Michigan. More information about the events and tickets for seats, tables and sponsorships are available here. Reserve your tickets, table or sponsorship at these exciting events.

MPLP’s Class of 2018 includes:

  • Josey Ballenger, of Traverse City, a senior analyst with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. 
  • Megan Blue, of Plymouth, is Legislative Director for State Rep. Patrick Green.
  • Adam Bonarek, of Redford, is a trustee for the Charter Township of Redford and a partner with the Coeus Creative Group, a marketing and training development company.
  • Michael Brady, of Detroit, is general counsel to the Detroit Land Bank Authority.
  • Daniel Brightwell, of Southfield, is president of the Southfield City Council.
  • Gary Carey, of Walker, is a City Commissioner in Walker and a regional sales director for Paycor.
  • The Rev. Dale Dalman, of Rockford, is minister of Evangelical Convenant Church and a member of the West Side Collaborative, a grassroots coalition of churches, schools and nonprofits.
  • Dave DeLind, of Farmington, is the marketing program manager for DTE Energy Corporation.
  • Travis Fahley, of Yale, is operations manager for his family farm and a board member of the Capac Community School Board.
  • Savannah Fratrick, of Goodrich, is an associate with Dunaskiss Consulting and an advisory board member of the Children’s Trust Fund.
  • Patricia Garber, of Lansing, is legislative aide for State Rep. Julie Calley and a member of the Women’s Junior League.
  • Cassidy Giltner, of East Lansing, is legislative assistant for state Sen. Jim Marleau and volunteers for Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue, City Rescue Mission and Habitat for Humanity.
  • Caleb Hortop, of Midland, is regional director for strategic partnerships at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and a precinct delegate for Gladwin County.
  • Beata Kica, of Lansing, is constituent relations representative in the offices of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
  • Emily Kieliszewski, of East Lansing, is a member engagement specialist with the Michigan Municipal League.
  • Jenell Mansfield, of Detroit, is director of academics at S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center.
  • Chris Matus, of Detroit, is regional director for U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and president of the New Center Commons Homeowners Association.
  • Kymberly Pashkowsky, of Rockford, is a Algoma Township firefighter and trauma anesthesia tech at Spectrum Health.
  • Kelsey Perdue, of Grand Rapids, is assistant campus director at Grand Circus Grand Rapids and vice president of Health Homes Coalition of West Michigan’s Board of Directors.
  • Allan Sherwood, of Battle Creek, is a teacher in the Marshall Public Schools and president of the Toastmasters Club.
  • Amanda Thomas, of Wyandotte, is vice president of customer support for the Girls Scouts of Southeastern Michigan and a board member for Arts and Scraps.
  • Aric Tosqui, of Southfield, is a captain in the Detroit Police Department and president of the Detroit Police Command Officers Association.
  • Tamara Warren, of Lansing, is a Budget/Policy Analyst for the State Budget Office and a commissioner on the Lansing Housing Commission.
  • Lance Werner, of Rockford, is executive director of the Kent County District Library.

Besides MPLP, IPPSR includes the State of the State Survey, the State of the State Podcast, the Office for Survey Research, a Public Policy Forum Series, specialized leadership programs and centralized resources for faculty and researchers around the world.