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Michigan State University’s Michigan Political Leadership Program has named a diverse group of business, nonprofit and legislative professionals as members of its Class of 2019.

The 24 MPLP Fellows start their 10-months of weekend training in late February and continue through to November focusing on leadership skills, practical policy, campaign finance, ethics, constitutional practices and media relations.

“We are excited about another excellent class,” said Arnold Weinfeld, interim director of MSU’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. IPPSR is MPLP’s home within MSU’s College of Social Science and specializes in connecting public policy education to leadership training and survey research.

“This class has experience and expertise that comes regional healthcare to sales, event planning, state agencies, communications, labor relations and corporate services,” said Weinfeld.

This spring, they’ll join MPLP alumni, families and sponsors to celebrate the program’s 24th Annual Fundraising Dinner in Novi on March 7 and 17th Annual Fundraising Breakfast in Grand Rapids on March 8.

The events feature political analysts and commentators with unique presidential campaign experiences: Democrat Patti Solis Doyle and Republican Alex Castellanos.

Event tickets, tables and sponsorships are available at

The two events raise essential funds for the program that, since inception in 1992, has graduated more than 600 people. Research indicates that MPLP Alumni are more likely to run for office, and more likely to win public office.

“Our alumni are increasingly successful in achieving leadership positions in elected office, appointed posts and new over the years, in executive levels of nonprofit and for profit organizations,” said MPLP Co-Director Steve Tobocman.

In this past November’s election, MPLP alumni won six Michigan Senate seats, 11 state House posts, two seats on governing boards of the state’s research universities, three judgeships and at least a dozen local races, he noted.

Tobocman, former Michigan House Majority Floor Leader, served in the chamber for three consecutive terms, the maximum allowed under Michigan law.

See a full list of MPLP alumni and their contributions to public service.

MPLP applicants continue to demonstrate dedication to public service, said Co-Director Susy Avery, former chair of the Michigan Republican Party. Her own public service ranges from Michigan Women’s Commission executive director, to state director of Travel and Tourism to Wayne County Commissioner.

“Our selection process is highly competitive, involving a written application and personal interviews,” she said. “Our choices continue to be tough.”

MPLP’s Class of 2019 Fellows are:

  • Jennifer Attie, of Petoskey, nurse practitioner, Health Department of Northwest Michigan.
  • Kate Brady-Medley, of Dearborn, Detroit program director, Starfish Family Services.
  • Dillon Breen, of Livonia, chairman, 11th Congressional District Republican Committee.
  • Brandon Brice, of Detroit, executive, Boy Scouts of America.
  • Amanda Burgess-Proctor, of Royal Oak, associate professor of criminal justice, Oakland University.
  • George Etheridge, of Detroit, policy analyst, city of Detroit.
  • Kim Gaedeke, of Plymouth, deputy director, Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
  • Jacob Hilliker, of Bay City, communications and negotiations, Michigan Laborers’ District Council.
  • Natalie Holland, of Farmington Hills, Opioid Care Liaison, Michigan Public Health Institute.
  • Michael Hovinga, of Holland, sales and business development, Executive Design & Engineering in Hudsonville.
  • SonJalita Hulbert, of Okemos, master’s in management professional, Aetna, Inc.
  • Dexter Mason, of Detroit, regional director events and programming, Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE).
  • Allisyn Mattice-Eskau, of Watervliet, policy advisor, Michigan House Republican Policy Office.
  • Christopher McClain, of Detroit, at Citizen Detroit, a political nonprofit.
  • Nick Najor, of Bloomfield Township, pursuing Master of Public Policy degree, Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan.
  • Judy Neal, of Redford, founder and executive director of nonprofit Empowered Voices.
  • Michele Oberholtzer, of Hamtramck, founder, nonprofit The Tricycle Collective.
  • Seydi Sarr, of Detroit, founder and executive director of nonprofit ABISA.
  • Alexandra Scully, of Royal Oak, government affairs coordinator, Magna International in Troy.
  • Brandon Sinclair, of Rockford, West Michigan Constituent Relations Representative, former Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.
  • Cynthia Thornton, of Detroit, civil rights activist.
  • Jacob Walker, of Detroit, manager, Center of Excellence, DTE Energy.
  • Isaiah Wunsch, of Traverse City, CEO, Wunsch Farms in Traverse City.
  • Tony Zammit, of Howell, deputy communications director, Michigan Republican Party.