Distinguished Fellows

Senior Staff

Administrative Staff

  • Elda Ceribashi
Senior Research Associates

Senior Research Fellows

Research Associates

Graduate Research Assistants

  • Lauren Costello
  • Amanda Ek
  • Brian Young

Distinguished Fellows

Katharine (Kitty) Dukakis | Michael S. Dukakis
Full Biographies

To reach Governor Dukakis, please contact his student assistant
Cory O’Hayer at or (617) 373-4396.

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Senior Staff

Barry BluestoneBarry Bluestone
Founding Director, Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy
Russell B. and Andrée B. Stearns Trustee Professor of Political Economy

Barry Bluestone is the founding Director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, and the founding Dean of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.  Before assuming these posts, Bluestone spent twelve years at the University of Massachusetts at Boston as the Frank L. Boyden Professor of Political Economy and as a Senior Fellow at the University’s John W. McCormack Institute of Public Affairs. He was the Founding Director of UMass Boston’s Ph.D. Program in Public Policy. Before coming to UMass in the Fall of 1986, he taught economics at Boston College for fifteen years and was Director of the University’s Social Welfare Research Institute. Professor Bluestone was raised in Detroit, Michigan and attended the University of Michigan, where he received his B.A., M.A. and finally his Ph.D. in economics in 1974.

At the Dukakis Center, Bluestone has led research projects on housing, local economic development, state and local public finance, and the manufacturing sector in Massachusetts. At the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, he has co-chaired the Open Classroom series, a graduate seminar on critical social issues open free to the public each semester. He was also part of the team that developed the school’s Master’s Program in Urban and Regional Policy (MURP).

As a political economist, Bluestone has written widely in the areas of income distribution, business and industrial policy, labor-management relations, higher education finance, and urban and regional economic development. He contributes regularly to academic, as well as popular journals, and is the author of eleven books. In 1982, he published The Deindustrialization of America (co-authored with the late Bennett Harrison) which analyzed the restructuring of American industry and its economic and social impact on workers and communities. A sequel published in 1988, The Great U-Turn: Corporate Restructuring and the Polarizing of America, also co-authored with Harrison, investigated how economic policies have contributed to growing inequality. In earlier books, Bluestone investigated the low-wage labor market, the aircraft industry, and the revolution in the retail trade sector. In 1992, Negotiating the Future: A Labor Perspective on American Business was published. Co-authored with his father, Irving Bluestone, the book traces the history of labor-management relations since World War II and offers the concept of the “Enterprise Compact” as an approach to industrial relations which can boost productivity, improve product quality and innovation, and enhance employment security. Korean, Spanish, and Japanese editions of this book have been published.

In 2000, Bluestone published two new books. The first of these, co-authored again with Harrison and titled Growing Prosperity: The Battle for Growth with Equity in the 21st Century, investigates the prospects for faster economic growth in the U.S. It was published by Houghton Mifflin and the Twentieth Century Fund. The second, The Boston Renaissance: Race, Space, and Economic Change in an American Metropolis, co-authored with Mary Huff Stevenson and published by the Russell Sage Foundation, was the culmination of nearly five years of research on the new Boston economy. It recounts the industrial and demographic revolution in post-World War II Boston and its impact on racial and ethnic attitudes, residential segregation, and the labor market success of whites, blacks, and Latinos.

Bluestone’s latest book, co-authored with Mary Huff Stevenson and Russell Williams, is a major textbook titled The Urban Experience: Economics, Society, and Public Policy. This work, rich in theory and applied policy, was written for an interdisciplinary audience and can be used at either the undergraduate or graduate level.

As part of his work, Bluestone spends a considerable amount of time consulting with trade unions, industry groups, and various federal and state government agencies. He was Executive Adviser to the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Mature Industries in Massachusetts and has worked with the economic development departments of various states. He has testified before Congressional committees and lectures regularly before university, labor, community, and business groups.  He appears frequently on local and national radio.  Bluestone is also a founding member of the Economic Policy Institute, along with Robert Reich, Lester Thurow, Robert Kuttner, Ray Marshall, and Jeff Faux. In 2006, he served on the transition team for Governor Deval Patrick.

He currently serves as a member of the advisory council to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development as well as the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance.  He served on the Governor’s Economic Development Strategy Council and is now an executive board member of the Governor’s Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative.  From 2007-2010, he served as a member of the Community Affairs Research Advisory Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.   He is a past board member of the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (WHAT) and a board member of the Lyric Stage of Boston.

In his spare time, when he was younger, he competed in team triathlons as a bicycle racer — fortunately with a team otherwise comprised of orthopedic surgeons and an internist. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife Mary Ellen Colten. Their son Joshua teaches English and Spanish in the Chicago Public School system.

Full Biography | Phone: (617) 373-7870 |

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Heather SeligmanHeather Seligman Trayner
Associate Director of Administration and Finance

Heather Seligman Trayner began her tenure at the Dukakis Center in the fall of 2000. As our Associate Director of Administration and Finance, she is currently fiscally responsible for all grant, university supported, and gift funds, totaling over $5 million annually. Additionally, she is in charge of the SPPUA and Dukakis Center operations, responsible for human resources, project management, and payroll systems. She works closely with Barry Bluestone on strategic planning and development for the Center. She also assists with marketing, communication, and development initiatives.

Trayner also serves as the Dukakis Center budget manager. She has an MBA from Northeastern and is currently embarking on a certification in Human Resources.

Trayner enjoys spending her free time with husband John, daughter Scarlett, and golden retriever Vienna.

Phone: (617) 373-3645 | Email:

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Senior Research Associates

Alan Clayton MatthewsAlan Clayton-Matthews

Alan Clayton-Matthews is Associate Professor and Director of Quantitative Methods in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs.

Clayton-Matthews is co-editor of Massachusetts Benchmarks, a joint publication of the University of Massachusetts and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston that presents timely information and analysis about the performance of the Massachusetts economy. He is also a Director of the New England Economic Project, a group of economists and managers from academia, business, and government who study and forecast the New England economy.

Prior to joining the faculty of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Clayton-Matthews was an associate professor at UMass Boston. Even while there he had an affiliation with the Dukakis Center, where he spent his 2007 sabbatical leave. At the Center, he was the chief designer of the Labor Market Assessment Tool (LMAT) and has served as a consultant on a number of projects including Staying Power: The Future of Manufacturing in Massachusetts.

Previously, Clayton-Matthews has worked as an economist and policy analyst for the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, the Social Welfare Research Institute at Boston College, and DRI/McGraw-Hill. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Boston College.

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Lori Gardinier

Lori Gardinier, is the director of Northeastern University’s Human Services Program and the founder and director of the Campus Center on Violence Against Women (now VISION). She holds a master’s degree in social work from Boston University and a PhD from Northeastern University. She has practiced in the area of antipoverty/social justice work in community-based settings and as a counselor in organizations addressing intimate partner violence. In her role at Northeastern she is a leader in experiential education practice in both local and global settings. She has developed partnerships with many of Boston’s nonprofit organizations through her own practice and her continued implementation of service-learning partnerships. Dr. Gardinier has also established project-based service-learning capacity building programs with nonprofits in Benin, Costa Rica, India and Mexico. In this role she and her students collaborate with local leaders to identify creative solutions to organizational challenges. Her research spans social movement studies, sexual violence, and best practices in experiential education.

Phone: (617) 373-5918 |

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Catherine Tumber

Catherine Tumber

Catherine Tumber is a Senior Research Associate and Executive Director of the Dukakis Center’s EDSAT program.

Tumber earned PhD and MA degrees in U.S. History from the University of Rochester, and a BA in Social Thought and Political Economy from UMass Amherst. She is the author of Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promise of America’s Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World (MIT Press, 2012), and writes about sustainable urban planning, design, and economic development for both scholarly and media publications.

Phone: (617) 373-7868 |

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Emily Mann

Emily Mann is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Human Services Program, and a Senior Research Associate with the Dukakis Center. She received a BA in Sociology from the State University of New York at Geneseo, a Masters of Science in Social Work (MSSW), and a PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied the effects of early intervention on delinquency prevention in the Chicago Longitudinal Study. Dr. Mann spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP) at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and was also a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Mann’s teaching focuses on child and adolescent development, social research methods, social policy, and prevention science. Her current research highlights the impacts of educational and clinical interventions on youth development, and includes several community-based program evaluations.

Phone: (617) 373-2798 | 

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Daniel T. O’Brien

Dan O’Brien joined the Northeastern faculty in 2014 from Harvard University where he was the research director for the Boston Area Research Initiative. In this role he led and coordinated a range of interdisciplinary projects that bring together local researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in the study of Boston. His research uses large, administrative data sets (i.e., “Big Data”) in conjunction with traditional methodologies to explore the behavioral and social dynamics of urban neighborhoods, particularly surrounding “broken windows theory.” Much of his current work builds on a recent paper, “Ecometrics in the Age of Big Data,” (co-authored with Robert J. Sampson and Christopher Winship) that presents a methodology for measuring neighborhood characteristics in the digital age.

Phone: (617) 373-8900 | 

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Research Associates

Liz Williams
Research Associate

Liz Williams is an urban policy researcher with ten years’ experience in the field. A doctoral candidate in sociology, Liz has been at the Dukakis Center since 2011. Her work includes evaluations and analysis of state and local policies that impact metropolitan and urban populations, specifically education, fiscal policy, housing and economic development, and most recently public transportation. Williams’ dissertation focuses on the distribution of public transit service and accessibility to social, civic, and economic opportunities among transit-dependent populations. This mixed-methods project draws on qualitative, quantitative, and spatial-analytic techniques.

Prior to joining the Dukakis Center, Williams’ worked with Good Jobs First; the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute; the George Washington University Institute for Public Policy; and the American Institutes for Research. She received her B.A. from Clark University in Worcester, MA and her M.A. from George Washington University in Washington, DC.


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Senior Research Fellows

Joan Fitzgerald

Joan Fitzgerald focuses on urban climate governance and the connections between urban sustainability and economic development and innovation. Her third book, Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development (Oxford Univ. Press), examines how cities are creating economic development opportunities in several green sectors and discusses the state and national policy needed to support these efforts.  She is currently working on her next book, Greenovation, which examines how cities advance green technologies.  She teaches “Cities, Sustainability and Climate Change” and “Urban Revitalization.”

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Richard O’Bryant

Richard O’Bryant is Director of the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute at Northeastern and a Senior Research Fellow with the Dukakis Center. O’Bryant helps coordinate activities with the Stony Brook Initiative and has developed a number of research proposals on the role of information technology on democratic process.

O’Bryant’s teaching responsibilities include “Science, Technology and Public Policy”, “Urban Policies and Politics, Current Issues in Cities,” and “Suburbs and Economic Institutions and Analysis.” O’Bryant is also co-director of the Political Science Experiential Education internship program. His recent publications include Low-Income Communities: Technological Strategies for Nurturing Community, Empowerment and Self-Sufficiency at a Low-Income Housing Development, a monograph published in 2005 in the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s National Forum on Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Higher Education for the Public Good, and a review of Media Access: Social and Psychological Dimensions of a New Technology Use, published in February 2005 in the New Media and Society Journal. His current research interests are information technology and civic, social, and political participation.

Professor O’Bryant served as co-principal investigator of the Camfield Estates/MIT Project, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which included making wireless connectivity available to residents of Camfield Estates, located in Roxbury, Massachusetts. His professional experience also includes serving as a senior software engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation (now HP-Compaq), a research associate at the William Monroe Trotter Institute, and former Director of the John D. O’Bryant Community Youth Center.

Born and raised in Boston, O’Bryant received his doctorate in 2004 in Urban and Regional Studies from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. O’Bryant also has a bachelor’s degree in computer systems engineering from Howard University.

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Alicia Sasser Modestino
Associate Director, Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy

Dr. Alicia Sasser Modestino is an associate professor with appointments in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and the Department of Economics. Previously, Modestino was a Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston where she lead numerous research projects on regional economic and policy issues for the New England Public Policy Center. In that role, she frequently advised policymakers and business leaders and testified on key pieces of legislation related to labor market policies. Her work has appeared in journals such as Regional Science and Urban Economics, Journal of Human Resources, and Health Affairs and has been presented at the annual meetings of the American Economic Association.

Her current research focuses on labor market dynamics including skills mismatch, youth labor market attachment, migration, and the impact of health care reform on employers. She is currently a co-principal investigator on Russell Sage Foundation Project #85-14-05, “Upskilling During the Great Recession: Do Employers Demand Greater Skill When Workers Are Plentiful?”

Modestino holds both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, where she also served as a doctoral fellow in the Inequality and Social Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government.

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Russ Eckel

Eckel’s adult life has been an unfolding process of discovery and social activism.  For nearly forty years he has engaged the world as a social and business entrepreneur working on issues of social justice and equity.  And he doesn’t plan on stopping now.

He is currently the Chair of GreenPeabody, a regional organization working to promote renewable energy resources, energy efficiency, and sustainability on the north shore. He is also a freelance consultant and researcher and an entrepreneur working to create a new consulting practice working on municipal sustainability issues. In 1975 Russ founded the Arlington Food Coop and went on to become a member of the board of directors of the New England Food Coop Organization and a co-founder of the New England Food Coop Network.

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Don Walsh

Don Walsh was the Director of Community Relations and Economic Development for NSTAR, the region’s electricity and gas distributor, since its formation in 1999 until 2005, and served as the Director of Economic Development for Boston Edison since 1991. He was responsible for the relationships between NSTAR and the 108 cities and towns comprising the company’s service territory. As a result, he has a variety of real-world experiences built around the role of energy and energy delivery in municipalities. He has a strong background in economic development, particularly urban economic development, housing, and energy.

At the Center, Don was co-director of the research project that culminated in “Staying Power: The Future of Manufacturing in Massachusetts” and serves as co-chair of the Staying Power Task Force.

In addition to active participation in key private sector efforts to strengthen the Massachusetts economy, he was the founder of the Mass Alliance for Economic Development (MAED), which has become the primary source of real estate information for businesses considering a Massachusetts location. He was also the Founding President of Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation, one of the city’s premier Community Development Corporations (CDCs); he is DBEDC’s current president.

A graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, Walsh has a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Northeastern University and an MBA from Harvard University.

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portraitEleanor G. White

Eleanor White has worked as an executive in the field of affordable housing since 1967, including as Co-CEO of MassHousing and at the U.S. Department of HUD. Housing Partners, Inc. is a national affordable housing consulting firm serving a wide range of clients on topics relating to affordable housing development, diversity, and smart growth. She holds an A.B. from Harvard College, an MPA from Northeastern University, and was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University. She has served on numerous boards of directors, and has received numerous honors and awards. A resident of Newton, MA, she lived in Oslo, Norway from 2009-2013 during her husband’s service as U.S. Ambassador. Married since 1967 to Barry B. White, they have three sons and two granddaughters.

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Peter G. Furth

Peter G. Furth is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from MIT in 1977 and 1980, and received his Ph.D. in Transportation Systems from MIT in 1981. His areas of expertise are Traffic Signal Control, Transit Signal Priority, Transit Operations Modeling, Transit Data Collection and Sampling, and Bicycle Network Evaluation and Planning.


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Research Associate

image001James Huessy
Research Assistant
History, Class of 2015

James Huessy is a full-time research associate at the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy.  As an undergraduate, he became acquainted with key faculty members and researchers and provided analysis and data input on numerous projects such as the 2012 Manufacturing Report Card and three Housing Report Cards.  His past experiences range from working as a home auditor for the State of Washington at the Colville, WA branch of Rural Resources Community Outreach—a year-long position that he filled while working for Americorps—to living abroad in Germany.  He graduated from Northeastern University in 2015 with honors in history, and minors in economics and international affairs.

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