Heather Seligman Trayner

Associate Director, Administration and Finance
School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
and the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy

Heather 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 $2.5 million annually. Additionally, she is in charge of the Dukakis Center operations, responsible for human resources, project management, and payroll systems. She works closely with the Barry Bluestone on strategic planning and development for the Center. She also assists with marketing, communication, and development initiatives.

Heather also serves as the budget manager for the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. Similar to her role for the Dukakis Center, she functions in the same capacity, managing operations and projects for the School. In May 2008, Heather completed her Masters in Business Administration. During the course of her academic experience, she discovered her interests lie in entrepreneurship, management, and planning.

Heather currently lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband, John, and golden retriever, Vienna.


Phone: (617) 373-3645 | Email:

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Laurie Dopkins

Director of Academic Programs
School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Senior Research Associate, Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy

Laurie Dopkins provides management and coordination for academic programs within the Policy School, particularly the new Master’s in Urban and Regional Policy. She also serves as a Senior Associate in the Dukakis Center, leading projects related to non-profit capacity building, outcomes measurement and evaluation. Laurie is conducting a university-wide inventory of all community-partnerships and programs on behalf of the Stony Brook Initiative.

Immediately prior to moving to Boston in 2008, Laurie was Associate Research Professor at George Mason University where she taught evaluation research methods and led community-based action research projects involving collaborations between nonprofit organizations, government agencies, businesses, private foundations, and multiple units within the university.

Before joining the faculty at Mason, Dopkins had her own consulting firm in Atlanta where she worked with public sector agencies, foundations, and nongovernmental organizations on policy research and program evaluation in a wide range of areas including children and youth, community and economic development, maternal and child health, education, and immigration. Dopkins has broad experience in the management, analysis and evaluation of policies and programs, including the development of accountability and outcomes monitoring systems. She has specialized in developing collaborative evaluation techniques that enhance evaluation capacity and utilization among diverse stakeholder groups, including policymakers and program managers, service providers and clients, community leaders and advocates.

Dopkins has published dozens of evaluation and research reports for foundations, government organizations, nonprofit agencies, and community groups. Her specific areas of interest in the field of evaluation are social indicators, organizational learning, program theory and logic models, evaluation capacity building, evidence based policy and practice, and the translation of knowledge to action. Dopkins received her Ph.D in Sociology from Rutgers University in 1984. She lives in Brookline with her husband, Steve Vallas, and has two grown daughters, Rebecca and Kaitlin.

Phone: (617) 373-2889 | Email:

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Lori Gardinier

Director, Human Services Program
Associate Academic Specialist

Lori Gardinier, MSW, PhD, is the Director of Human Services at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts where she was also the founder and director of the Campus Center on Violence Against Women (now VISION) with funding from the Department of Justice: Office of Violence Against Women. 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.  Her outstanding commitment to high quality experiential education was recognized with the Northeastern Presidential Aspiration Award (2004) and the Excellence in Teaching Award (2011).  She has developed partnerships will 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 practice in experiential education.

Phone: (617) 373-5918 | Email:

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Stephanie Pollack

Associate Director of Research, Dukakis Center
Professor of Practice, School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs

Stephanie Pollack is Associate Director of the Kitty & Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, overseeing the Center’s research agenda as well as conducting her own research projects in the areas of transportation policy, transit-oriented development, sustainability and equitable development. Pollack is also on the core faculty for the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, teaching courses to graduate students in the Law and Public Policy program and teaching and supervising internships for the Master of Urban and Regional Policy program. Her courses include Strategizing Public Policy, Introduction to Law and Legal Reasoning, Housing Policy and Transportation Policy.

Pollack is active in public policy issues affecting transportation, sustainable development and the environment in Massachusetts. She co-chaired Governor Deval Patrick’s 2006 transition working group on transportation and served on Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s Climate Action Leadership Committee in 2009-2010. She currently serves on the boards of Boston Society of Architects, Charles River Watershed Association, Health Resources in Action and MoveMass.

Before coming to Northeastern in 2004, Pollack was a senior executive and attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation, New England’s leading environmental advocacy organization. During her two-decade career at CLF, Pollack worked on issues including transportation and transit policy, smart growth and sustainable development and childhood lead poisoning. From 2004 through 2010 she was also a partner in the strategic environmental consulting firm BlueWave Strategies LLC, where she advised clients on smart growth, transit-oriented development and other “green” real estate projects.

Pollack received both a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a BS in Public Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Phone: (617) 373-8341 | Email:

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Rebecca Riccio photoRebecca Riccio

Program Director, Northeastern Students4Giving (NS4G)

Rebecca Riccio is the founding Program Director of Northeastern Students4Giving (NS4G), an academic and practice-oriented program designed to foster leadership and innovation in the nonprofit sector and philanthropy and promote a campus-wide culture of giving through multiple courses, a student club, and partnerships with nonprofit organizations and philanthropists in Boston. In addition to teaching at Northeastern University since 2007, Rebecca has spent twenty years working in the nonprofit sector as a program director, development director, and consultant.

In 2006, she established a consulting practice focused on maximizing the impact and performance of local, national, and international nonprofit organizations and philanthropists in the fields of health and human services, education, human rights, arts and culture, and community development. Rebecca is also a lecturer in social justice philanthropy at the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy at Brandeis University.

Phone: (617) 373-4020| Email:

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Natalia Stone

Program Coordinator, Human Services Program

Natalia has been with the Program for over 10 years and has a deep knowledge of the institution. Before coming to the Human Services Program, Natalia worked in the non-profit sector in an enrichment program for youth. She herself is an alumnus graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology with a minor in History.

This background gives her a special ability to understand student needs and the university. She works with the program on a myriad of tasks including scheduling and outreach, and has a rich knowledge of the Program, curriculum, and the University. Many times she is the students’ first contact and because Natalia has a vast knowledge of the program she is a great resource to students.

Phone: (617) 373-2624 | Email:

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Nancy Tavares

Co-op Faculty Coordinator
Department of Cooperative Education: Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Human Services

Co-op Website

Phone: (617)-373-3379| Email:

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Louis DaRos

Administrative Assistant for Academic Programs

Louis DaRos has extensive experience in academic administration. His areas of specialization include student relations, degree audit and office management. Working closely with Graduate Student Services, he serves as an important resource for current, future and former MPA students as well as faculty and staff. Originally from New Haven, CT, Louis has a B.M. and M.A. from the Steinhardt School at New York University. Prior to coming to Northeastern he served as the Assistant Director of the Woodwind Studies program at NYU. In this capacity he served as an academic advisor for undergraduate students as well as a key point of contact for graduate and prospective students.


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Jordan Jordan Fox-Kemper
MSW, Boston College

J.D., Boston University
Internship Coordinator/Lecturer

Expertise: Counseling, Sexual Violence, Domestic Violence, Women’s Health

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Emily Mann
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin

Associate Academic Specialist

Expertise: Early Intervention and Delinquency Prevention, Early Predictors and Trajectories of Children in Special Education


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