In a recently published piece for Michigan Alumnus, the magazine of the University of Michigan Alumni Association, 20 Michigan graduates are recognized as Detroit “Movers and Shakers,” including four Ford School grads.
Lisa Nuszkowski (MPP ’03) was recognized for founding the city’s first bike-share program, MoGo (link is external), which is designed to be as accessible as possible, offering reduced rates for those receiving state benefits as well as cash payments. As the piece notes, Nuszkowski aims for the program to help people think about their transportation choices. “Instead of driving alone to work, perhaps you could take the bus into the city,” she says, “and use a bike for the last mile or to get to meetings throughout the day.”
Mark Wallace (MPP ’04), president and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy (link is external), is recognized for his work in making Detroit’s international riverfront a destination for both native Detroiters and visitors to the city. “Projects like the Detroit RiverWalk taught (the city) what we can do when we push back against a scarcity mentality and work together,” Wallace says. It’s “a tangible reminder that we live in cities because life is more interesting when people from different backgrounds gather together in the same space.”
Also recognized was Elizabeth (Betsy) Palazzola (MPP ’12), who serves as general manager of green projects for Detroit’s Housing and Revitalization Department, focusing on improving resiliency and green infrastructure. A former David Bohnett Leadership and Public Service Fellow and a graduate of the Ford School’s Science, Technology, and Public Policy certificate program, she also helped to design the city’s first Office of Sustainability.
State Representative Stephanie Chang (MPP/MSW ’14), the first Asian American woman to be elected to the Michigan Legislature, is currently serving her second term. Another David Bohnett Leadership and Public Service Fellow, Chang is fighting for equity both statewide and in Detroit. Examples of her work include a bill she introduced to provide re-entry services for wrongfully imprisoned Michiganders and a neighborhood services counseling center that helps residents stave off tax foreclosures and hosts baby showers for low-income mothers. She hopes that this model will “instill greater confidence in government for those who feel government isn’t working for them.”