Distinguished Fellows

Senior Staff

Administrative Staff

Senior Research Associates

Senior Research Fellows

 Graduate Research Assistants

  • Victoria Melendez

Distinguished Fellows

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

To reach Governor Dukakis, please contact his student assistant

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Senior Staff

Ted Landsmark Heather Seligman
Distinguished Professor; Director, Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy

Ted Landsmark is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities at Northeastern University. He holds a Ph.D. in American and New England Studies from Boston University, and professional degrees in Law, and Environmental Design from Yale University.

As Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s first appointment to the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s Board of Directors, he has brought to the board a wealth of expertise in architecture, urban design, civic leadership, architectural and construction law, and community advocacy. During his seventeen-year tenure as President and CEO of the Boston Architectural College, Dr. Landsmark led the growth of the school from a center into an internationally recognized, multi-disciplinary institution. In August 2014, he was named President Emeritus of the College.  Landsmark has served as Academic Vice President of the American College of the Building Arts in Charleston, South Carolina, and as a faculty member and administrator at the Massachusetts College of Art, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and UMass Boston. He has also served as a Trustee or board member for many non-profit organizations, including: the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, American Architectural Foundation, the Design Futures Council, The Boston Society of Architects, Historic New England, and Historic Boston. He was also President of the National Architectural Accrediting Board, and the Association of the Collegiate School of Architects.

His research and practice interests include diversity in design, environmental design, design education, higher education administration, community-based economic development, historic preservation, and African American art and artisanry.

Phone: (617) 373-6017 | Email:

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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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eldaElda Ceribashi
Budget and Grant Administrator 

Elda Ceribashi works as Budget and Grant Administrator in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. She oversees sponsored research administration for the School and the Dukakis Center, general financial operations, and student employment.

Elda’s main areas of expertise include grants management, pre- and post-award. She has more than 15 years of experience in finance, auditing and research administration in both academic and non-profit sectors. Elda obtained her MBA degree from the University of Tirana and University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In addition to English, she is fluent in Albanian and German.


Phone: (617) 373-2729 | 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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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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Senior Research Fellows

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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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widmerMichael Widmer

Michael J. Widmer has had a distinguished career in government, politics, and public policy. From 1992 until his retirement last February, he served as president of the widely respected and influential Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, the state’s premier independent public policy organization. Under his leadership the foundation won 16 prestigious national awards for its work on a range of issues, including financing the MBTA and reforming the state’s transportation agencies. Mr. Widmer earned his BA cum laude from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and his PhD in government from Harvard University.

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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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