MPLP's class of 2015 set to graduate

Posted: 2:33 PM, Feb 12, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-12 14:33:52-05

A communications specialist, youth academy director and director of government relations for the Small Business Association of Michigan are among the 24 graduates of the 2015 Michigan Political Leadership Program.

The Michigan State University program selects 24 rising leaders each year for 10 months of study, including hands-on experiences, debate and leadership exercises. MPLP Fellows travel to Michigan’s Capitol and around the state to meet with government, corporate, tribal and nonprofit leaders.

“Our 2015 graduating class is rich in diversity, professional experiences and community engagement,” said Anne Mervenne, co-director of program.

Since 1992, some 600 people, from all professions and all corners of the state, have gone through MPLP training.

“Our leadership curriculum introduces MPLP Fellows to best practices in policy analysis, social media, campaign advertising and finance as well as to the leading practitioners in Michigan,” said program co-director Steve Tobocman.

This year, 11 graduates are serving in the state Legislature. Seven are serving together in the state House of Representatives and four serve in the state Senate -- a new record for MPLP graduates seated at the same time in the Senate.

This year’s MPLP graduates are:

  • Jordan Acker, Huntington Woods, attorney and director of business development for Goodman Acker.
  • Donovan Asmar, Washington Township, attorney with Bodman, PLC.
  • Erin Byrnes, Dearborn, program director for America Reads, University of Michigan.
  • Jeff Connell, DeWitt, director of the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy (Michigan National Guard).
  • Charity Dean, Detroit, sales/programs manager for the Detroit Land Bank Authority.
  • Ben Greene, Grand Rapids, legislative director for state Rep. Chris Afendoulis.
  • Ashley Ligon, Almont, government relations consultant for Clark Hill, PLC.
  • Michael Marzano, Jackson, director of government relations for the Small Business Association of Michigan.
  • Jeffery Matis, Rochester, Oakland circuit judge.
  • LaToya McBean, Royal Oak, deputy director of Wayne County's Department of Corporation Counsel.
  • Regina Miller, Van Buren Township, trustee for Van Buren Township.
  • Megan Nolan, Rochester, state and federal coordinator for the Oakland County sheriff.
  • Dave Nyberg, Skandia, associate legal counsel director, northern Michigan Office, executive office of Gov. Rick Snyder.
  • Jennifer Oram, Orchard Lake, sales representative for 5 Star Outdoor and city councilperson for Orchard Lake.
  • Sylvia Santana, Detroit, candidate for State Representative, 9th District.
  • Kirstie Sieloff, East Lansing, legislative director for Rep. Al Pscholka.
  • Jake Smith, Battle Creek, business analyst for Southwest Michigan Behavioral Health.
  • Andy Steenstra, Grandville, sales development team lead at Service Express Inc. and Grandville councilperson.
  • Samantha Troutman, Lansing, communications specialist for the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan.
  • Edgar Vann, III, Detroit, district director of government relations at Wayne County Community College District.
  • Adrienne Wallace, Grand Rapids, director for 834 Design & Marketing and visiting professor, Grand Valley State University.
  • Maria Willett, Rochester Hills, chief assistant to the mayor of Rochester Hills.
  • Matt Williams, Ann Arbor, compliance analyst for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
  • Sherman Williams II, Pontiac, Pontiac School Board Trustee.