Current Academy Interns

2019 Interns

Evan Avila, University of Maryland-Baltimore
Placement: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP)

Evan Avila is a Merton C. Bernstein Intern on Social Insurance placed at the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). At the University of Maryland-Baltimore (UMBC), he is a rising senior studying economics and political science. He is passionate about solving the structural disadvantages that marginalized populations face when trying to achieve long-term financial security. Evan won a national research competition, the 2018 iOme Challenge, with policy solutions for gig workers who lack access to qualified retirement plans. He has since been invited to speak on the subject at several policy conferences, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As president and site manager of UMBC’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, Evan deters predatory tax preparers by training students to prepare free income taxes for low-income households in the Baltimore area. He has previously interned at the U.S. Census Bureau and Treasury Department. 

Danielle (Dani) Benedict, University of Washington
Placement: ADvancing States

Danielle (Dani) Benedict is a recent graduate from the University of Washington, where she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work with a concentration in children, youth, and families and disability justice. Dani is interested in supporting people with disabilities in all aspects of life, including education, employment, and community inclusion. In her master’s program, Dani led a qualitative Community-Based Participatory Approach using Photovoice as a tool for students receiving special education services to take pictures for sharing their favorite parts of their school experience, then target that to local policy makers to better inform legislation around special education. As an Eileen Sweeney Graduate Intern in Disability Policy placed at the National Association of States United for Aging and Disability (NASUAD), Dani is looking forward to using her experiences to advocate for policies to promote equity for the disability community.

Mayana Bonapart, Columbia University
Placement: Social Security Advisory Board

Mayana Bonapart is a Somers Aging & Long-Term Care Research Intern. She completed a master of science in social work from Columbia University, with a minor in law. She published an Honors Thesis on “bilingual/Spanish yoga activism” and conducted ongoing research related to this topic at Columbia University. She worked as a medical care coordinator with ArchCare at Home, an agency sponsored by the Health Home Program, which inspired her to pursue public health. She worked as the social work intern at the Women’s Health Program of Community Catalyst, which serves as a coordinating member of the Raising Women’s Voices (RWV) initiative. Mayana will be placed at the Social Security Advisory Board (SSAB), working under the direction of Diane Brandt and Claire Green, on two projects; research on the disability determination process of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the potential impact closing SSA field offices would have on vulnerable populations.

Josh Clancy, University of Minnesota
Placement: AcademyHealth

Josh Clancy is a master of public health candidate at the University of Minnesota where he studies public health administration and policy. Josh has worked at the Minnesota Department of Health, where he regulated HMO companies for compliance with state and federal mental health parity and network adequacy laws. Josh also serves as a member of the University’s Health Equity Workgroup and as the president of the Professional Student Government. Some of his interests include the translation of health research into practice, evaluating new healthcare payment and delivery models, and leveraging treatment of the upstream causes of disease to improve patient care. As a Merton C. Bernstein Intern on Social Insurance, Josh will work with AcademyHealth under the direction of Michael Gluck, vice president and co-director of the organization’s Translation and Dissemination Institute on a project to redesign the health services research process in an effort to enhance its relevance, quality, timeliness and impact.

Claire Erickson, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Placement: Long Term Quality Alliance (LTQA)

Claire Erickson is a dual-degree student in the Neuroscience and Public Policy program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, she is working on her master of public affairs and PhD in neuroscience. She conducts research at the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center focusing on preclinical Alzheimer's to determine how to best identify people most at risk for developing the disease. Claire is also interested in long-term care and aging policies and how science can best support policies to ensure that seniors have access to affordable quality care. As a Somers Aging and Long-Term Care Research Intern, Claire was placed with the Long Term Quality Alliance (LTQA) to work on projects surrounding Medicare and Medicaid as they pertain to senior housing and care options.

Cal Ernst, Georgetown University
Placement: Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC)

Cal Ernst is a rising junior at Georgetown University, where he is studying healthcare management and policy. As the treasurer and manager of business relations for the university’s Emergency Medical Service, Cal is exploring the role of health care organizations in community health. His previous research experience focused on the effectiveness of the Michigan Medicaid community health-worker mandate and on the quality improvement strategies of hospital networks. As a Merton C. Bernstein Intern on Social Insurance, Cal was placed with the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC). There, he will contribute to several projects looking at countercyclical federal Medicaid match rates, state provider tax policies, and hospital payment reform.

Roz Murray, Georgetown University
Placement: National Academy of Social Insurance and the Urban Institute

Roz Murray is a student at Georgetown University where she is pursuing her master’s degree in public policy. She has a bachelor of arts in human biology from Stanford University. Roz has worked for Catalyst for Payment Reform, a non-profit organization with the mission to help employers, state Medicaid agencies, and state employee and retiree agencies get better value for their health care dollar. Her research there centered on health care payment and delivery reform. Roz has also served as the research assistant to Dr. Robert Berenson, an expert in Medicare payment policy. As a Rashi Fein Intern on Health Policy, Roz will work jointly for the National Academy of Social Insurance and the Urban Institute, focusing on a Medicare eligibility study panel.

Tyler Welch, Temple University
Placement: Congressional Research Service

Tyler Welch is a rising senior at Temple University. He studies risk management and insurance with an economics minor and a concentration in employee benefits. Tyler is currently an undergraduate teaching assistant for two courses in the Fox School of Business and a research assistant in the Department of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management. Currently, Tyler and his co-authors have a working paper that examines the impact of medical school tuition changes on doctor specialization and the nationwide shortage of primary care physicians. As a Merton C. Bernstein Intern on Social Insurance, Tyler will work with the income security division of the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The placement was a great fit for advancing his goal of working at the intersection of social security and public policy.