As government returns to business after the holiday season, three David Bohnett Fellows  from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs will be heading to Washington D.C. to attend the premiere forum for mayors and federal leaders to come together and discuss pressing issues impacting our cities and metro areas.
The 81st Winter Meeting of The U.S. Conference of Mayors will convene Jan. 17-19 in the nation’s capital. More than 230 mayors, Washington leaders, CEOs and other public and private sector officials will discuss a range of issues — from energy and transportation to job creation and gun control. Vice President Joe Biden will make a special appearance on the first day of the conference to address the administration’s 2013 agenda.
Three Luskin School students, one from each department, are participating in the conference. Lila Hayatdavoudi (Public Policy), Nahtahna Cabanes (Social Welfare), and Carter Rubin (Urban Planning) are all in Washington D.C. as part of the Bohnett Fellows program.
With a new presidential term beginning and a new Congress starting its work, the Winter Meeting is timed for the nation’s mayors to impact the agenda in Washington. The Bohnett Fellows will get to sit in on all of the sessions and panels, experience the discussions and negotiations and be involved with the group’s advocacy.
"This kind of real-world experience is a vital part of the education our students receive," said UCLA Luskin Dean Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr . "Their time in Washington will give them firsthand knowledge of what it takes to lead effectively, serve the public and come up with creative solutions to some of society's most pressing problems. We're extremely grateful to our partners at the Bohnett Foundation for giving these outstanding students this opportunity to build their skills."
"We are excited to send these gifted students to Washington D.C. to participate in one of the nation's longest-running and most impactful public policy conferences," said Michael Fleming, Executive Director of the David Bohnett Foundation, and a UCLA Luskin board member. "The Bohnett Fellows Program has thrived on seeing leadership models at work with real consequences being considered. Our nation's mayors contribute every day to the development of national urban policy and going to their winter meeting will be an invaluable benefit to our students. This kind of meaningful, real-world experience will help our fellows become the civic leaders of tomorrow."
In fall 2006, the David Bohnett Foundation provided a three-year grant totaling $253,884 to inaugurate the Los Angeles City Mayor’s Fellowship Program at UCLA. Program participants were later named the David Bohnett Fellows. The program is designed to be a hands-on working experience for exceptionally promising public policy, social welfare, and urban planning graduate students. The Foundation has established two other Fellows’ programs at the University of Michigan and New York University.
Joining Cabanes, Hayatdavoudi and Rubin are four Michigan Fellows and three NYU Fellows, as well as staff from each school and executives from the Bohnett Foundation at the conference.
The Fellows Program forms a critical bridge from the classroom to city hall, encouraging students to collaborate with faculty and senior executives in the mayor’s office to provide professional, analytically sophisticated support to help address Los Angeles’ most pressing problems. For the city of Los Angeles, the program continues to be a high-quality, cost-effective resource for involving dedicated graduate students who possess a breadth of expertise and interdisciplinary perspective in key areas.
The Mayors Conference will be the fellows’ first experience in Washington. The trip is the result of additional travel funds provided by the Foundation, which also allowed one student to attend the National League of Cities Summit conference, providing best practices for children and family services.
Thirty-five students have participated in the Bohnett Fellows Program at UCLA since its inauguration. All have gone on to jobs in local government, planning or non-profit organizations, or are pursuing post-graduate work. As of this year, there are four Fellows working full-time for the Los Angeles Mayor, including Dan Caroselli in the Office of Economic and Business Policy; Josh Low in the Office of Performance Management; Lys Mendez in Communications; and Greg Spotts, director Transportation Project Delivery.
the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
Founded in 1994 and dedicated in 2011, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs  is a leading institution for research and scholarship in the areas of public policy, social welfare and urban planning. Based in the global metropolis of Los Angeles, UCLA Luskin develops creative solutions and innovative leaders that confront challenges in immigration, drug policy, prison reform, transportation, the environment, and other areas vital to the continued health and well-being of our global society.