2023 MPP Alumna of the Year Regina Wallace-Jones, MPP 1999

Regina Wallace-Jones is the CEO and President of ActBlue.  A seasoned technology executive, former elected official, and Democratic organizer she succeeds Erin Hill, who led the organization for 14 years. Hill announced in July her intention to step down at the end of 2022.

Since its founding in 2004, ActBlue has transformed political fundraising, helping Democratic campaigns and progressive organizations raise more than $11 billion and more than 21 million small-dollar donors make an impact on the causes they care about. Wallace-Jones will bring a unique mix of experiences from the tech sector, public service, and the organizing community to the role. She has had a dual-track career, both working as an engineer and executive for some of the biggest companies in the tech industry and also running for local office, serving as mayor of East Palo Alto, CA, and dedicating her time and energy to helping elect Democratic candidates.

Regina’s powerful combination of skills and deep commitment to progressive change positions her to lead ActBlue and help envision its next decade. She is an accomplished product and security leader, having held executive positions at Lendstreet, Mindbody, eBay, Facebook, and Yahoo. With a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Regina bridges the world of technology and public policy.

This unique academic and professional background equips her to deliver solutions for ActBlue’s users while ensuring it remains a trusted and secure platform. This moment calls for innovation and creativity to ensure Democrats and progressives have a strategic advantage when it comes to fundraising. Wallace-Jones is well versed in successfully leading teams to accomplish those goals.

As CEO, Wallace-Jones also brings an understanding of the mechanics needed to successfully win a down-ballot race and what it takes to win a national election. While an engaged citizen throughout her life, she became more involved in public service after serving as a Regional Field Organizer during President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign while balancing her career at Yahoo and caring for her young daughters. After organizing for multiple campaigns, she ran for and was elected to the East Palo Alto City Council. In 2020, the council appointed her as mayor of East Palo Alto, CA, where she guided the city through the pandemic. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., a public service sorority.

Wallace-Jones joins a short but exceptional list of leaders at ActBlue. She will be the fourth leader in the organization’s 19-year history and break ground as the first Black woman to helm the nonprofit.

Employment:  https://blog.actblue.com/2023/01/19/introducing-regina-wallace-jones/

Profile:   linkedin.com/in/regina-wallace-jones-187362

Twitter:   @rwallacejones

YouTube:  https://youtu.be/_hEt54q2ZAA

2022 MPP Alumnus of the Year Sandeep A. Prasanna, MPP/JD 2015

Sandeep Prasanna is a Senior Advisor at Miller & Chevalier Chartered, a Washington, DC-based law firm, where he focuses on congressional investigations, internal investigations, and other complex civil litigation matters.

Prior to joining Miller & Chevalier, Sandeep was an Investigative Counsel on the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. In that role, Sandeep conducted depositions and interviews of nearly 100 witnesses, provided strategic and legal guidance on novel congressional investigations issues, managed the intake and follow-up for thousands of confidential tips, and worked closely with the legal and communications teams to produce the Committee’s public-facing work, including the nationally televised hearings and the final report.

Sandeep has significant government and political experience. As a day-one presidential appointee in the Department of Justice (DOJ), Sandeep guided several nominees through the Senate confirmation process, providing them with strategic advice on political and legal issues, preparing them for hearing testimony, and helping them develop bipartisan relationships and support in Congress. He also represented DOJ on Capitol Hill, engaging often with elected officials and their staff on proposed legislation and congressional oversight. Previously, as the top counterterrorism advisor to Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) on the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, Sandeep led investigations, hearings, and the successful passage of several House bills, often working closely with the minority staff and external stakeholders to win bipartisan support.

Sandeep began his career in government as a legal advisor to two senior senators. As a Judiciary Committee aide to Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sandeep advised on judicial nominations and civil rights issues and drafted landmark hate crimes legislation that was signed into law in 2021. Subsequently, Sandeep served as the top legal advisor to former Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), providing policy and political guidance on a range of sensitive issues.

Sandeep is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches a seminar on ethics, professional responsibility, and career development.

In addition to graduating from the MPP program at UCLA Luskin, Sandeep holds degrees from UCLA School of Law (JD), and Duke University (AB). At Luskin, Sandeep earned highest honors on his Applied Policy Project and was named MPP Student of the Year in his graduating class. Sandeep continues to mentor and advise Luskin students who are interested in careers in Washington, DC, and encourages students to reach out to him.

Employment:  https://www.millerchevalier.com/professional/sandeep-prasanna, https://www.law.georgetown.edu/faculty/sandeep-a-prasanna/

Profile:   linkedin.com/in/saprasanna

2021 MPP Alumni Fellowship Recipient Tonya McClendon, MPP '22

Tonya (Tone-yá) McClendon received her undergraduate degree in Business and in African American studies from California State University Northridge and received her masters degree in Public Policy from UCLA. She was awarded as the 2022 Public Policy Student of the Year, the 2022 Global Public Affairs fellowship for professional development, the 1st and 2nd year recipient of the Luskin Graduate Fellowship and was honored with the Excellence in Academic Scholarship and Mentorship at the Sadie T.M. Alexander Conference for Black Women in Economics and Related Fields from the Sadie Collective Organization in 2022. During her time at Luskin she served on the Luskin Summer Racial Justice Working Group, board member for the Luskin Black Caucus and as the Outreach and Recruitment Chair for Luskin Policy Professionals for Diversity and Equity, while also working as graduate student researcher and publishing multiple research articles and op eds in educational and political journals. Tonya is a first generation college student from Inglewood, CA and is passionate about pursuing policy that centers liberation of Black and Brown communities- particularly through criminal justice reform and economic empowerment. She currently works in community centered non-profits where she focuses on workforce development and civil rights for formerly incarcerated folks but has plans to continue her education by obtaining her Juris Doctorate


Please see Tonya’s LinkedIn profile for more information.

2021 MPP Alumnus of the Year Isaac Bryan, MPP 2018

Isaac Bryan represents California’s 55th Assembly District, which consists of Baldwin Hills, the Crenshaw district, Culver City, Ladera Heights, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms, Pico-Robertson, Beverly Grove, Mid-Wilshire, and parts of South Los Angeles.

In the Assembly, Isaac serves as the Chair of the Elections Committee, fighting to protect the right to vote and to keep our elections free and fair. He also serves as the Chair of the Assembly’s first Select Committee on Poverty and Economic Inclusion. In 2022, he was elected Secretary and Treasurer of the California Legislative Black Caucus. He is Vice Chair and a founding member of the Renters Caucus.

In the Assembly, Isaac secured funding to found the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy at UCLA School of Law; the first Climate Change Education Center in the California Community College system at West LA College; a stipend program for students in the trades to earn a living wage while studying for certificates, and millions of dollars for other projects across the 55th District. Isaac’s legislative accomplishments have included phasing out the Inglewood Oil Field and other oil drilling near homes and communities in California (SB-1137), ending prison gerrymandering (AB-1848), ending punishing fees for parents with children in foster care (AB-1686), protecting students from predatory insurance practices (AB-1823) and strengthening online campaign finance disclosure requirement (AB-1848).

Isaac is a community organizer, highly regarded policy expert, and a published academic. Prior to his election to the Assembly, Isaac led a ballot measure that brought millions of dollars a year to address racial injustice and strengthen communities in Los Angeles. He served as the founding Director of the UCLA Black Policy Project – a think tank dedicated to advancing racial equity through rigorous policy analysis – served as the first Director of Public Policy at the UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center, as well as Director of Organizing for the nationally recognized Million Dollar Hoods project, a community-based participatory research project. He authored the first holistic report for the City of Los Angeles on the needs of the formerly incarcerated Angelenos, and exposed a gap in youth justice policy. For years, his academic and organizing work has been at the intersection of environmental, economic, education and housing justice.


Employment:  https://a55.asmdc.org/

Profile:   linkedin.com/in/isaacbryan

Twitter:   @isaacgbryan

Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Bryan

2020 MPP Alumni Fellowship Recipient Sam Lau, MPP & MPH '21

Sam Lau is a third year Master of Public Policy and Master of Public Health candidate at UCLA. He is passionate about improving the quality of public health services for communities of color and using research and data to drive policy change. As a graduate student researcher, Sam has conducted research on the impact of affordable housing investments on the health of  communities most impacted by pollution and has evaluated the quality of care received by Medicare cancer patients. He worked as a health policy intern this past summer at the California Health Benefits Review Program, providing evidence-based analysis to the state legislature on issues related to health insurance benefit mandates. He was also part of the team that won highest honors for their APP on ‘Delivering on California College Promise: Implementing Effective Interventions and Reforms to Ensure Access and Preparation for Community College’.

Prior to graduate school, Sam worked as a research programmer at the Center for Economic and Social Research’s program on Global Aging, Health, and Policy. He also has experience working in economic consulting. In his free time he enjoys rock climbing and trying new desserts.

Please visit Sam’s LinkedIn to learn more about his professional experience.

2020 MPP Alumni Fellowship Recipient Jason Ballou, MPP '21

Jason Ballou is a Master of Public Policy candidate at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs where he is an advocate for long term solutions for homelessness.  Prior to graduate school, Jason was a case manager with Lutheran Social Services helping individuals who were chronically homeless and disabled. In this role he helped people re-engage in physical and mental health care and gain a steady income, with the ultimate goal of securing good permanent housing. For his work with some of the community’s most challenging cases, the City of Long Beach Prosecutor’s Office recognized him with its annual Impact Award in 2019.

Believing that kindness and compassion are the best guides for policy making and social change, Jason is very active in volunteering and service.  Through his church, he has coordinated several Habitat for Humanity projects building housing for the working poor. He has assisted with the LA LGBT Center’s Community Action Network and was elected president of the Association of Master of Public Policy Students.  Jason recently completed the Los Angeles Marathon, his first marathon ever.  He also enjoys playing dodgeball, great LA hikes and trips to see his family in Ohio.

2020 MPP Alumni Fellowship Recipient Courtney B. Taylor, MPP '21

Courtney B. Taylor is a proud Californian from Rialto (Go IE!). Courtney believes in the power of public service and public policy because she benefited from government programs, such as the
Department of Education’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), which is designed to increase the number of low-income students who attend and graduate from college. Experiencing first-hand the social and economic barriers that exist for black and brown communities, Courtney is committed to breaking down barriers in the pursuit of equity.

Prior to pursuing her master’s in public policy, Courtney worked in D.C. at the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Courtney earned her bachelor of arts in law and society from American University in Washington, DC. In the spirit of being a life-long learner, Courtney has participated in the WeLead program at the Women in Politics Institute and the Leadership Institute at the Center for American Progress.

Please visit Courtney’s LinkedIn to learn more about their professional experience.

2003 MPP Alumnus of the Year Dylan Presman, MPP 1998

Dylan Presman serves as Director for Budget and Assessment in the Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD). Mr. Presman is responsible for budget oversight and assessment across the federal enterprise.

Dylan has worked for the U.S. government for 20+ years and served under five Presidents (Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden) at three different federal departments (U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Education, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security) as well as having worked for the U.S. Senate. Prior to joining ONCD, Dylan served as Budget Director for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security where he oversaw the formulation and execution of the agency’s $2.5 billion budget.

Dylan joined DHS in May 2009, working initially in the Budget Division in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer before moving over to CISA in 2017. Previously, Dylan worked as a budget analyst at the U.S. Departments of Education and as a program manager at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Dylan earned a B.A. in Middle Eastern Affairs from the University of Durham, a Masters of Science in Government Leadership from the National Defense University and a Masters in Public Policy from UCLA.