newsId: F57084EB-5056-AF26-BE19869BC8766B98
Title: New Study Shows That Fluctuating Household Income Affects Child Health and Nutrition
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: Changing jobs can be rough on families with young children — especially in homes with low income and few resources. According to new research by SPA Associate Professor Taryn Morrissey, income and employment instability can be harmful to a child’s health.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 12/12/2017
Content:

Changing jobs can be rough on families with young children - especially in homes with low income and few educational resources. According to new research by American University School of Public Affairs Associate Professor Taryn Morrissey, income and employment instability can be harmful to a child's health and food security.

The article, "Economic Instability, Food Insecurity and Child Health in the Wake of the Great Recession," which Morrissey coauthored with Sharon Wolf of the University of Pennsylvania, appears in the September issue of Social Service Review.

The researchers looked at families with children ages three to five using data from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation.

"We focus on young children because during this developmentally important period, economic resources, family stability, and other characteristics are particularly important to life-long cognitive, health, and social-emotional outcomes," said Morrissey. "Also, this is a time when families often struggle financially to meet their basic needs - including for food, housing, and child care - which are very expensive."

The analysis revealed that each year more than half (60 percent) of children under age five experience a change in a parent's employment status, and about half experience a change in income equivalent to or greater than 33 percent of their household income. Income instability levels, in particular, are even higher among children with less-educated parents. Approximately six or seven of every 10 children whose parents lack a high school degree experience an economic change in any given year. The authors also found that losing a job is linked with an increase in the likelihood of food insecurity, and that income change - regardless of direction - appears to be associated with an increase in food insecurity.

"I was struck by how common the experience of income and job instability is among families with young children," said Morrissey. "Further, this economic instability appears to be harmful for food security and health."

Safety net and labor policies designed to provide resources to families during times of need may have unintended consequences for economic instability. Morrissey suggested that safety-net programs such as the Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) - formerly known as food stamps - and the Earned Income Tax Credit may aggravate economic instability by providing sudden decreases in resources when families miss the deadline to re-enroll in a program. Procedures that make it difficult to enroll (or re-enroll) in public programs may make resource levels less predictable for families, enhancing economic instability rather than stabilizing resource levels.

According to Morrissey, two potential solutions exist: (a) make workers' job schedule and hours more predictable and stable over time; and (b) improve the procedures of public programs that facilitate enrollment and re-enrollment among eligible populations to enhance, rather than disrupt, economic instability. For instance, lengthening and streamlining enrollment and re-certification periods and procedures for programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, and child care subsidies could help families better predict their expenses.

https://doi.org/10.1086/694111

Tags: School of Public Affairs,Research,Health
Publication:
Photos:
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: F60AF07F-5056-AF26-BEE630B8D4DE18DA
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: F652846A-5056-AF26-BEC80DDD3A598274
Title: Lack of Fairness in Receiving Public Defense Services: Study Reveals Injustice in Death Penalty Cases
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: Although Americans want to believe that courts are fair, particularly in capital punishment cases, a new study by American University School of Public Affairs' Professor Jon Gould shows the courts are falling short.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 12/07/2017
Content:

Although Americans want to believe that courts are fair, particularly in capital punishment cases, a new study by American University School of Public Affairs' Professor Jon Gould shows the courts are falling short.

Gould and Kenneth Leon, a visiting assistant professor at George Washington University, coauthored "A Culture That Is Hard to Defend: Extralegal Factors in Federal Death Penalty Cases," published this fall by Northwestern University School of Law's Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.

Looking at data from federal death penalty cases between 1998 and 2004, the researchers explored why defendants in some cases did not receive the full range of public defense services. The results were surprising.

Gould and Leon discovered that resources allocated to ensure fair trials were driven by the social and political climate of the jurisdictions and the judges’ backgrounds rather than the facts of the cases. Some judges did not grant enough money to the defense attorneys to investigate or bring in expert witnesses. Defendants in those courts were left with attorneys who lacked experience or were not recommended by the local federal public defender or the Office of Defender Services.

The study found that those extralegal factors hurt poor defendants and increased their likelihood of receiving a death sentence. Defendants who received resources below a basic floor (which comprised about 30 percent of cases) were at twice the risk of being sentenced to death.

“A system that we think of as being governed by law is really governed by politics and culture on the most important question a criminal justice system can decide: who is being sentenced to death or not,” said Gould.

Which particular judge presides over a defendant’s case can affect that person’s chance of having the case looked at openly and fairly.

“This is empirical evidence that our federal system, which is generally considered to be the gold standard of American criminal justice, is anything but gold. It is more like tarnished brass,” said Gould. “If we are seeing these problems in the best system for the worst punishment, we can only imagine the risk to due process and equal protection in other courts around the country where the stakes are nowhere as high.”

Gould said that although the findings are consistent with those of other death penalty research projects, he is saddened and disappointed that this injustice exists in the federal courts. Although some media attention in recent years has been given to overturning wrongful convictions, he suggests that the public should be concerned about the capital-case- processing system.

To remedy the situation, Gould calls for leveling the playing field and making decisions about what resources defendants can have outside the reach of judges.

“Prosecutors don’t face these challenges. They don’t have to go to a court to ask for resources to do investigations and get experts. Only the defense does,” he said.

Gould also recommends more resources to help those accused get a fair shot at defending themselves and to provide further training for defense counsel to understand what the standard of representation ought to be.

“This may or may not change the ultimate outcome of the cases — although I suspect it will. But even if it doesn’t, I don’t think any of us can feel comfortable with someone being sentenced to death without an adequate opportunity to defend himself,” said Gould.

Tags: Courts,Crime,School of Public Affairs
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: F720878E-5056-AF26-BEA27C2510F9077F
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: F522131F-5056-AF26-BED686D38CB00B35
Title: James Comey, Former FBI Director, Visits School of Public Affairs to Speak With MPA Students
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: Former Director of the FBI, James Comey recently visited a class of first-year American University School of Public Affairs MPA graduate students to talk about ethical leadership.
Topic: Government & Politics
Publication Date: 12/07/2017
Content:

Ethical leaders create an environment where people can find meaning. This is a sentiment that James Comey, former director of the FBI, shared with a class of first-year American University School of Public Affairs graduate students recently when he visited to talk about ethical leadership. Comey was invited by SPA Adjunct Professor Sasha Cohen O'Connell (SPA/MPA'98/PhD'12), also formerly of the FBI, to speak to her Introduction to Public Administration students.

"Professor O'Connell surprised our class," said Samantha Pedreiro (SPA/MPA'19). "We were proceeding as normal - discussing the assigned readings - and suddenly Director Comey was at the door. We were all speechless. Our professor was formerly a senior executive at the FBI, and we had been discussing Director Comey and his actions on a fairly regular basis."

During Comey's visit, he explained that it is important to know and be grounded in values, to uphold truth, to listen to different opinions, and to debate in productive and constructive ways.

"I was beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce my students to Director Comey," said O'Connell. "I have always enjoyed bringing dynamic guest speakers into the classroom, but I think this opportunity was particularly meaningful. I am grateful he was so generous with his time and open to all of the questions presented."

Comey also reinforced the notion that future government leaders need to foster work environments where people feel comfortable expressing ideas, are empowered to think creatively, and are emboldened to stand up for truth and justice.

While speaking to O'Connell's class, Comey emphasized the importance of upholding your personal values and truth. He encouraged students to become people not of success but of value.

"The visit was everything I had hoped it would be," said O'Connell. "We utilize FBI examples throughout class, and there is nothing better than the students hearing directly from an (in this case former) agency head and having the chance to ask questions. Director Comey in particular is a truly exceptional communicator, and his time with the class was highly impactful."

"Guest speakers add incredible value to a class," said Pedreiro. "They are uniquely clued in to the process and can offer firsthand insights into how things get done, what drives decisions and decision makers, and how to be effective, inclusive, and socially minded civic leaders."

After his visit with the class, Comey shared a tweet featuring a picture of his visit to SPA and how it was a "great conversation." The tweet was shared and liked more than 19,000 times within a few days.

"He further reinforced my belief that we do not always have to agree with one another, but we must be willing to listen," said Pedreiro.

Tags: Government,Politics,Public Administration,School of Public Affairs
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: F5C8B112-5056-AF26-BEE8BFDCBC3DA2F7
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 8B269CD6-5056-AF26-BEBD30647FE8A548
Title: Alumnus Exemplifies AU Values Through Commitment to Public Service
Author: Alicia Kubert, SOC/MA '10
Subtitle:
Abstract: From public office, to business, arts, and education, Kevin Malecek works to benefit his beloved Cleveland community.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/05/2017
Content:

Kevin Malecek, SPA/BA '01, SPA/MA '02, is a true public servant - showcasing what AU inspires in so many of its alumni.

In 2010, Kevin received the AU Rising Star award, following his impressive accomplishments as director of the part-time MBA program at Case Western Reserve University, president of the Willoughby Hills City Council, and president of the Laketran Board of Trustees, a public transportation service. He accomplished all this while also working tirelessly as a volunteer in his Cleveland community.

Kevin certainly did not stop there. In 2011 he began serving as the president and CEO of the Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce (Cleveland suburb) and moved into public office in 2015, when he was appointed as a Lake County Commissioner.

"I have always had an extreme interest in government and politics - and trying to do things to help people through those avenues," Kevin notes. And it's easy to see what he means. His commitment to community is deeper than ever and continues to grow.

Lately Kevin has taken on a new challenge working on special projects and development at Lakeland Community College. "Lakeland has always been not only an education hub in our community but also a cultural and community hub," he explained. "It was really a chance to come here and be an active part of trying to plan out the future for this campus and the future for community college education in this region."

Lakeland Community College serves a wide array of students, from high school to nontraditional adult learners returning to the classroom, to single mothers and veterans. "We really try to serve all facets of society and that's kind of an exciting thing to be a part of-that process and making sure they can achieve their goals," says Kevin.

Kevin remains actively involved in various charitable organizations and councils supporting those in need, the arts, economic development, and more. He cites his time at AU as pivotal to how his future has taken shape, noting AU offered an experiential education in Washington and access to public service through experiences. Attending AU was "the best decision of my life," he says. "The fabric that was woven and created at American for the rest of my life, both personally and professionally, is something I treasure and something I don't think I could have gotten anywhere else."

Today he is in his fourth year of service on the Alumni Board, he is a mentor to current students, and he often returns to SPA to teach courses or present guest lectures. Kevin explains, "giving back has been a big thing for me to do because the university and community gave me so much when I was there."

For fellow Eagles seeking to follow his path in public service, Kevin offers the following excellent advice: "The most important thing to do if you are going to be in public service is to be responsive and to listen well. [...] You need to be able to listen to what their needs are, try to anticipate what their needs are while you're listening, really being an active listener and figure out what can I do to help them solve their problem, or if I can't solve their problem, what can I do to make it a little bit easier for them."

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Board,Alumni Newsletter,Alumni Relations,Alumni Update,School of Public Affairs
Publication: DC9BFA6D-C400-714B-030527285D7B0492
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 8B56FDD3-5056-AF26-BE46D86E46E83D11
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 5D03D7F3-5056-AF26-BE871BF7104AEE98
Title: First Semester Reflections
Author: Raheem Dawodu Jr.
Subtitle: First-year student Harrison Eichelberger discusses his transition to AU
Abstract: First-year student Harrison Eichelberger discusses his transition to AU.
Topic: Student Life
Publication Date: 12/04/2017
Content:

The end of fall semester is nearing, and for many students that means completing assignments and finding time to study for exams. The transition from high school to students can be challenging for newly minted first-year students. The freedom of deciding which classes to take, what to eat in TDR, when to do laundry, and what to do during free time can be a lot for first-time college students. These last three months have been a learning experience on and off campus for freshmen as they become acquainted with AU and D.C. We followed the story of one first-year student's journey from high school to college.

Adjusting

For freshman Economics and Political Science double major Harrison Eichelberger, his first college semester has been a pleasant surprise. "I don't always do great with transitions, but this was not as bad as I was expecting," Eichelberger said.

Eichelberger grew up in Elizabethtown, Pa., a town about two hours outside of Philadelphia, and attended Elizabethtown Area High School, which helped him get ready for AU. "My high school was smaller and had a close-knit feel which made adjusting to AU easier," Eichelberger said.

A lot of college freshmen have trouble finding their footing in class their first semester, but so far Eichelberger has been up to the task. "College classes have a quicker pace and are harder than high school, but it makes me feel like I am being treated like an adult, which I prefer," he said.

Eichelberger's only uneasiness is with the D.C. weather. "I do not like the heat--I was born in the cold of New Hampshire." Eichelberger said, adding with a laugh, "I really should have gone to school in New England."

Testing It Out

Eichelberger's smooth adjustment may be due to his participation in the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) in June 2016. NSLC hosts several conferences on college campuses around the country, and AU has hosted their gatherings for nearly 20 years.

"AU is currently their largest summer site with approximately eight to 12 programs and hosts the biggest conference," Kimberly Araya, Director of University Conferences & Guest Services, said. Her department oversee all AU conferences and guest lodging, and NSLC is annually their biggest event.

"The NSLC bring in the best and brightest high schools students from literally all over the world to be part of the AU programs every summer," Araya said.

Eichelberger said it gave him an opportunity to explore AU. "This was great because I saw AU as a place I could attend, so I was excited to be able to see the campus and dorm life and meet people during that week on campus," he said.

Harrision Eichelberger in front of Kerwin Hall

Because of his contributions at NSLC and his high school academic accomplishments, during his senior year of high school Eichelberger was awarded the National Student Leadership Foundation's Alumni College Scholarship to attend AU. That made his decision even easier.

"NSLC called me during class to say they had big news for me," Eichelberger said, reliving his anxiousness at the news. "I had to sit in class for an hour nervously waiting for the big news, since I could not answer my phone."

According to Patty Hester, Director of Scholarships for NSLC, Eichelberger stood out through "his desire and vision to take what he had learned at the NSLC and improve the world around him."

"Harrison demonstrated a dedication to public service and leadership that went above and beyond what one would expect from a high school student," Hester said.

"They had a press release announcing the award, and my classmates and teachers were all very excited for me," Eichelberger said.

Looking Forward

With the semester winding down, Eichelberger is looking ahead to the winter break. "I am looking forward to having a full month off between semesters. Plus, Christmas is my favorite holiday," Eichelberger said.

The prospect of next semester brings a lot of excitement as well, although D.C.'s humid spring gives him some pause. "I am taking more classes related to my majors, so I am excited for spring, minus the weather," he said laughing.

Tags: Office of Campus Life,School of Public Affairs
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 5D978ED3-5056-AF26-BE7CA8C1B5B7CC57,5DA55875-5056-AF26-BEBE7DDC4E92EAC6
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 5D03D7F3-5056-AF26-BE871BF7104AEE98
Title: First Semester Reflections
Author: Raheem Dawodu Jr.
Subtitle: First-year student Harrison Eichelberger discusses his transition to AU
Abstract: First-year student Harrison Eichelberger discusses his transition to AU.
Topic: Student Life
Publication Date: 12/04/2017
Content:

The end of fall semester is nearing, and for many students that means completing assignments and finding time to study for exams. The transition from high school to students can be challenging for newly minted first-year students. The freedom of deciding which classes to take, what to eat in TDR, when to do laundry, and what to do during free time can be a lot for first-time college students. These last three months have been a learning experience on and off campus for freshmen as they become acquainted with AU and D.C. We followed the story of one first-year student's journey from high school to college.

Adjusting

For freshman Economics and Political Science double major Harrison Eichelberger, his first college semester has been a pleasant surprise. "I don't always do great with transitions, but this was not as bad as I was expecting," Eichelberger said.

Eichelberger grew up in Elizabethtown, Pa., a town about two hours outside of Philadelphia, and attended Elizabethtown Area High School, which helped him get ready for AU. "My high school was smaller and had a close-knit feel which made adjusting to AU easier," Eichelberger said.

A lot of college freshmen have trouble finding their footing in class their first semester, but so far Eichelberger has been up to the task. "College classes have a quicker pace and are harder than high school, but it makes me feel like I am being treated like an adult, which I prefer," he said.

Eichelberger's only uneasiness is with the D.C. weather. "I do not like the heat--I was born in the cold of New Hampshire." Eichelberger said, adding with a laugh, "I really should have gone to school in New England."

Testing It Out

Eichelberger's smooth adjustment may be due to his participation in the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) in June 2016. NSLC hosts several conferences on college campuses around the country, and AU has hosted their gatherings for nearly 20 years.

"AU is currently their largest summer site with approximately eight to 12 programs and hosts the biggest conference," Kimberly Araya, Director of University Conferences & Guest Services, said. Her department oversee all AU conferences and guest lodging, and NSLC is annually their biggest event.

"The NSLC bring in the best and brightest high schools students from literally all over the world to be part of the AU programs every summer," Araya said.

Eichelberger said it gave him an opportunity to explore AU. "This was great because I saw AU as a place I could attend, so I was excited to be able to see the campus and dorm life and meet people during that week on campus," he said.

Harrision Eichelberger in front of Kerwin Hall

Because of his contributions at NSLC and his high school academic accomplishments, during his senior year of high school Eichelberger was awarded the National Student Leadership Foundation's Alumni College Scholarship to attend AU. That made his decision even easier.

"NSLC called me during class to say they had big news for me," Eichelberger said, reliving his anxiousness at the news. "I had to sit in class for an hour nervously waiting for the big news, since I could not answer my phone."

According to Patty Hester, Director of Scholarships for NSLC, Eichelberger stood out through "his desire and vision to take what he had learned at the NSLC and improve the world around him."

"Harrison demonstrated a dedication to public service and leadership that went above and beyond what one would expect from a high school student," Hester said.

"They had a press release announcing the award, and my classmates and teachers were all very excited for me," Eichelberger said.

Looking Forward

With the semester winding down, Eichelberger is looking ahead to the winter break. "I am looking forward to having a full month off between semesters. Plus, Christmas is my favorite holiday," Eichelberger said.

The prospect of next semester brings a lot of excitement as well, although D.C.'s humid spring gives him some pause. "I am taking more classes related to my majors, so I am excited for spring, minus the weather," he said laughing.

Tags: Office of Campus Life,School of Public Affairs
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 5D978ED3-5056-AF26-BE7CA8C1B5B7CC57,5DA55875-5056-AF26-BEBE7DDC4E92EAC6
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 8AD7DC78-5056-AF26-BE42B53BD55C47C5
Title: Free Speech: How Far Can We Go?
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: Should university officials invite speakers with extremist views to campus? What kind of protest should be allowed? Should students who threaten speakers face consequences? This was the topic of discussion at a recent SPA event.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 11/30/2017
Content:

Should university officials invite speakers with extremist views to campus? What kind of protest should be allowed? Should students who threaten speakers face consequences?

Greg Weiner, associate professor of political science at Assumption College in Worchester, Mass., gave his take on these and other free speech questions at a recent AU School of Public Affairs guest lecture. The lecture was part of SPA's Political Theory Institute fall series.

The political theorist and author discussed what he called the "important and imperiled" topic of free speech and fielded questions from several students and faculty members in attendance. Weiner examined free speech not as a conservative or liberal issue but through the lens of decency versus indecency. The framers of the Constitution were not free speech absolutists, he said, but because of shared norms of decency there was an assumption that speech would not be pushed to the extreme.

"Speech serves the purpose of securing the larger good of self-government," said Weiner, adding that the First Amendment allows the right to speak without injury and is a privilege in a free government.

Weiner argued that campuses should "err on the side of speech" but also permit restriction of attempts to disrupt it. He discussed recent controversies over free speech at Middlebury College in Vermont, the University of California at Berkeley, and on other campuses around the United States.

"Especially, but not exclusively, on campus we provide the least protection for speech that needs the most protection and the most for the speech that deserves it the least," said Weiner. "We have too little of the right kinds of tolerance, too much of the wrong."

In the context of a university campus, free speech most protects language in pursuit of "the truth, the just and the beautiful" and least protects speech that is incompatible with common decency, said Weiner. With that view, Weiner says university officials and faculty are not obligated to invite controversial speakers to campus who do not align with their educational mission. But when they do, the speaker should be allowed to be heard.

Weiner discussed an incident this year at Middlebury College where students shut down a speech by libertarian scholar Charles Murray. A faculty member was injured, and the students involved were not expelled.

"Shouting Murray down was considered a bold act of free expression, yet meaningful punishment against the students who did it would have been received as an outrage against free speech. That, to me, is backward," said Weiner. "The problem with the Middlebury protest was not merely that they were violent but also that they were indecent and overly hostile to the telos of speech in the political community that constitutes a college campus."

University officials and faculty are justified in rejecting speakers who are not serious scholars, said Weiner. Though he said that part of a university's purpose is to provide diverse viewpoints and even make students uncomfortable. Weiner added that decisions about expression on campus should be thoughtful.

"Judgment should be informed by experience, rather than inflamed by emotion," said Weiner. While there is no reason for a college to tolerate indecent speech, Weiner said a university should be broadly tolerant. "On campus, the quantity of speech and pursuit of truth, however provocative, should be wide and deep."

Tags: Human Rights,Research,School of Public Affairs
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 8B8BF25B-5056-AF26-BEBA5D6FE3B1BF37
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: B761784B-5056-AF26-BEBDB52EB51DF69A
Title: Former EPA Director Gina McCarthy Visits the School of Public Affairs
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: Former Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, visited with American University School of Public Affairs students, faculty, and the community to talk about environmental policy.
Topic: Government & Politics
Publication Date: 11/21/2017
Content:

Effective environment policies require collaboration, commitment, and transparency. That's what Gina McCarthy, former director of the U.S. Environmental Policy Agency, recently told students, faculty, and community members gathered at AU School of Public Affairs.

McCarthy described how leading the EPA was “best job in the world,” yet difficult and nearly impossible, if not for the dedication of the career staff dedicated to the agency’s agenda and moving the country forward.

At the helm from 2013 until early 2017, McCarthy gave a behind-the-scenes look at the process of working with private industry, states, and a Republican-controlled Congress to make progress on issues, such as clean air. The Clean Power Plan, announced in 2015 under the Clean Air Act, was the “epitome of cooperative federalism,” said McCarthy, setting flexible standards that gave states the chance to design their own path toward cleaner energy sources.

“I am all about outreach, talking to people, and getting the temperature of what people are looking for, concerns…We absolutely listened,” McCarthy said about soliciting feedback on the plan, which yielded more than 4.3 million public comments. In making decisions at the EPA, McCarthy said she invited everyone to the table to share their ideas. “It was a cast of brilliant, mission-driven, dedicated individuals,” she said.

The resulting plan to reduce carbon pollution from U.S. power plants was “one of the most creative” achievements of the Obama administration, bringing various stakeholders together to set targets for coal reduction, said Dan Fiorino, director of SPA's Center for Environmental Policy AU.

Although there is talk of modifying the Clean Power Plan, rules that took nearly a decade to craft will not be easily undone, said McCarthy.

McCarthy expressed concern over the Trump administration’s move away from scientific expertise and mixed signals about policy that leads to business uncertainty. 

“You just can’t mess with science. What is happening today is unconscionable,” said McCarthy. “Everybody knows science needs to be independent of politics.” 

The EPA needs to rely on independent research and scientific experts to develop policy.

“This administration fails to understand the difference between politics and policy. They seem to only have politics without policy,” said McCarthy. “They are doing absolutely nothing for betterment of public health and environmental protection.”

Although there is concern over President Trump’s intention to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, McCarthy said businesses, local governments and the international community are innovating and expanding the use of renewable energy sources. “The market is changing, it is not going back,” she said. The EPA has been the “gold standard” for environmental policy and McCarthy said she believes the recent setbacks will be short lived.

McCarthy lauded Obama’s team approach to combating climate change, enlisting not only the EPA but also other cabinet secretaries to underscore the urgency to reduce pollution for economic and national security reasons.

SPA Interim Dean Vicky Wilkins noted that McCarthy was the fifth EPA administrator to be on the AU campus in recent years, along with William Reilly, Carol Browner, Lisa Jackson, and Christine Todd Whitman.

“One of my biggest concerns going forward is protecting the transparency of the institution and the process,” said Maverick Ryan (SPA ’18) after hearing McCarthy speak. “To hear the confidence that she has, despite what’s going on, was big. It was really reassuring.” 

David Peters (CLEG ’19) said, “It’s always really impressive to hear from someone who held such a high-level position with the EPA – the difficulties she’s faced but also how she worked together with the utilities to move forward on the Clean Power Plan. It was really a great learning opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students.”

Tags: Environment,Government,Politics,School of Public Affairs
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: B7C3658C-5056-AF26-BE766818E5FD6C61
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: BA70CFE1-5056-AF26-BE70ADBAEF0CD01F
Title: Public School Principals All Have Management Styles. Which is Best?
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: New research by AU School of Public Affairs’ Nathan Favero examines just what kind of public management style leads to the better outcomes.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 11/21/2017
Content:

Organizations want to know what bosses can do to get the best results. New research by AU School of Public Affairs’ Nathan Favero examined just what kind of public management style leads to the better outcomes in a paper to be published in the International Public Management Journal.

Favero, SPA assistant professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy, coauthored the article, “Public Management on the Ground: Clustering Managers Based on Their Behavior” with Kenneth Meier of Texas A&M University, and Mogens Jin Pedersen and Vibeke Lehmann Nielson, both of Aarhus University in Denmark.

Their cluster analysis study focused on behavior of public school principals and identified four manager types: firefighters, laissez-faire managers, administrators, and proactive floor managers. The researchers ran a regression analysis with different variables to see how the styles were linked to student performance, teacher goal commitment, teacher absenteeism, and teacher job satisfaction.

The results showed “firefighters,” who spend much of their time handling individual students and personnel matters, were associated with worse outcomes. These reactive managers do not emphasize social skills or organizational culture in hiring. Firefighters operate by objectives and written plans, with less focus on financial, administrative, and strategic management.

Instead, principals with the most successful students and happy teachers were “administrators” or “proactive floor managers.” The authors describe administrators as traditional office desk managers who emphasize process over strategy or outcomes. They are not big on delegating, networking, or personnel issues, but prefer to spend their work time on financial and administrative tasks. While they have high expectations for the school’s performance, they provide limited feedback to teachers. The proactive floor manager employs modern management techniques -- setting goals and delegating tasks. This type of principal trusts teachers and sets high expectations for students. They view their role as that of a leader whose job it is to inspire and focus their employees on meeting desired outcomes.

The researchers found the “laissez-faire managers,” with a passive style of management, had mixed results. These principals generally used a non-interventionalist approach --not getting involved in discussions about teaching methods and or buffering teachers from conflicts with parents. While students performed well these schools, teachers had high rates of absenteeism prompting the authors to say the effectiveness of their style fell “in between.”

"Classifying managerial behavior is a complex task but suggest their cluster analysis is a novel approach to the empirical study of public management," said Favero. "The data is observational or non-experimental, so the results do not allow a direct causal interpretation. It’s difficult to disentangle whether managers operate a certain way because of the school’s environment or if their actions affect outcomes."

Tags: Management,Research,School,School of Public Affairs
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: BA41EC07-5056-AF26-BE552593B001C101
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 23B43401-5056-AF26-BE9B8E49E6BC4375
Title: A Look at Lebanon: Untangling the Relationship Between NGOs and Local Governments
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: A new report by SPA faculty explores the relationship between nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and local governments in developing countries.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 11/13/2017
Content:

A recent roundtable hosted by the American University School of Public Affairs (SPA) faculty explored the relationship between nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and local governments in developing countries. The roundtable brought together representatives from federal agencies and international organizations based in the DC metro area.

The past decade has seen donor agencies' and international organizations' increased interest in scrutinizing the effectiveness of international aid and the sustainability of development. The emphasis on accountability has been mirrored by the trend of pushing aid to the local level, with NGOs acting as key players in delivering services to local beneficiaries. This raises questions about the nature of the relationships between NGOs and local governments in developing countries.

A new study conducted in Lebanon by a team of researchers including SPA Professor Jocelyn Johnston and Assistant Professor Khaldoun AbouAssi in collaboration with Professor Ann O'M. Bowman from the Bush School of Government and Public Service, further examines some of these questions. As part of their work, the researchers conducted two surveys, which were completed by a total of 248 local government officials and 223 NGO executives. The surveys investigated respondents' perceptions on issues ranging from how they are collaborating with one another to how decisions are made. "The promising news is that some type of collaborative arrangement across sectors is taking place and even among those who are not currently working together, there is a palpable interest to do so in the future," said Johnston. "We know from the surveys that local governments and NGOs have [a] common goal of improving the quality of local services and building public trust."

Key findings shared with the roundtable participants include the following:

  • The most common reason local governments don't work with NGOs is because of the lack of opportunities to do so.
  • The most common reason NGOs don't work with local governments is because of the lack of perceived benefit.
  • Local governments and NGO respondents do not always agree on the barriers to collaboration. For example, local governments believe NGOs are more interested in working with the central government and not their agencies, with which NGOs disagree, and NGOs are concerned that local governments' constrained authorities could hinder collaboration, with which local government respondents disagree.
  • There is little agreement on how collaboration works: 68 percent of local governments believe they coordinate their relationships with NGOs, but only 59 percent of NGOs agree.
  • The overwhelming majority of NGOs and local governments describe their relationships as supportive and coordination oriented.

"Another interesting finding," AbouAssi added, "is that some aspects of NGO relationships are vertical [rather] than horizontal, with NGOs overwhelmingly considering their relations with international organizations better than those with local governments; that is why international organizations are called upon to motivate NGOs' relations with local governments to ensure effectiveness of implementation and sustainability of results."

Representatives from the following organizations attended and participated in the roundtable discussion: Bank Information Center, Catholic Relief Services, Center for Strategic and International Studies, International Republican Institute, Management Systems International, National Democratic Institute, National Endowment for Democracy, United States Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of State and the United States Institute of Peace.



Tags: Global,Government,Nonprofit,Research,School of Public Affairs
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 242B5905-5056-AF26-BEDA77FFF9340C95
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
 
newsId: 614A9C95-5056-AF26-BE9E2F597E99E3CA
Title: Granddaughter of a slave, Justice Audrey Collins to receive Beacon of Justice Award
Author: Nicholle Granger
Subtitle:
Abstract: Only two generations removed from slavery, she has dedicated her career to supporting underrepresented people and communities.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 02/09/2017
Content:

As a youth, Associate Justice of the California Board of Appeals Audrey B. Collins, SPA/MA '69, would have never guessed that she would forge a history-making career. An American University School of Public Affairs graduate, Collins became the first African-American woman to serve as Head Deputy, Assistant Bureau Director, and Assistant District Attorney after joining the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office in 1978.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed Collins to the United States District Court for the Central District of California, and she served as Chief Judge of the Central District from 2009 to 2012. During that time, Collins became the first judge to declare a portion of the 9/11-inspired Patriot Act unconstitutional based on language that she found to be in conflict with the First Amendment. In 2014, she was appointed to the California Court of Appeal, where she remains today.

Over the years, Collins has been acknowledged for her many contributions to public service and social equality. On April 5, the Friends of Los Angeles County Law Library will present her with the 2017 Beacon of Justice Award, recognizing her exceptional commitment to expanding access to quality legal services for low-income people and communities.

Collins's story is unique in that not only did she come of age during the Civil Rights Movement, but she was also the granddaughter of a slave. To be only two generations removed from slavery is "very unusual for someone my age, now 71," says Collins. She was born in Chester, Pa. in 1945. But both her grandfather and father married later in life, which explains her proximity to slavery. After being freed sometime in the 1860s, her grandfather, Furman Lawrence Brodie, worked his way through school, eventually becoming a minister and teacher. "He didn't learn to read until he was 16," says Collins.

Collins was first inspired to pursue a career in law by her family's strong tradition of public service. Her father was a dentist who built a community-based practice in Chester, and her mother was a teacher. Collins describes her mother as a "brilliant woman who graduated from Howard University at the age of 20." Collins is convinced that had there been an opportunity, her mother would have become a lawyer. But growing up in Norfolk, Va., her mother experienced segregation and overt racism, something Collins encountered only when she visited. By choosing to raise Collins in Yeadon, Pa., her parents were able to shield her from that and ensure that she had the best educational opportunities possible.

Collins's interest in law became more apparent during her undergraduate studies in political science at Howard University. While she was not involved in the Civil Rights Movement directly, it was then that she recognized the need for equitable legal representation for African-Americans, especially protesters who were being detained by police. "It occurred to me at that time that the most fascinating and meaningful thing for me to do was to go to law school," says Collins. "I think, especially being at Howard, it was clear that lawyers were there on the front lines of what was happening in the Civil Rights Movement."

After completing her MA in government and public administration at American University, Collins went on to obtain a JD from UCLA in 1977, throwing her legal career into full swing. Collins would have never predicted that she would be where she is today. "I'm not a fan of the five-year plan," she says. "You don't have to have your whole life worked out. I think if you find something you love to do, something you're enthusiastic about doing, and do well, it will reveal itself."

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Newsletter,Alumni Update,School of Public Affairs
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 6161A065-5056-AF26-BE92ACCF514193D0
Media:
newsId: 20E56AF5-5056-AF26-BEA77647713FF6B3
Title: AU Launches Crowdfunding Platform
Author: Joanna Platt
Subtitle:
Abstract: UFUND is a platform the AU community can use to directly fund projects and initiatives.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/15/2016
Content:

American University's Office of Development and Alumni Relations recently launched UFUND, a crowdfunding platform just for the AU community. This is a new way for alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of the university to directly fund the projects and initiatives they care about most.

AU faculty, staff, and students are planning ventures to shape the future of the community, nation, and world. By making a gift, donors support the development and success of these projects.

Currently, UFUND features five initiatives – The Eagle Innovation Fund, the DC-Area High School Ethics Bowl, an Alternative Break in Cuba, the Skills for Success Career Seminar, and production of the documentary In The Executioner's Shadow.

Members of the AU community are invited to submit new projects to be featured on UFUND.


 

Tags: Alumni,College of Arts and Sciences,Giving,Kogod School of Business,School of Communication,School of International Service,School of Public Affairs
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos:
Media:
newsId: CFA4FF86-5056-AF26-BE1D27C59F752AFE
Title: An Eviction Notice Sparks an Award-Winning Career
Author: Heidi Hokanson, SOC/BA ‘15
Subtitle:
Abstract: Michael Worley is the recipient of two awards this year, for the political communications agency he started as a junior at AU.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/10/2016
Content:

Michael Worley, SPA/BA ’12, is the President and founder of MDW Communications, a political consulting firm based in Fort Lauderdale. He has worked on campaigns from the municipal to congressional level, from South Florida, to Georgia, to New England. The firm has won two awards this year, the 2016 Campaigns & Elections Magazine Reed Award for Best Overall Direct Mail Piece, and a Pollie Award. At 25, Michael is one of the youngest people ever to receive a Reed Award. Today it seems everything is going right for Michael and his business, and it all started from a moment of financial desperation in Michael’s junior year at AU.

Michael was an over-worked, underpaid college student with a passion for politics. A national board member for the College Democrats of America for two years, Michael transferred to AU from Miami “to be closer to the action.” To get by financially, he had three different part time jobs and an internship. But all of a sudden in late 2010, Michael learned that his roommate hadn’t been paying rent for months, and they were about to be evicted. To make matters worse, his roommate abandoned the apartment and left town, leaving Michael to take responsibility for the debt.

At a loss for what to do, Michael sought advice from his boss at a Tenlytown cigar shop. His boss suggested he monetize his communications skills and start his own business. Inspired by the idea, Michael got to work right away. He ran a search through AUCareerWeb for companies hiring paid interns, and sent each of them a business pitch, offering his services as a professional social media marketing consultant who could provide better results than an intern could, for a lower rate than an agency would charge. Among his first clients were FroZenYo, American Tap Room, and the cigar shop in Tenleytown. “Things added up so quickly,” Michael says, “I was able to get out of debt and support myself for the next two years in college.”

Now Michael has worked on almost 100 campaigns. He has three full time employees, and produces everything from advanced digital marketing, to direct mail, and now television advertising as well. “Today we produced two direct mail pieces, produced a radio spot, and placed a digital ad, all before 11 a.m.” Michael says. His team is in the thick of municipal campaigns for elections this month. “We are involved in campaigns at all levels, but the local level is where you get to really make a difference. What people don’t realize is that if you don’t vote in municipal and state elections you have no seat at the table. Real policy making and impact on the community happens in the local level.”

Michael credits his AU experience for giving him the resources he needed to succeed as an entrepreneur. “AU was a catalyst for all the things that happened,” says Michael, “AU brought together people who had [started a business] successfully, who were living proof that you can do this if you work hard enough.” When Michael graduated, his decision to continue with his business was influenced by some advice from Chip Griffin, SPA/BA '94, who was president of the AU Alumni Board at the time, and is an experienced entrepreneur. He continues to get new opportunities from fellow AU alums in the political community. Michael is an active member of his local young alumni chapter, and he regularly gives back by volunteering for new and prospective student events.

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Relations,Alumni Update,Entrepreneurship,School of Public Affairs
Suggested Home Page: /alumni/success/index.cfm
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: CFF75B06-5056-AF26-BE074D242A542EF5
Media:
newsId: C36E7E44-5056-AF26-BEA2689F667C3557
Title: Lori Interlicchio, SBA/BA ’15: Tinder leads to a Living Gift
Author: Patricia Rabb
Subtitle:
Abstract: After meeting on Tinder, Lori Interlicchio surprised her girlfriend with the gift of a kidney.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 02/09/2016
Content:

“I hope that someone out there sees our story and makes the decision to donate their organs or become a live kidney donor,” says Lori Interlicchio, SPA/BA ‘15, while describing her gift of a kidney to girlfriend, Alana Duran, whom she met last August on Tinder.

Three months after their initial meeting, Lori videotaped Alana opening a box of small presents (including an AU t-shirt) with an “it’s a match” sign hidden at the bottom. The video, viewed over 260,000 times on Facebook, captured the news that Lori was going to provide Alana the kidney she so vitally needed. “I was pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of support that Alana and I received after we posted our video. I expected our family and friends to love the video, but I didn’t think we would go viral and certainly not that quickly,” she says.

Diagnosed at age 12 with Lupus, an autoimmune disease, Alana has required a hip placement, a pacemaker for congestive heart failure, dialysis for kidney failure and has been awaiting a kidney donor since 2011. Alana had no idea Lori was secretly being tested to see if she would be a match to donate a kidney.

On February 2, this long-awaited kidney transplant was successfully completed at Stony Brook Hospital in Stony Brook, NY, and both women are recovering well. “Alana’s kidney function was higher than mine,” noted Lori shortly after the procedure. During their recovery, Lori will take 6 weeks leave from work and needs to avoid lifting heavy objects. For the next 6 months, Alana has to avoid people who are ill since she’s now taking immunosuppressant drugs every day to avoid rejection of her new kidney.

Born and raised in West Islip, NY, Lori decided to attend the School of Public Affairs at American University because she wanted to study political science and felt that Washington, DC, was the best place to do it. “I liked that it had a campus feel while being in the city. It was the best of both worlds,” she adds.

While at AU, Lori was very active as a cheerleader and enjoyed competing with her team at the National Cheerleaders Association championships in Daytona each year. “The team was like my family, and Nationals was the culmination of all of our hard work each year,” she adds. When the weather was nice, Lori recalls meeting her teammates on the quad for impromptu practices where they would “throw each other around”.

One of her most memorable experiences as a student was camping outside of the Supreme Court with a few other AU students to observe the oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that made marriage equality legal in the United States. Lori also led an advocacy group at AU called “Red is in the Rainbow”. This group held blood drives on campus to spread awareness and speak out about the ban on blood and tissue donation from gay men. “It bothers me that if Alana and I were a couple of gay or bisexual men, rather than women, I couldn’t donate blood to her. My kidney would be considered high risk,” she exclaims.

After graduating last May, Lori has spent the past year in her hometown coaching cheerleading at her old middle school and working in a special needs high school while applying to law school. In her spare time, Lori describes herself as “a homebody.” Lori and Alana spend most weekends with their families - reading, playing board games, and working on puzzles together.

Her plans for the future include graduating from law school and passing the bar exam. “After that, I would love to do public service work litigating on behalf of LGBTQ people and families,” she says.

 

 

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Update,Office of Development & Alumni Relations,School of Public Affairs
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: C3C46A9B-5056-AF26-BE70E0931F647F34
Media:
newsId: 2105D109-5056-AF26-BE01E51B203116A3
Title: Hyong Yi, Passionate Public Servant and Love Advocate
Author: Melissa Bevins ’02
Subtitle:
Abstract: Assistant City Manager Hyong Yi made headlines giving love notes to strangers to honor his late wife’s legacy.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 01/12/2016
Content:

Like so many of his fellow AU alumni, Hyong Yi, SPA/BA ’94, SPA/MPA ’95, truly loves public service. When you ask him about his role as assistant city manager for the city of Charlotte, N.C., Hyong will tell you, “I love this job. This is what I am meant to do.” In his role, he is able to help run the city on a day-to-day basis, particularly with regards to all things environmental.

In high school, a class trip brought Hyong to Washington, DC from his childhood home in Pennsylvania’s Amish country. That trip combined with his love of politics sealed in his mind the fact that he wanted to attend college in the nation’s capital. In the end, American University was the only school he applied to. 

As a student, Hyong was driven and hardworking. He completed his undergraduate degree in just three years, then went on to complete his MPA in only one more. He was also a member of the University Honors Program, lived in a Living Learning Center in Anderson Hall, and still managed to study abroad in London for a semester. 

When asked to reflect on his time at AU, Hyong extols the virtues of studying abroad and says he thinks it should be mandatory for all college students. Although he was born in Korea, Hyong spent the majority of his life before college living in Pennsylvania, and he loved the opportunity to live overseas for a semester, studying, traveling, and immersing himself in everyday life in London. 

Upon completing his studies at AU, Hyong went on to work in DC government for several years. While living and working in DC, Hyong met the love of his life, Catherine Zanga. He and Catherine eventually settled in Charlotte and had two children, Anna and Alex.

In November of 2014, Catherine passed away after a 16-month battle with cancer. To mark the one-year anniversary of her passing, Hyong wrote 100 love notes and he, Anna, and Alex stood on the street and passed them out to strangers as they walked by. The notes chronicle the love story of Hyong and Catherine and, when read in order, tell the story of their courtship and marriage followed by their struggle with Catherine’s illness and ending with what Hyong wishes he could say to her now. 

The story received international attention in news and media outlets, and Hyong is thrilled. In addition to the physical notes that were distributed, Hyong gathered all the notes along with photos in a digital monument to Catherine’s life that can be found at 100lovenotes.com and plans to turn the project into a book to be released this year. His hope is that part of Catherine’s legacy will be to encourage people all over the world to write their own love notes and share their feelings with their loved ones before tragedy hits and it is too late.

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Newsletter,Alumni Relations,Alumni Update,School of Public Affairs
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 2135E60D-5056-AF26-BEE1DEACCAA0E9BC
Media:
newsId: 68F8F72D-5056-AF26-BEBFC19AB129B58F
Title: Alumni Board Member Found Call to Public Service at AU
Author: Kristena Stotts
Subtitle:
Abstract: Making local government a better place one program at a time.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 10/06/2015
Content:

"American University's School of Public Affairs was top 10 in the nation for their public affairs program, and I knew that's where I wanted to be," says Chris Quintyne, SPA/BA '07, of his decision to attend AU. "I was born and raised in this area, but I wanted a unique experience," he adds. Chris didn't have to wait long to find just that.

While a student as AU, Chris was a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Beta Beta Chapter. "I met amazing, lifelong friends. It was a really supportive community and I am still very active with the fraternity today," he says. 

When asked about his academic experience, he remembers the exact moment things clicked for him on AU's campus.

"Dr. Andrea Lang in SPA is the reason I became a justice major. She was very nurturing, and I could bring anything to her and receive great feedback," Chris recalls. "Any class she taught, I was taking it." 

Dr. Lang's mentorship propelled Chris to further his education past earning his bachelor's degree from AU. Chris holds a law degree and master's degree in public administration from Southern University Law Center. During his academic journey, Chris always looked for ways to either intern or work where law and policy intersect. He served as a law clerk in the Louisiana House of Representatives for the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, held internships with the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, and worked as a deputy clerk at DC Superior Court.

Chris is currently the management assistant for the town of Chevy Chase, Maryland. Previously, he served as assistant town administrator for Capitol Heights, Maryland. During that time, he served a period as acting town administrator. He ran the day-to-day operations of the town's municipal government, supervised the department heads and all staff, drafted legislation that went before the Town Council, and secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding for the town's infrastructure projects. "I think it was that experience in public service that really gave me the opportunity to utilize all of the tools that I acquired from AU and my professional degrees," says Chris. 

"AU ingrained in me a desire to pursue a career in public service by providing me the opportunity to pursue substantive work experience in government while I was a student. That experience was pivotal in shaping my career interests and the work that I am currently doing in local government," Chris shares. Now he is an Alumni Admissions Volunteer, a member of the Black Alumni Alliance, and a member of the American University Alumni Board.

When asked how he manages to balance everything on his plate, Chris reflects on what he tells both himself and students he meets: "To whom much is given, much is required. If you work hard, give back to your community, and try to be a resource to support and be helpful to other people, I believe you will find yourself in a great position."

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Board,Fraternal Organization,School of Public Affairs
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 6984D470-5056-AF26-BE1E7464391CAC79
Media:
newsId: 7CDA6A7D-5056-AF26-BE16F3942BA32244
Title: Dedicated to Diversity: Alumna is United Way’s Chief Diversity Officer
Author: Rebecca Vander Linde
Subtitle:
Abstract: Darlene Slaughter’s love of people and teaching, plus her AU degree, fuels her passion for inclusion.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 05/15/2015
Content:

“Having more diversity in the workforce will give a company or organization better results, have people collaborating better together, and ultimately impact the bottom line,” says Darlene Slaughter, SPA/MSHR ’93, who was recently named chief diversity officer at United Way Worldwide after spending many years at Fannie Mae, where she was also chief diversity officer.

The United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit organization. Its mission is to create community solutions in support of education, income, and health. United Way is engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide.

At United Way Worldwide, the leadership and support organization for the global network, Darlene is responsible for ensuring diversity and inclusion are valued both at United Way Worldwide as well as all local United Ways. She represents the United Way at conferences, highlighting its efforts to reach across cultural boundaries. She also helps recruit and develop talent for the organization and travels to local United Way offices as a guest speaker or to create a strategy if they are struggling to reach a particular community of people.

“It’s a dream job because it encompasses everything from being the classroom teacher, to helping organizations think about how they are designed, to mentoring, and being a spokesperson for the United Way. … It’s an honor,” Darlene says.

Darlene’s dedication to diversity stemmed from her lifelong desire to be a teacher. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Howard University, and although she never taught in a classroom, Darlene always found herself in jobs that required her to educate others. She loved working with and teaching people, so it only seemed natural to pursue her master’s degree in human resources and organizational development.

“You learn about organizations and systems and human behavior but ultimately, the program itself is all about you, the individual, and what role you play in the world and how you create change in the world. It was enlightening to learn about yourself and what makes you the way you are, and then how you can use yourself as a tool to help others. It’s very powerful,” she says. “You are the change agent that organizations need; that’s what the degree is all about.”

Darlene has returned to campus and spoken to current students in the program through her friendship with Professor Mark Clark. She has also mentored students she met in Professor Clark’s classroom, always happy to answer questions or offer advice. She likes to give back, she says, because, “To this day, I look back and see that the work I am doing today absolutely is informed by everything I learned at AU.”

Tags: Alumni Newsletter,Alumni Relations,Alumni Update,School of Public Affairs
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 7CEC04AE-5056-AF26-BEE92415CD30EE6C
Media:
newsId: 36042C99-5056-AF26-BEEE8CFCB357E1AE
Title: Key Alumna Helps Lead U.S. Response to Ebola and Other World Crises
Author: Rebecca Vander Linde
Subtitle:
Abstract: Mia Beers recently returned from West Africa where she helped support the U.S. government's response to Ebola.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 04/09/2015
Content:

When a catastrophic disaster hits a region of the world and the United States is sending assistance, chances are American University alumna Mia Beers, SPA/MPA '10, is a crucial piece of the puzzle. 

This past year, she says, has seen an unusually high amount of disasters, which means that instead of staying in D.C. to coordinate the government response, Mia and many other USAID staff have been deployed in the field.

In November and December of 2014, Mia was asked to lead the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) tasked with helping coordinate and support the U.S. government's response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Mia was based in Liberia but oversaw teams on the ground in that country as well as Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Mali.

As team leader, she worked in partnership with the CDC, U.S. Public Health Service, and Department of Defense to provide treatment units, medical supplies such as personal protective equipment, and direct funding to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and United Nations agencies. Her team also provided critical information to teams on the ground and the media, monitoring the outbreak and reporting on the evolving situation.

"There is a really incredible group of people from the U.S. government -– USAID and other agencies –- responding to Ebola in West Africa," Mia says. "I was just one of many people working on the response. The United States should be proud of its efforts in West Africa."

In any given year, USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance will send humanitarian aid to people on behalf of U.S. citizens in response to between 60 and 80 disasters. Four major efforts at the moment include: helping West Africa respond to Ebola, aiding those affected by the South Sudan conflict, working with victims of the Syrian conflict, and assisting displaced populations in Iraq.

When she isn't part of the on-the-ground response, Mia heads USAID's Humanitarian Policy and Global Engagement team, which supports U.S. disaster assistance. Her team helps with strategic communication and information dissemination, facilitates inter-agency relationships, coordinates funding, and makes policy recommendations to the U.S. government and United Nations.

Mia's interest in international affairs was sparked during her undergraduate education. After graduating from George Washington University, she got a job in Africa. "I thought I would be overseas for a short time; so did my family, but [while working for CARE in Somalia] I 'got the bug,' and didn't officially come home until 14 years later," she says. During those years, Mia worked for NGOs and USAID.

"I loved working in the field with an NGO having direct contact with communities, and when I moved to the U.S. government, I was really drawn to public service. ... My colleagues and I are proud of what we do. To say you are part of the U.S. disaster response and represent the American people is pretty amazing," she says.

When she returned to the U.S., Mia wanted to "to become an extraordinary leader -- one who inspires people to do their best and willing to take more risks." A recipient of the Donald G. Zauderer Scholarship, she enjoyed learning from her fellow students in the Key Executive Leadership Program at AU. 

"You learn from the faculty but also from each other. I learned as much from other federal managers as I learned from professors because we had so many shared experiences," she recalls.

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Newsletter,Alumni Relations,Alumni Update,Key Executive Leadership Program,School of Public Affairs
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 36271E4F-5056-AF26-BEF177F3D2103720
Media:
newsId: 5D2A405D-5056-AF26-BE0F44BC32DC6F9E
Title: SPA Alumna Makes Career Move to University of California, Berkeley
Author: Kristena Wright
Subtitle:
Abstract: Rosemarie Rae, SPA/MPA ‘09, joins the higher education field after more than 30 years in the non-profit sector.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/11/2015
Content:

Rosemarie Rae, SPA/MPA '09, was recently named associate vice chancellor of finance and chief financial officer at the University of California, Berkeley. As a graduate of AU's public administration and Key Executive Leadership programs in 2009, Rosemarie actually started her graduate work late in her career. "I was in my mid-forties when I joined cohort 36. It was career- and life-changing. But I do contribute the experience I had at American University as a direct link to where I am now," she says.

Coming up on her one-year anniversary at UC Berkeley, Rosemarie actually spent the last 15 to 20 years in the nonprofit sector. "I used a lot of my research experience from my cohort," she says. "So many of the things I learned have really proven to be cornerstones of what guides my work today. I spend most of my time at Berkley in strategic conversation, and I really learned the art of strategic thinking from professor Robert Tobias, director of business development for the key executive leadership program, and other AU professors," Rosemarie adds.

Rosemarie shares that most of her current work is related to finance. Her undergraduate degree is in accounting;she sat for CPA exam and passed, and this has helped her tremendously over the years. However, the brunt of her work focuses on the alignment with other C-level executives at Berkeley and how they think about resource allocations. Additionally, they spend a vast amount of time figuring out the best use of their limited resources and how it supports the institution's strategic vision. 

Prior to beginning at Berkeley, Rosemarie served as the chief financial and administrative officer of The National Trust for Historic Preservation as well as executive vice president, chief strategy officer, and CFO at Volunteers of America. Berkeley is her first job in higher education. She says, "My nonprofit experience was similar in nature to higher education, so I felt well prepared."

Before her career change, Rosemarie went back to graduate school at AU for herself. She says, "I'm originally from the east coast, and I was eager to be in an academic setting and have an opportunity to learn and explore new ideas. It was far more rewarding than I ever thought it would be."

Her advice to students is the same advice she gives now as an administrator: "You have to realize that people really do want to help you. Whether it be your professors or your peers, tap into the resources that are offered to you. Mentorship is a great thing, professors are great, but think beyond the professor to someone who is in your field. Build your career by taking an interest in a range of things that will be helpful for career advancement," she says.

Her final thought for students, "Take a leadership role every chance you get, you'll need to strengthen that muscle if you want to be in a place of power in your future."

Tags: Alumni,Key Executive Leadership Program,School of Public Affairs
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 5F9CCEE6-5056-AF26-BEA7AB79BB9FDBF0
Media:
newsId: 1F3AC7BE-5056-AF26-BE288BE1D599F4AB
Title: SPA Alumnus Takes Student Leadership to the National Level
Author: Karli Kloss, SIS/MA '15
Subtitle:
Abstract: The National Campus Leadership Council connects student policymakers across the country.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 02/13/2015
Content:

From AU Student Government president to executive director and cofounder of the National Campus Leadership Council, Andy MacCracken, SPA/BA ’11, SPA/MA ’14, has shown a deep commitment to addressing the most pressing concerns facing this generation’s college students. 

At NCLC, Andy and his staff empower student body presidents and their teams to collaborate and tackle major issues like sexual assault, student load debt, student veterans’ affairs, and access to mental health services. NCLC connects these groups to other campuses, policymakers, and the media while providing technical assistance and professional skills trainings to ensure they are effectively lobbying for change. 

Right now, NCLC is running campus outreach for the White House’s “It’s On Us” campaign to stop campus sexual assaults. Working with approximately 300 campuses, NCLC’s role is to support the work students are already doing around education and prevention. 

Speaking of the White House, last year Andy had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to introduce President Obama ahead of the president’s remarks about executive actions that would support federal student loan borrowers. He also visited the White House as a panelist for the “It’s On Us” campaign. 

Andy served as AU’s Student Government president during his junior year. Following, he was involved with different efforts to facilitate greater collaboration among student leaders regionally and nationally. As some of those efforts began to merge into each other, Andy decided it was time to turn this side project into a full-time career.  

“A lot of what I learned in the SPA Leadership Program, Campaign Management Institute, and Public Affairs Advocacy Institute shaped my approach to starting my organization. Each of those programs are top notch in developing critical thinking and mission-focused strategy on top of hands-on experience,” Andy says. 

NCLC’s role in the higher education community continues to grow, as it hosts national student leader summits in collaboration with the White House. Students today face many issues, from employment gaps to soaring student debt, and Andy says NCLC is committed to opening dialogue and access between student leaders and policymakers. 

Tags: Alumni,School of Public Affairs
Suggested Home Page:
Profile:
Photos: 0
Success Story Photos: 1FC9A1F4-5056-AF26-BEBFEB99FA2ED1C8
Media: