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SPA Welcomes New Faculty in the 2020-21 Academic Year

New Faculty for 2020-21

The School of Public Affairs (SPA) at American University is pleased to announce the addition of eight new faculty members to the school in academic year 2020-21. They are:

Diana Burley: Diana Burley is American University’s new vice provost for research and professor of Public Administration and Policy at SPA. Her research takes a holistic perspective on cybersecurity, including the strategic development of the cybersecurity workforce, the relationship between technical and human factors, and methods for strengthening cybersecurity posture across a range of institutions.

Laura Paler: Laura Paler will be an associate professor of government at SPA. She specializes in comparative politics, the political economy of development, and political behavior. She conducts large-scale field research projects and has worked in several countries, including Indonesia, Colombia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Lebanon.

Silvia Kim: Silvia Kim joins SPA as an assistant professor of government after receiving her PhD from the California Institute of Technology in 2020. Her research is in American Politics and Political Methodology, with a focus on political behavior (registration/turnout/campaign contributions), working with large voter files, and Federal Election Commission datasets.

David Schwegman: David Schwegman joins SPA as an assistant professor of Public Administration and Policy after receiving his Ph.D. from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. During the 2020-21 academic year, he will be an associate fellow in the Office of Evaluation Sciences in the General Services Administration.

John Reeder: John Reeder is an Executive in Residence at SPA. He served over 30 years at the US Environmental Protection Agency, most recently as deputy chief of staff. Mr. Reeder held several positions throughout EPA, including special assistant in EPA's Office of Water, director of EPA's environmental cleanups at federal Superfund sites, and director of EPA's Office of Congressional Affairs.

Selika Josiah Talbott: Selika Josiah Talbott joins SPA as an Executive-in-Residence for Public Administration and Policy. From autonomous vehicles to politics she has written and spoken about public policy regarding transportation and technology and provided strategic assistance for transportation associations and companies. Selika was formerly the Deputy Administrator for the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission in charge of all operations for state services, the Director of Field Operations for the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and has over 18 years’ experience as an attorney litigator.

Melissa Noel: Melissa Noel joins SPA as a post-doctoral fellow for the 2020-21 academic year. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Albany School of Criminal Justice in 2020 and focuses her research on children of incarcerated parents.

Michael R. Fisher Jr.: Michael R. Fisher Jr. joins SPA as a post-doctoral fellow for the 2020-21 academic year. He is on leave from San Jose State University, where he is an assistant professor of African American Studies. His areas of specialization are in Black religion and cultural studies, ethics and public policy, race and socio-economic inequity, and urban and economic development.