Month: May 2017

Congratulations 2017 DPP Graduates!

Graduates prepare for ceremonyDr. Joshua Hyman speaks during 2017 graduation ceremonyMelissa Sienna, MPA 2017 graduate, speaks during 2017 graduation ceremonyGraduates and audience cheer after awarding of degreesGraduates, family and friends, faculty, staff and alumni mingle after ceremony.

On Friday, May 5, 2017, the Department of Public Policy proudly honored the accomplishments of our 2017 graduates with a ceremony and reception held at The Front Street Bistro and Spotlight Theatres in Hartford.  Degrees were bestowed on fifty-three graduates with thirty-four receiving a Master of Public Administration, nine receiving a Master of Public Policy (our newest degree) and ten receiving a Master of Arts in Survey Research.

The event also recognized a number of academic award recipients.  Two teams earned the Best Capstone Award in Causal Program Evaluation:  Group A (Maria Coman, Timothy Hanser and Thomas Mathews), and Group B (Nicholas Arace, Daniel Gregory and Su-Teng Kuan.  The Best Capstone Award in Applied Management Project was presented to the Northwest Community Center team (Richard Coore, Joel DiLoreto, Brian Luther, Sara Nagle, Carrie Norris, Melissa Sienna and Matthew Streeter).  The Mort Tenzer Award, given to meritorious students entering the MPA program, was presented to Austin Murray.  Melissa Sienna received the MPA Academic Excellence Award and Kristina Swindell received the GPSR Academic Excellence Award.  The Albert Ilg Award, given to a student with outstanding dedication and commitment in the area of local government administration, was presented to Brian Luther.  Rachna Kaul received the David B. Walker Award; this award honors a student in the MPA program who exemplifies tireless dedication to public service.  In addition, the twenty-six new inductees of the Pi Pi Alpha Honors Society were recognized for their academic achievement.

The event included inspiring remarks by Dr. Josh Hyman, Assistant Professor and the 2017 Department of Public Policy Distinguished Professor award recipient, and Melissa Sienna, recipient of the MPA Academic Excellence Award.  Participating in the presentation of the graduates were Candace Fitzpatrick, MPA 2006; Mark Robbins, Ph.D., Professor and Department Head; Deneen Hatmaker, Ph.D., MPA and MPP Director; and Jennifer Dineen, Ph.D., GPSR Director.

Congratulations to the 2017 Graduates and best wishes as you begin your new careers!

DPP Students Attend NASPAA-Batten Simulation Competition


Three Department of Public Policy graduate students participated in the 2017 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation on Food Security.  MPA students Fabia Firoze and Harrison Fregeau and MPP student Yizhu attended competitions at George Mason and Columbia University. This year NASPAA partnered with the University of Virginia’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy to host a student simulation in eight sites across the globe offering attendees the opportunity to participate in the competition with fellow public administration/public policy students from around the world.

Nearly 400 graduate students in public policy and management from around the world traveled to eight university locations (Maastricht, New York City, Washington D.C. area, Indianapolis, Bogotá, Phoenix, Seattle, and Beijing) to compete in a one-day immersive computer simulation that challenged them to advance global food security. Students from different schools were mixed onto teams of 16-20, where they bonded as members of staff of a fictional global non-governmental organization (NGO) committed to reduce global hunger in five world regions. They analyzed data, made policy proposals, reacted the computer simulation results, drafted memos with recommendations, and presented their strategy recommendations to teams of local site judges.

The simulation focused on Food Security and the worldwide effort to address UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 (end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture, by 2030). Site judges selected winners from among the teams competing. The top winner at each of the eight sites then advanced to four distinguished “super judges” for an electronic review of videos and written material produced on the day of the competition. Super judges included Steve Cohen (Executive Director, Earth Institute), Josette Sheeran (former Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme), Anand Desai (Section Head of Evaluation and Assessment, National Science Foundation), and Mahfuz Ahmed (Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, Asian Development Bank). Fabia’s team at George Mason University were regional winners.

“I believe this experience gave me a holistic approach in addressing food security issues around the world. I was also saddened to learn that regions such as West Africa suffer the most from lack of food security. If they do not receive help from other countries, it will be impossible to alleviate poverty in those regions. As students pursuing a career in public service we should think more about addressing food security issues,” said Fabia.

While participating in the simulations, the DPP students learned the importance of negotiation and conflict resolution skills in reaching consensus on policy implementation; community-based approaches in each region of the world are essential in addressing food security issues and new technological innovations to raise food production are necessary to improve overall food security worldwide.

Fabia, Harrison and Yizhu plan to apply what they have learned from this experience to real life food security challenges. Both Fabia and Yizhu are looking forward to attending the event again next year.

For more information on the competition click here

Jason Jakubowski Receives 2017 MPA Distinguished Alumni Award


Jason Jakubowski received 2017 MPA Distinguished Alumni AwardJason Jakubowski Receives 2017 MPA Distinguished Alumni Award

Jason Jakubowski, Vice President of External Relations, Hospital for Special Care (HSC), was honored with the 2017 MPA Distinguished Alumni Award at a gathering of Department of Public Policy alumni, faculty and staff at Real Art Ways in Hartford, on Thursday, April 6, 2017.

Prior to joining HSC, Jason worked as the Director of Corporate & Community Development at Charter Oak State College, where he still teaches courses in Political Science and Public Administration. He also serves on the adjunct faculty at the Central Connecticut State University.

A New Britain native, Jason holds both a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Connecticut. He was elected twice to the New Britain City Council and served two terms as City Treasurer. In 2012, he served as one of Connecticut’s seven Presidential Electors for Barack Obama.

Jason is a dedicated supporter and promoter of the MPA program and the work of the Department of Public Policy.  He is a longstanding member of the MPA Alumni Council who offers his time to the organization and guidance to MPA students.  Jason served as the emcee for DPP’s 40th Anniversary Celebration in 2012, has presented seminars and chaired panel discussions offered to DPP students and participates as an interviewer in our annual Student Mock Interview Night.

In addition, Jason serves as Chairman of the Board at Community Health Resources, Vice Chair of the Board at Leadership Greater Hartford, and he serves on the boards of both the Middlesex County and Greater New Britain Chambers of Commerce. In 2010 he served on the Transition Team for Governor Dannel P. Malloy, and in 2008 he was named one of the region’s “40 Under 40” by the Hartford Business Journal.  Jason currently lives in West Hartford with his wife and five children. He is an avid supporter of the West Hartford Public School System and a longtime coach with the West Hartford Youth Baseball League.

Along with celebrating Jason’s honor, event guests had the opportunity to hear from Sean Fitzpatrick, Director of the Department of Development Services for the City of Hartford.  Sean spoke of a number of new projects under development in Hartford noting new railway service from Hartford to New York, businesses outside of Connecticut looking to relocate to Hartford and the boom of available apartments across the city.  He also spoke about the very exciting opening of the UConn Downtown Hartford Campus in August, the new home of the Department of Public Policy.

Pi Pi Alpha Annual Meeting and Induction of New Members

Pi Pi Alpha ceremony attendees

On April 19, 2017, at the Town and County Club in Hartford, Pi Pi Alpha, the honors society for graduate professional students in public administration and public policy, proudly inducted 26 new members.  The purpose of Pi Pi Alpha is to encourage and recognize outstanding academic achievement and to support graduate public service education.  The honors society hosts and sponsors events that bring alumni and current students together, such as the annual Mock Interview Night, the Faculty/Alumni Meet and Greet for new students and the Annual Induction Ceremony and Business Meeting.

The evening’s special guest speaker was Atty. Eva Jacobson, UConn School of Law 2016 and MPA alumna 2014, from Lawyers Without Borders. Eva has established a career of pursuing and promoting human rights throughout the world.  She spoke of her experiences running programs for refugee children from Nepal and Burma, teaching English to children in Thailand and as volunteer and professional legal advocate for immigrants and refugees.  She also shared her current work with Lawyers Without Borders where she runs a program training lawyers, prosecutors and judges about human trafficking including her recent trip to Tanzania in this pursuit.

Along with our special inductee, Eva Jacobson, DPP welcomes the following 2017 Inductees:

Arthur Atkin Timothy Hanser Sara Nagle
David Barkin Jessica Inacio Hanna Nagy
Danielle Bergmann Michael Izadi Carrie Norris
Jonilda Brahimi Su-Teng Kuan Eric Smith
Sadie Colcord Michael Lepore Samantha Sokoloski
Maria Coman Andrew Ludwig Paul West
Alessia Degrazia Brian Luther Christopher Whitten
Harrison Fregeau Thomas Matthews Emily Wilson
Daniel Gregory Austin Murray

Congratulations to the Pi Pi Alpha Council 2017-2018:

Blaize Levitan President
Douglas Shipman Vice President
Anthony Naples Secretary
Natalie Laven Treasurer
Sara Nagle Membership Chair