Month: November 2019

Melissa McCaw Named a Women of Distinction in Connecticut

Melissa McCaw Named a Women of Distinction in Connecticut

Melissa McCaw
Melissa McCaw, Secretary of OPM (photo credit: Brad Horrigan / Hartford Courant)

The Hartford Courant recently named Melissa McCaw, MPA 2014 a “Women of Distinction in Connecticut”. McCaw was one of thirty women selected this year based on her contributions in making a “…significant difference in the life of [her] community”. Currently, McCaw is the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) for the Lamont Administration. In her role, she is responsible for the policy, planning, budgeting, and management of state government. She has been in the role for just over a year, taking office on January 9th in 2019. 

McCaw, a lifelong Connecticut resident, previously served the City of Hartford community as the Chief Financial Officer and Director of Budget Management & Grants. She also worked as the Budget Director for the University of Hartford, and began her career as a Budget Specialist with the Health and Human Services and General Government at OPM.

Weekly Recap: It’s Still Time For A Turkey-Thirty

Weekly Recap: It’s Still Time For A Turkey-Thirty

Before we left for Thanksgiving Recess, here at the Department of Public Policy (DPP) we traveled around Connecticut and to Tampa, Florida!

  • On Monday, we hosted a Fast-Track and Survey Research online information session. Our final session for the semester is December 11th at 8:30am. To RSVP please see our information session page.
  • Monday night GAPPS-ICMA also hosted their Friendsgiving celebration! Be on the lookout for a photo from the event later this week!
  • Tuesday we spoke with students at UConn Avery Point and UConn Hartford! At Avery Point, we participated in Career Conversations and spoke about opportunities related to environmental policy and healthcare. In Hartford, we participated in the Volunteer Fair and talked about the work DPP students and alums are doing in our community.
  • Associate Professor Kerri Raissian co-presented with Assistant Professor Megan Feeley of UConn School of Social Work and Ph.D. Candidate Kelley Fong of Harvard Sociology on Wednesday at the CT Data Conference. The trio shared how they use micro and macro data to challenge assumptions about child maltreatment.
  • The week ended with Assistant Professor Yusun Kim attending the National Tax Association Conference in Tampa, Florida from November 21-23, 2019. Professor Kim presented on “Estimating Returns to Scale in Property Assessment Coordination Among Local Jurisdictions in New York” with Professor Yilin Hou and Professor John M. Yinger from Syracuse University.

The Week Ahead:

  • This week the students are on break for Thanksgiving Recess, but our offices will remain open through Thursday! We will be back with another weekly recap that looks ahead next Monday.
Three people standing with turkey hats
UConn DPP student Haley Turner, MPP 2020 helping with Turkey Thirty Fundraising at her IPP at Goodwin College

In the meantime, we encourage you to participate in Foodshare’s Turkey Thirty! 2020 MPP Haley Turner Gillman helped to collect funds and turkeys at her internship at Goodwin College last week. CEO and President of Foodshare Jason Jakubowski, MPA 2001 has been all across Connecticut platforms reminding us all about food insufficiency in Connecticut, and the impact our donations can have on families across Connecticut. To help Foodshare reach it’s goal of 15,000 turkeys and $450,000 please see their website.

The DPP faculty and staff would also like to wish every member of the DPP Network from students, to alumni, to community partners, and collaborators a Happy Thanksgiving!

DPP Faculty Conference Recap: Fall 2019


DPP Faculty Conference Recap: Fall 2019

Fabiola Bachinelo, MPA 19' and Professor Mark Robbins at NASPAA
Fabiola Bachinelo, MPA 19′ and Professor Mark Robbins at NASPAA

This semester UConn DPP Department Head, Dr. Mohamad Alkadry, Director of Communications for the CT Office of the State Comptroller, Tara Downes (MPA Fellow 20’), and Assistant State Comptroller Michelle Gilman presented their findings on “The Connecticut State Workforce: An Analysis of Representations and Compensation Equity Across Gender and Race-Ethnicity” across the state at various presentations. The trio presented at the Legislative Office Building in September and at Central Connecticut State University’s “Overcoming Gender Pay Inequity in Connecticut” forum in November. DPP alum Veronica T. DeLandro also spoke, and current MPP student Caleb Pittman helped moderate. 

At the end of September, Professor Eric Brunner, Professor Mark D. Robbins, Professor Bill Simonsen and Assistant Professor Yusun Kim attended the Association for Budgeting & Financial Management (ABFM) Annual Conference in Washington D.C. During the conference, Professor Simonsen and Assistant Professor Kim presented papers. Professor Robbins presented an award. 

We kicked off October with Associate Professor Kerri Raissian presenting research on the connection between poverty and child maltreatment. Professor Raissian presented with UConn School of Social Work Assistant Professor Megan Feely at the Department of Children and Families/ Community Support for Families Annual Meeting.

In mid-October, the DPP headed to the 50th Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California. Both faculty and staff presented on

 a variety of topics, which can be recapped in our NASPAA 2019 Instagram post. MPA 2019 Fabiola Bachinelo was also in attendance. Fabiola accepted an Accreditation Associate position with NASPAA earlier this year.

At the end of October, Distinguished Visiting Professor and Interim Director of the Sustainable Global Cities Initiative (SCGI) Dr. Robert Wilson attended the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA. SCGI launched earlier this semester as a university-wide interdisciplinary research unit that examines cities across the globe and develops new models of democratic, health, and sustainable urban life in partnership with public and private organizations.

We started November with Director of Nonprofit Leadership, Internships & Partnerships, and Encore!Connecticut Dr. David Garvey attending the CT Nonprofit Alliance Annual Conference in Hartford.

Mid-way through November Professor Brunner and Assistant Professor Kim presented at the Association of Public Policy Analysis & Management’s (APPAM) 41st Annual Conference in Denver, CO. 

We concluded November and the semester with Dr. Raissian co-presenting with Dr. Feely and PhD. Candidate Kelley Fong of Harvard Sociology at the CT Data Conference. The trio shared how they use micro and macro data to challenge assumptions about child maltreatment. Assistant Professor Kim also presented at the National Tax Association (NTA) Conference in Tampa, FL.

Jessica Weaver Named to Newington’s Board of Education

Jessica Weaver Named to Newington’s Board of Education

Jessica Weaver and Michelle Obama
Jessica Weaver and Michelle Obama

In 2018, Jessica Weaver, MPP 2020 voiced her sister’s difficulty in enrolling in Advanced Placement Science courses to a mentor. This conversation inspired her to run for a seat on Newington’s Board of Education. Earlier this month she became one of the newest members of Newington Board of Education.  

Weaver credits her MPP education with teaching her to talk about policy in a “productive and critical way”. Currently she is completing her Internship and Professional Practice (IPP) internship with YWCA Hartford Region where she works as an Advocacy and Legislative Intern. At her internship, Jess studies K-12 funding and the effectiveness of current educational funding. She is also a member of the Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corps in Hartford. Earlier today, Weaver was featured in a Daily Campus article regarding her selection to the Board.

Weekly Recap: Data and Communication in the Workplace


Weekly Recap: Data and Communication in the Workplace

Our professional development seminars were in full swing last this week!

  • On Wednsesday, students and alumni heard from Lindsey Leininger, Clinical Professor of Business Administration at the Tucks School of Business at Dartmouth College. Dr. Leininger discussed with students what it means to be a Data Translator and how they can best facilitate data work in leadership roles.
  • Dr. Leininger concluded her visit with the DPP on Thursday by presenting her work on health care experiences and expenses of vulnerable, high-need populations.
  • Also on Thursday, District Director for New Britain Congresswoman Jahana Hayes Veronica T. DeLandro (MPA 2015), MPA Fellow and Communications Director for the CT Office of the State Comptroller Tara Downes (MPA 2020), and our Department Head, Mohamad Alkadry, spoke at Central Connecticut State University’s forum Overcoming Gender Pay Inequality. The all-day forum was held on Thursday at Central Connecticut State University.
    Alyssa Carboni, MPA 2015
    Alyssa Carboni, MPA 2015
    • Tara spoke on a panel entitled “The Status of Pay Equity in Connecticut”
    • Veronica and Mohamad spoke during a forum entitled “Overcoming Gender Pay Inequality”
  • Anita Ford Saunders, Director of Advancement Communications, Trinity College, and Lloyd Duggan, Jr., President, gL Marketing Consultants, rounded out the week with their full-day session Connecting with Your Stakeholders: A long-Term Buy-In and A Cultivated Mutual Relationship. The session is part of the DPP’s Public Service Executive Leadership Collaborative.
  • This week in alumni news: We congratulated DPP Alum Alyssa Carboni (MPA ’15) on Thursday for recently accepting a position as Post Award Research Manager with Yale School of Medicine.

Coming Up This Week:

  • Survey Research Info Session – Tonight, November 18, 2019 from 6:00pm – 6:30pm, Online
  • GAPPS-ICMA “Friendsgiving” tonight from 6:30-8PM.
  • UConn Avery Point Career Conversations, November 19, 2019 from 12:00pm – 2:00pm
  • UConn Volunteer Fair, November 19, 2019 from 12:00-1:30 pm, Hartford Public Library

Nicole Tomassetti Named to the City of Meriden’s Town Council


Nicole Tomassetti Named to the City of Meriden’s Town Council

Nicole Tomasetti
Nicole Tomasetti, Meriden Town Council

Nicole Tomassetti, MPP 2018 was just named to the City of Meriden’s Town Council garnering 57.5% of the vote in Area Two. A lifelong resident of Meriden, Tomasetti’s family has been serving the community since the 1880’s. She currently works as a Lobbying Associate for Capitol Strategies Group. 

Tomassetti ran on a platform in support of the Board of Education and public school system, and hopes to restore the Neighborhood Initiative Unit, which fosters community and police relations. She hopes to encourage economic growth through new businesses in Meriden, and looks to bring young people and their families into the city. 

In an Op-Ed in the Record Journal, Tomassetti credits her MPP for preparing her for this new role. She wrote, “…I believe the education I received while pursuing my master’s degree in public policy allows me to bring a unique but much needed perspective to the Meriden City Council. I have the training to evaluate policy costs and outcomes, as well as the skills necessary to interpret municipal budgets and understand the public budget process. Additionally, my degree’s background in public administration has equipped me with the people and administrative skills necessary for being an effective elected official. I understand conflict resolution and I know how to work with others to achieve a common goal.”

Earlier this semester, Nicole participated on a DPP alumni career panel.

Relaunch of Encore!Connecticut


Relaunch of Encore!Connecticut

Employment in CT Nonprofits, Encore!Connecticut, Paycheck with a Purpose

Coming March 2020, Encore!Hartford and Encore!Fairfield are relaunching as Encore!Connecticut. The redesign is changing to a Saturday format in order to be more accessible to individuals with varying goals. Individuals seeking immediate employment, and those currently working but planning for a career change, can both engage and benefit from this nationally recognized nonprofit career program located at UConn Hartford. 

The focus of Encore!Connecticut is to assist corporate and public sector professionals transition their skill-sets and experience into successful professional and managerial opportunities (paid and/or volunteer) in the Connecticut nonprofit sector. The program is designed to leverage your professional experience and prepare you for life in the nonprofit arena, whether it is as a strongly engaged volunteer or an employee.

The relaunch kickoff for the next cohort occurred at the Connecticut Takes the Lead: Inter-Generational Leaps in Employment and Education forum. Moderated by Marci Alboher of, this forum addressed Connecticut’s increasingly multi-generational workplace, and how this environment creates opportunities to build on our generational strengths. The three panels and corresponding panelists are noted below.

    • Panel one, “Generation2Generation” addressed how Connecticut Public Schools are invigorating K-12 learning with inter-generational inclusion.
      • Dr. Christopher Clouet, Superintendent, Shelton, CT
      • Fran Rabinowitz, Executive Director, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPPS)
      • James Thompson, Jr., Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools, Town of Bloomfield, CT
    • Panel two, “Manufacturing: A Second Act” engaged AARP CT and Connecticut’s colleges and high schools and how they are teaming up to take a multifaceted, inter-generational approach to meet the needs of Connecticut’s thriving manufacturing industry. 
      • Marilyn Diaz, AARP CT Executive Council
      • Melanie Hoben, Director of Workforce Development, Goodwin College
      • Richard DuPont, Director of Community & Campus Relations, Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, Housatonic Community College
    • Panel three, “What is Your Encore” allowed Encore!Connecticut alums to take the stage and talk about how they took their corporate skills and experience to impactful managerial and professional careers in Connecticut’s multi-generational nonprofit sector.
      • Joan Barere, Encore ’13 was an Attorney is now the Director of the Office of Grants Administration & Strategic Partnerships for the City of Hartford
      • Roy Mainelli, Encore ’13 was a UTC Director and is now the Director of Career Pathways Employment Program for Journey Home
      • Kathleen Kiley, Encore ’16 was Journalist and is now the Communications Manager for the Grace Farms Foundations
      • Nancy Brennan, Encore ‘12 was an Insurance Vice President and is now the Senior Vice President & Regional Director of the National Executive Service Corps



Weekly Recap: Voting and Public Service

Weekly Recap: Voting and Public Service

On this Veterans Day, the Department of Public Policy (DPP) would like to thank all of the military Veterans for their service! Thank you for protecting our freedoms!

The DPP celebrated our alumni, current students, and made lots of new friends last week.

  • Our GAPPS-ICMA Chapter met on Monday, 11/04 and discussed fundraisers, DPP swag, and plans for next semester. They are also hosting a “Friendsgiving” pot-luck on Monday, November 18th. For more info on this next event, please email
  • Tuesday was an eventful outreach day on the Hartford and Storrs Campuses. Current student Lena Nagorna tabled for the department in the UConn Hartford atrium and talked to many prospective Fast Track students. It was also Election Day! The DPP encouraged people to serve their communities at the polls and with a masters! Information sessions on both campuses garnered lots of interested students for the Fast Track, MPP, and MPA programs.
  • On Wednesday, DPP staff attended the CT Nonprofit Alliance Annual Conference. The conference provided our staff with great networking opportunities and a chance to hear from nonprofit leaders from around the state.
  • On Wednesday, we received news that Nicole Tomasetti, MPA ’18, won a seat on the Meriden City Council and Jessica Weaver, MPP ’20, won a seat on the Newington School Board.
  • In Denver, Colorado, the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) held their 41st Annual Conference from Thursday to Saturday . The conference brings together professionals and institutions from around the globe and invites them to present research on the topic of public policy and management. Professor Eric Brunner and Assistant Professor Yusun Kim both presented their research for conference attendees.

The holiday’s are quickly approaching, and DPP alum Jason Jakubowski is officially on the hunt for turkeys! The President and CEO of Foodshare recently spoke with Scott Haney regarding the Turkey+30. Foodshare is looking to raise 15,059 turkeys and $451,770 by Thanksgiving. To learn more or donate please visit Foodshare’s website.

Next Week:

  • Wednesday, November 13th: Becoming Analytics Translators from 2:30pm – 4:00pm in HTB 220
  • Thursday, November 14th:
    • Speaker Series with Dr. Lindsey Leininger from 12:00pm – 2:00pm in HTB 216
    • Research & The Free Press: Strengthening Democracy Together from 5:30pm – 8:00pm on the HTB 2nd Floor Landing
  • Friday, November 15th: Connecting with Your Stakeholders from 9:00am – 4:00pm in HTB 227

Big Data, Careers, and Economic Growth: Fall 2019 Professional Development

Big Data, Careers, and Economic Growth: Fall 2019 Professional Development

Alumni Panels

Ashley Bodamer, Yahaira Escribano, Phil Hnatowicz, Andrew Bolger, Jameson Foulke
Alumni Career Panel: Ashley Bodamer, Yahaira Escribano, Phil Hnatowicz, Andrew Bolger, Jameson Foulke

The DPP kicked of professional development for the 2019-2020 academic year with two alumni panels in October. Panelists shared how they chose their program, the skill sets they utilize from the DPP everyday, and the DPP resources they utilized to be successful.  Our panels consisted of 2018 and 2019 graduates including:

  • Ashley Bodamer (MPA 18’) a Program Manager for Hartford Healthcare
  • Andrew Bolger (MPP 18′)  a Data and Research Analyst for Connecticut Housing Finance Authority
  • Yahaira Escribano (MPA 19’) a Partner Program Coordinator for Foodshare
  • Jameson Foulke (MPA 18′) a Special Assistant to Senator Christopher Murphy
  • Philip Hnatowicz (MPP 18′) a Marketing Associate for Fiduciary Investment Advisors, LLC
  • Josh Kelly (MPA 19’) the Town Administrator for the Town of Bolton
  • Nicole Tomassetti (MPP 18’) a Lobbying Associate for Capitol Strategies Group

“Five Steps to Accelerate Economic Growth in Connecticut

Moderated by Jay Williams, the President of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, this luncheon had both panelists and reactors discuss the initiatives Connecticut should take to accelerate economic growth.

  • The panel included economist Peter Gioia from CT Business and Industry Association, State Budget Report Keith Phaneuf from CT Mirror, and Interim Dean David Souder from UConn School of Business. 
  • Reactors included 9th House District Chair of the Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee Representative Jason Rojas, Deputy Commissioner of the CT Department of Economic and Community Development Glendowlyn Thames, and Vice- President of Budderfly Inc. and Past President CT Technology Matthew Nemerson.

21st Century Job Search

UConn DPP alum and global human resource executive Anne Alzapiedi hosted a professional development seminar on navigating the “21st Century Job Search”. Anne’s human resource experience as the Senior Human Resource Leader for GE Capital Operations and Information Technology have made her a popular resource among our students and alumni. 

Data Translation

Dr. Lindsey Leininger, a Clinical Professor of Business Administration at the Tucks School of Business at Dartmouth College visited the DPP in order to talk about what it means to be a “Data Translator”. She discussed how our students and alumni can best facilitate data work in leadership roles. During her stay, she also presented her work on health care experiences and expenses of vulnerable, high-need populations. 

Weekly Recap: Engaging Communities About Sustainability and Economic Growth


Weekly Recap: Engaging Communities About Sustainability and Economic Growth

Last week with the DPP:

Two tables, each with three panelists, and a moderator at the podium
Five Steps to Accelerate Economic Growth in Connecticut panel
  • We kicked off Monday 10/28 with a launch celebration for the Sustainable Global Cities Initiative. Our distinguished visiting professor, Robert Wilson, is the Interim Director for this project, which is an interdisciplinary approach to researching and examining the challenges of cities and city life in Connecticut and beyond.
  • On Thursday, 10/31, the Department had an information table in the Hartford Campus Atrium where they talked with prospective Fast Track students.
  • Thursday was also a great day for our DPP Professional Development Series. The Five Steps to Accelerate Economic Growth in Connecticut panel discussion was a huge hit! The panels panels were moderated by Jay Williams, President, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Thank you to all who participated and attended the event!
    • The two panels featured:
      • Peter Gioia, Chief Economist, PGEcon LLC
      • Keith Phaneuf, State Budget Reporter, CT Mirror
      • David Souder, Interim Dean, UConn School of Business
      • Representative Jason Rojas, 9th House District, Chair, Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee
      • Glendowlyn Thames, Deputy Commissioner, CT Department of Economic and Community Development
      • Matthew Nemerson, Vice-President, Budderfly Inc. and Past President, CT Technology
  • Friday 11/01 was the last day to apply for the spring semester. We look forward to reviewing all applicants!
  • The DPP also welcomed Anne Alzapiedi, HR Professional with GE Global and MPA alumna, on Friday to share her knowledge and experience with students for our 21st Century Job Search Professional Development Seminar.


Coming up this week with the DPP:

  • Monday, 11/04: GAPPS-ICMA Meeting 3:00 pm in DPP Seminar Room, 406
  • Tuesday, 11/05 is Election Day! Get involved with public service not just through your Masters with the DPP but also with your vote!
  • Also on Tuesday: MPA/MPP Info Sessions:
    • Storrs Campus: 12:30PM at Homer Babbidge Library, Class of 1947 Room
    • Hartford Campus: 12:30PM in HTB 209
  • CT Nonprofit Alliance is hosting their Annual Nonprofit Conference at the CT Convention Center on Wednesday, November 6. Look for photos and recap from our Outreach Coordinator Lian Kish and Program Director David Garvey.
  • Saturday, November 9: A Conversation with Spike Lee, 7:30 pm at the Bushnell. Students can purchase up to two tickets for $10 each when you call the Forum to order them at 860-987-5900.