Author: Gillman, Haley

Celebrating the Class of 2020

Join us in Celebrating the Class of 2020!

Congratulations to all our graduates! Over the past few years, you have put in valiant efforts in your courses, made new connections, and gained invaluable experiences in the public and nonprofit fields. We are sad not to be celebrating in-person, but wish our graduates well in their bright futures.

Our virtual celebration will be held on May 22, 2020, from 4:30 – 5:30pm. To RSVP for our virtual event, please complete the Virtual Celebration RSVP form.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020 Graduates!

Master of Arts in Survey Research:
Kelly Bell • Zachary Bikus • Caitlin Divver • Jacquelyn LaCoste • Shauna Robinson


MPA Fellows:
Andrea Alexander • Padraig Barry • Dana Begin • Michael Bzdyra • Boyd Canfield Jr. • Maria Cappuccitti • Tara Downes • Carease Gadson • Melanie Goodin • Maureen Goulet • Michelle Huggins • Jessica Muirhead • Charlotte Nelson • Olivia Otto • Kara Sene • Theodore Shafer • Kendra Shakir • Judy-Ann Staple-Stewart • Dyshawn Thames


Master of Public Administration:
Kyle Abercrombie • Valeria Alfano • Adriano Cirioli III • Michael Cocchiola III • Sarah Croucher • Jillian Cundari • Rachel Dzialo • Kelly Flannery • Alexandra Garcia • Lauren Gauthier • Benjamin Hensley • Grant Hobbs • Autumn Ives • Keron Johnson • Najoua Khadrany • Rosa Kleopoulos • Katharine Lange • Megan Leavenworth • Karla Little • Rachel Mascitelli • Conor Merchant • Brendan Mitchell • Claire Morris • Hannah Nguyen • Nicholas Pigeon • Shirley Pilkey • Michael Powell • Michael Proscino • Thomas Scheinblum • Amanda Sierpinski • Samantha Staffin • Samuel Sweikert • Tiffany Tran


Master of Public Policy:
Frederick V. Augur • Steven Della-Giustina • Haley Gillman • Lauren Goulet • Peter Hopko • Catherine Lindsay • Carol Miranda • Noah O’Connor • Andrew Oravecz • Alison Riith • Nicole Simonsen • Jessica Weaver


Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Public Management:
Benjamin Christensen • Michael Mallery Jr. • Amanda Sierpinski • Jessica Weaver


Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management:
Bryan Bierman •  Todd Crevier • Lauren Gauthier • Keron Johnson • Lian Kish • Rachel Mascitelli • Somaya Mcdermott • Shi Pu • Robin Rodrigue • Dennis Rinaldi


Graduate Certificate in Public Financial Management:
Adriano Cirioli • Benjamin Hensley • Rosa Kleopoulos • Noah O’Connor


Graduate Certificate in Survey Research:
Frederick V. Augur • Tara Downes • Lauren Goulet • Catherine Lindsay

Current 2020 Job Placements & Promotions
(continually updated)

  • Fredrick V. Augur, MPP – Stanford University Law School, Candidate ‘23
  • Steven Della-Giustina – UConn Law, Candidate ’23
  • Tara Downes, MPA Fellow – Assistant State Comptroller, State Of Connecticut Office of the State Comptroller Kevin Lembo
  • Kelly Flannery, MPA – VAWPP Special Assistant, University of Connecticut
  • Benjamin Hensley, MPA – Strategic Development and Initiative Specialist, Capital Workforce Partners
  • Peter Hopko, MPP – Leadership Associate, State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management
  • Carol Miranda, MPP – Data Analyst II, Beacon Health Solutions
  • Andrew Oravecz, MPP – Coordinator for Youth Development, Education, and Literacy, University of Connecticut
  • Shauna Robinson, MASR – Health Associate, Mathematica

Have news to share? Let us know at!

Spring 2020 Alumni Job Updates

Spring 2020 Alumni Job Updates

We take great pride in our Alumni and their accomplishments. This spring, we have some exciting news about several of our alumni:

Lara Beecher accepted a International Trade Analyst position with a federal contractor at the Department of Commerce, ITA. Lara graduated with her MPA in 2016 with a certificate in Leadership and Public Management.

Liana Cunningham accepted a Senior Director of Education & Training position at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. Liana received her MPA from in 2015.

Kyle Livernoche was named the Acting Assistant Chief of Planning at Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families. Kyle graduated with an MPA in 2018.

Doug Shipman accepted a new position as the Executive Director of the Windsor Historical Society. Doug was previously the Senior Nonprofit Support Program Officer for The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Doug received his MPA in 2016.

Tyler Terbrusch was named a Senior Analyst at McLagan. Tyler completed his MPP in 2019 along with a Master of Science in Quantitative Economics.

Diane Valesky Diaz is the new Vice President of Municipal Credit Research position with DWS Group. Diane graduated with her MPA in 2014.

Have an alumni update to share? Email the to be featured on our social media and in our next newsletter!


A One Credit COVID Course and Public Policy

A One Credit COVID Course and Public Policy

Specializing in Disaster Response, there is arguably no better person to have helping COVID-19 response than our own Professor Amy K. Donahue. Last month Professor Donahue assisted in the development and distribution of the University’s one-credit COVID-19 course.

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Impacts on Health, Business and Society” finished May 1st and drew upon faculty from Allied Health, Public Health, UConn Health, Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, Pharmacy, Nursing, Psychology, Management, Finance and Public Policy. 

The course provided a multi-disciplinary guided approach through the science of the virus, the social impacts, and business, financial and legal implications.

Over 5,000 students attended the course making it the most popular in University history. The course was highlighted by the Hartford Business Journal (HBJ) and UConn Today.

This fall the course may expand to a 3-credit opportunity as information continues to evolve and update.

Addressing Child Neglect and Policy-making with UConn DPP and SSW

Addressing Child Neglect and Policy-making with UConn DPP and SSW

April was Child Abuse Awareness month, and Department of Public Policy (DPP) Associate Professor Kerri Raissian and School of Social Work (SSW) Assistant Professor Megan Feely with their collaborators published both a brief and alert with UConn’s Collaboratory on School and Child Health (CSCH) on preventing child neglect.

Their briefing argued that researchers and policymakers should address “Preventing Child Neglect” by “looking at the problem through a macro lens”. This brief was also co-authored by Research Specialist Helene M. Marcy of Educational Psychology and InCHIP (Affiliate) and undergraduate researcher Daniel Schwartzman. 

In order to conduct macro-level research the brief recommends:

  • A standard definition of child abuse and neglect.
  • To clearly delineate the causes of neglect.
  • Access to data on neglect and economic factors.
  • To collaborate across disciplines.

Later in the month Dr. Raissian and Dr. Feely published an alert with Assistant Professor Lindsey Bullinger from Georgia Tech and Assistant Professor Will Schneider from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Their alert was issued by The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) and addressed “Practical Steps to Prevent Child Neglect in the COVID-19 Pandemic“.

The alert addresses the risk posed by “…drastic changes to families’ financial well-being, community resources, and overall concern for society..” in regards to child well-being. The impact of child-serving agencies and their decision makers were noted for being able to “…help reduce the risk of child neglect.”

UConn Today featured the alert through an article entitled “As Families Struggle During Pandemic, Children At High Risk for Neglect”.


Feeding Connecticut with Foodshare and Jason Jakubowski

Feeding Connecticut with Jason Jakubowski

Jason Jakubowski
Jason Jakubowski, CEO and President of Foodshare

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought intense hardships for many families around the country. In Hartford and Tolland counties, Foodshare works to provide millions of meals each year. A member of Feeding America, Foodshare has worked to provide up to date information regarding access to food assistance in the area.

Jason Jakubowski is the President and CEO, and we are proud to say a 2001 MPA alum! Jakubowski and the Foodshare team consist of staff and volunteers who have been working to distribute food and protective equipment to families across Connecticut.

Foodshare’s Partner Programs Coordinator Yahaira Escribano, is also MPA alum. Escribano has been working to ensure that all programs meet food safety standards while building and strengthening relationships. 

With a large portion of their volunteer force in the at-risk population, they have had to rely on the generosity of the community to fund overtime for staff and purchase additional food packages for the community. Foodshare has most recently opened up a new donation center at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

To Jason, Yahaira and all the staff and volunteers at Foodshare, thank you for all of the work you have been doing to provide food assistance to residents in the Greater Hartford area!

For more information about Foodshare and Feeding America programs in your local area please visit Feeding America’s  Find Your Local Food Bank page to see ways to volunteer or find food.

Melissa McCaw Named to Hartford’s 2020 Power 50

Melissa McCaw Named to Hartford’s 2020 Power 50

Photo of Melissa McCaw
State Secretary of OPM, Melissa McCaw

Last week, UConn DPP Alumna Melissa McCaw was named one of Hartford Business Journal’s 2020 Power 50. Coming in at #24, McCaw is noted for her major role regarding policy and fiscal decisions that impact communities across the State. 

Currently, McCaw serves as the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management for Connecticut. She brings 18 years of finance and operations experience in government and education to OPM, graduating with her Masters of Public Administration in 2014. 

Lately, the Office of Policy and Management has been integral in Connecticut’s COVID-19 response – working around the clock to develop economic projections and deliver needed aid to communities around Connecticut.

Congratulations Melissa!


2020 DPP Annual Awards & Pi Pi Alpha Induction

Special Edition Newsletter:

2020 DPP Annual Awards & Pi Pi Alpha Induction

Greetings from the DPP and welcome to a Special Edition Newsletter! Due to COVID-19, we are taking our Annual Awards and Pi Pi Alpha Induction online.

Each year, the DPP network comes together with our students and their families to celebrate the hard work and dedication of our students, alumni, and faculty.

We are delighted to introduce you to this year’s award winners and Pi Pi Alpha Honors Society inductees.

MPA Academic Excellence

Awarded to the students earning the highest cumulative GPA in the MPA program.

Jillian Cundari, MPA 2020

Jill is graduating with her MPA and MSW this Spring. Currently, she is interning at the Roots Center for Advanced Recovery in Manchester, CT. Jill also works as an Outreach Assistant with the DPP. She completed her Internship and Professional Practice (IPP) last year with Ädelbrook Behavioral and Developmental Services in Cromwell. 


Benjamin Hensley, MPA 2020

Ben is completing his IPP at Capital Workforce Partners as a workforce development intern. He works specifically on strategic development and as a data specialist. Currently, Ben is also a Graduate Assistant with UConn’s Sustainable Global Cities Initiative (SGCI).



MPA Fellows Academic Excellence

Awarded to the students earning the highest cumulative GPA in the MPA Fellows program. This year we have three recipients!

Andrea Alexander, MPA 2020

Andrea Alexander, MPA Fellows 2020

Andrea started her professional career at Yale University. For the past 19 years, Andrea has worked in human services contracting for the State of Connecticut. Andrea currently serves in a centralized contracting unit housed at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.  After completing the UConn Leadership and Public Management certificate program in 2017, she decided to move fully into policy and management. She admires the flexibility of the MPA Fellows Program, which allows her to take classes at a pace that integrates what she is learning into her career.


Maria Cappuccitti, MPA 2020

Maria Cappuccitti, MPA Fellows 2020

Maria previously served with the Department of Social Services’ Programmatic Division.  She currently serves at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in the Central Contracts Unit. Maria credits her opportunities within the State of Connecticut to the Finance undergraduate degree she earned from UConn. She sees the MPA Fellows Program as helping her become a well-rounded effective leader.



Jessica Muirhead, MPA 2020

Jessica Muirhead, MPA Fellows 2020

Jessica is currently the Senior Program Manager at the Capitol Region Council of Governments. For ten years she worked in higher education, most recently in UConn’s History Department, and previously in Brown University’s Department of Geological Sciences. In 2015, she was awarded the inaugural UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Staff Excellence Award. Prior to the MPA program, Jessica obtained her B.A. in Psychology from UConn.


MPP Academic Excellence

Awarded to the student earning the highest cumulative GPA in the MPP program.

Frederick V. Augur, MPP 2020

Fredrick is completing his IPP internship at the CT Sentencing Commission as a Policy & Research Intern. Van conducts policy research where he drafts reforms on mental healthcare in prisons, the sex offender registry, and racial and socioeconomic disparities. He recently decided to pursue further education at Harvard Law School.


MASR Academic Excellence

Awarded to the student earning the highest cumulative GPA in the MASR program.

Shauna Robinson, MASR 2020

Shauna graduates with her Master of Arts in Survey Research this spring. She recently accepted a new position as a Health Associate for Mathematica. Previously Shauna worked as a research analyst for the Association for Talent Development (ATD).



David B. Walker Award

This endowment honors David B. Walker, former director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations and Director of UConn’s MPA program, who passed away in 2013. Dave dedicated his career to mentoring and supporting future leaders to influence government and politics to improve our country. This award is given annually to recognize a student in the program who exemplifies tireless dedication to public service.

Esam Boraey, MPP 2021

Esam Boraey, MPP 2021

Esam came to Connecticut after an extensive career in the nonprofit sector. He previously worked across the Middle East, Egypt, and the USA to build democracy and empower youth through grassroots organizing techniques. Currently he serves on the board of several local nonprofits. He was honored for his defense of human rights with several awards including Personality of the Year for fighting for human rights in the Middle East by the National Center for Human Rights. Esam is committed to serving the public in a volunteer capacity.

Albert G. Ilg Fellowship in Local Government

Albert G. Ilg Fellowship in Local Government was established in 1998 in honor of Al’s 32 years of distinguished service as Town Manager of Windsor, CT.  Al’s continued student mentoring and gifts to this endowment are greatly appreciated! This award is given to students who demonstrate local government and public sector interest and this year there are two recipients!

Claire Morris, MPA 2020Claire Morris

Claire graduated with a B.A. in English and a minor in Communication from UConn in 2014. Previously Clair worked in accounting at a mechanical services company in Vernon. She is currently interning with the Town of Southbury in the Fiscal Office.  She hopes to continue her career in local government after graduation.


Kevin Fitzgerald, MPA 2021

Kevin Fitzgerald, MPA 2021

Kevin’s research and public service focuses on urban planning, economic development, and public finance. He currently organizes business development and creative place making initiatives in the Town of Berlin. Kevin is also assisting with the creation of the City of Hartford’s 2035 Plan of Conservation & Development. A life-long Connecticut resident, Kevin graduated with his B.A. in Political Science and Urban & Community Studies in 2018. He plans to further study and contribute to equitable economic development and sustainable transportation initiatives in the hopes of improving the quality of life in Connecticut


The Morton J. Tenzer Fellowship Fund

The Morton J. Tenzer Fellowship Fund Award was established in 1993 upon Mort’s retirement from UConn.  Mort’s relentless advocacy for public administration education is one of the reasons our department exists! This fellowship is given to incoming MPA students who have demonstrated the highest levels of undergraduate academic achievement. 

Christopher Lamperelli

Chris is honored to be a recipient of the Morton J. Tenzer Fellowship Fund Award. After graduating from Quinnipiac University in 2017, Chris began work at Truth in Advertising, a consumer education nonprofit located in Madison, CT. While working as a project manager, Chris learned the just how much nonprofit organizations can make a difference. After two and a half years he decided to go back to school to receive his MPA from UConn. He would like to thank Morton Tenzer and the faculty and staff of the Department of Public Policy for this award.


DPP Distinguished Alumni Award

This award is given to an alumnus who exhibits strong leadership and exceptional communication skills while maintaining a high ethical standard.

Damara Cockfield, MPA 2005

Damara Cockfield

While pursuing her MPA, Damara created her own focus area in preventative and public health. She also won best Capstone project in her graduating year. After graduation, she started her career conducting clinical research trials (PTSD + TBI) at military treatment facilities and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers nationwide. For the last 11+ years, Damara has worked at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. as a military health subject matter expert, focusing on performance/process improvement and wounded, ill and/or injured Service member care. Currently, she is the Chief of Clinical Quality Improvement at the National Capital Region Market (Defense Health Agency).

DPP Outstanding Service Award

This award is given to a member of the DPP community for their service to the department.

David Garvey

David Garvey

For over twenty years, Dave been a practitioner, editor, research, teacher, and education designer in the nonprofit field. Dave directs the Nonprofit Leadership Program, Encore!Connecticut, and the DPP’s Internship programs. The Nonprofit Certificate has helped to strengthen the education, communication, and research infrastructure of the Connecticut and American nonprofit sector. Encore!Connecticut, is an award-winning experience and skills transition program for individuals transitioning from the private to nonprofit sector. This year the IPP program provided 36,000 ours of internship work for public and nonprofit organizations across Connecticut. 

Pi Pi Alpha Honors Society

Pi Pi Alpha is the Honors Society for graduate professional students in public administration and public policy. It is open to all students who maintain a 3.70 GPA or higher after completing at least half of their coursework. Below are this year’s inductees.

Adriano Cirioli • Alexandra Garcia • Andrew Oravecz • Autumn Ives • Ben Hensley

Boyd Canfield • Bridget Inzirillo • Carol Miranda • Charlotte Nelson • Claire Morris

Dana Begin • Dyshawn Thames • Fredrick V. Augur • Haley Gillman • Hannah Nguyen

Jessica D. Weaver • Jessica Muirhead • Jillian Cundari • Judy-Ann Staple-Stewart

Kara Sene • Katherine Lange • Kelly Flannery • Kendra Shakir • Kyle Abercrombie

Kyle Cipriano • Lauren Goulet • Maureen Goulet • Megan Levenworth • Melanie Goodin

Michael Bzdyra • Michael Cocchiola • Michelle Huggins • Nicholas E. Pigeon

Nicole Simonsen • Noah O’Connor • Olivia Otto • Padraig Barry • Peter Hopko

Samantha Staffin • Sarah Croucher • Shirley Pilkey • Steven Della-Giustina

Tara Downes • Tiffany Tran • Timothy Bergin

What’s Ahead with UConn DPP: March 10 – March 27

What’s Ahead with UConn DPP: March 9 – March 27

    Here’s the next two weeks with DPP:

    • Monday, March 9
      • College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources Career Night (3:30pm – 7pm, Student Union Ballroom)
    • Tuesday, March 10
      • Professional Development: Microaggressions 
      • UConn Hartford Fast-Track (FT), MPA, & MPP Info Session  (12:30pm – 1:30pm in HTB, Room 209)
      • Information Table (11am – 12pm in Hartford Campus Atrium)
    • Wednesday, March 11
      • 55 Farmington Lunch and Learn Information Session (12:00am – 1:00pm)
    • Monday 16-20: Spring Break! Stay healthy out there y’all and rest up for the final few weeks!
      • PSELC: Evaluation for Publicly Funded Programs (9:00am – 4:00pm in HTB, Room 208)
    • Monday & Tuesday, March 23 & 24: LOB Internship Information Sessions (10:00am – 11:00am)
    • Wednesday, March 25
      • Spring Career Fair (11am – 3pm in Gampel Pavillion)
      • UConn Storrs Fast Track & Survey Research Info Session (12:30pm – 1:30pm in Class of 1947 Room)
      • UConn Storrs Fast-Track (FT), MPA, & MPP Info Session (4:00pm – 5:00pm in Instruction 1102)
    • Friday, March 27
      • Workshop: GIS for Research, Practice, and Policy (9:00am – 4:00pm in HTB, Room 217)

    Follow us on social media to see the DPP in action!

    What’s Ahead with UConn DPP: February 24 – March 6

    What’s Ahead with UConn DPP: February 24 – March 6

      We have altered our format here at the Department of Public Policy (DPP). Instead of giving you a weekly recap of events that are already showcased on our socials, we have decided to present a bi-weekly “What’s Ahead with UConn DPP” to feature what is to come with the Department.

      Here’s the next two weeks with DPP:

      • Monday, February 24: Lunch and Learn at 450 Columbus (12pm – 1pm)
      • Tuesday. February 25: Online Fast-Track (FT) & Survey Research Info Session (12:00pm – 12:30pm)
      • Wednesday, February 26
        • FT & Survey Research Info Table (11:00am – 1:00pm in Zachs Atrium)
        • FT & Survey Research Info Session (12:30pm – 1:30pm in HTB 209)
      • Friday, February 28
        • Next Generation Workforce Forum (9:00am – 11:00am at the Legislative Office Building)
        • Non-Profit & Service Career Fair (11:00am – 1:00pm on the 3rd floor of the Student Union)
      • Monday, March 2: GAPPS-ICMA Elections (3:00pm – 4:00pm in HTB 406)
      • Wednesday, March 4
        • MPA Fellows Info Session (12:00pm – 1:00pm in HTB 406)
        • UConn Stamford Career Fair (1:30pm – 4:00pm)
        • Mock Interview Night (6:15pm – 9:00pm on the 4th floor of HTB)
      • Thursday, March 5: Online Nonprofit Management Info Session (12:00pm – 12:30pm)

      Weekly Recap: Political Science Info Session

      Weekly Recap: Political Science Info Session

      Last Week:

      • IPP candidates attended Resume Review sessions with the Center for Career Development last week in preparation for their internship applications. The next step is Mock Interview night on March 4th.
      • On Wednesday, the DPP attended a Research Workshop Lunch Series with DPP, School of Social Work, and The Rudd Center.

      This Week:

      • Monday, February 17th is the last day to send in your GAPPS-ICMA officers interest form. Open to all currents students on campus for the 2020-2021 academic year!
      • Catch us in Storrs this week on Wednesday, February 19th!
        • Information Session for Political Science Students from 12:30-1:45PM
        • MPA/MPP Information Session in OAK 438 from 12:30-1:30PM
      • Watch out for our staff and faculty on classroom visits in Storrs and Hartford campus this week, too!