Fall 2019 Employment Updates


Fall 2019 Employment Updates

Sarah Croucher, Director of Academic Policy
Sarah Croucher, Director of Academic Policy

This semester both our alumni and current students have excelled to new careers. Current MPA Fellow Jessica Muirhead (MPA 20’) recently became the Senior Program Manager at Capitol Region Council of Governments. MPA 2020 Sarah Croucher was recently named the Director of Academic Policy at the University of Connecticut.

Our class of 2019 saw three alumni updates this fall. Sneha Jayaraj (MPP 19’) recently accepted an  Economic Development Analyst position with MetroHartford Alliance. Matthew Lenczewski (MPA 19’) was promoted to Eligibility Services Specialist in the Division of Health Services Community Options Unit within the CT Department of Social Services. Carl Goldblatt (MPA 19’) also became a Connecticut Careers Trainee with the Connecticut Department of Banking. He is training to become a Financial Examiner. 

Jessica Seabrook, Fiscal Policy Analyst
Jessica Seabrook, Fiscal Policy Analyst

In other alumni news, Alyssa Carboni (MPA 15’) became a Post Award Research Manager with Yale School of Medicine. Jessica Seabrook (MPP 18’) became a Fiscal Policy Analyst with the State of Massachusetts. Daniel Ray (MPA 16’) became an Associate in the Healthcare-Performance Improvement Implementations Department of Huron. 

Encore!Connecticut also saw two updates from the class of 2016. Craig Adler was recently named the Director of The Thomas Merton Center, and Stacy Goodwin was named the Executive Director of Horizons Bridgeport. We spotlighted them earlier this academic year in a DPP article

Carl Goldblatt, CT Careers Trainee
Carl Goldblatt, CT Careers Trainee

This fall we also saw an alumni and student elected to office in Connecticut. Nicole Tomassetti (MPP 18’) joined the Meriden Town Council and Jessica Weaver (MPP 20’) joined the Board of Education in Newington.

Weekly Recap: Good Luck On Finals!

Weekly Recap: Good Luck On Finals!

Last Week:

  • Associate Professor Kerri Raissian kicked off our week on Monday with a research feature on UConn Today’s newsletter. Her research, completed in collaboration with Megan Feely of UConn Social Work, Lindsey Bullinger of Georgia Tech, William Schneider of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, focuses on macro-level factors of child neglect. Read more on this work at UConn Today.
  • On Tuesday, 12/03, the Scholars Strategy Network Connecticut Chapter presented its winter lecture, “Research and the Free Press: Working Together to Inform Policy,” featuring New York Times columnist David Leonhardt.
  • Wednesday night, 12/06, marked the final class of the semester for Professor Mark Robbins’ Public Investment Analysis class. Each semester, the student with the highest performing investment portfolio wins the coveted “Money Bunny” award. Congratulations to this semester’s winner, MPA ’20 student Najoua Khadrany!

    Mark Robbins, Emily Klawitter, Naj Khadrany, Sam Wynne
    Professor Mark Robbins, Emily Klawitter (MPA 18′), Naj Khadrany (MPA 20′), and Sam Wynne (MPA 19′)
  • Last week we also held two successful information sessions on Monday and Wednesday, attracting students interested in the MPA/MPP Programs, Fast Track, and the MPA Fellows program. Follow us on Instagram to never miss an info session update!
  • On Saturday members of our community participated in UConn Hartford’s Footwear with Care’s annual Winter Boot Party! Our Administrative Coordinator Wade Gibbs was featured on the front page of the Hartford Courant
  • In Alumni news, congratulations to both Sneha Jayaraj (MPP ‘19) and Matthew Lenczewski (MPA ’19) for accepting new positions in their field. Sneha will be starting an Economic Development Analyst position with MetroHartford Alliance and Matthew is a new Eligibility Services Specialist with the Connecticut Department of Social Services.

This Week:

  • Final Exams begin on Monday, December 9th.
  • Information Sessions: To RSVP please see our info session page
    • MPA Fellows Information Session: Tuesday, December 10th  from 12-1PM in the 4th Floor Faculty Lounge of HTB.
    • Survey Research & Fast-Track Information Session: Wednesday, December 11th from 8:30-9:00AM, online session.
  • Professional Service Executive Leadership Collaborative (PSELC) on Team Development, Friday, December 13th 2019, from 9am-4pm.
  • Also this week: All current DPP students check your email for information about candidate job talks.

Weekly Recap: The Final Stretch

Weekly Recap: The Final Stretch

Finals are next week, but we still have one more week of classes.

Last week was Fall Recess for the Huskies

  • We rounded out the final days of classes with with 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.
  • MPA Alumni, Melissa McCaw was named one of the Women of Distinction in Connecticut for 2019 by Hartford Magazine.

    Yusun Kim presenting
    Associate Professor Yusun Kim presenting

The Week Ahead:

  • On Monday, there will be an information session for the MPA, MPP & Fast Track program from 12:30pm – 1:30pm in HTB 209.
  • On Tuesday, UConn Hartford is hosting a Scholars Strategy Network Connecticut Chapter winter lecture featuring New York Times columnist David Leonhardt from 5:30 – 6:30pm in HTB 145. Please RSVP here.
  • On Wednesday, there will be an online information session for MPA Fellows from 7:00pm – 8:00pm
  • This week there are also multiple candidate job talks.

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.

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



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.