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.
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.
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.
Melissa McCaw Named a Women of Distinction in Connecticut
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.
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 Wilsonattended 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
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.
Nicole Tomassetti Named to the City of Meriden’s 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.
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 Encore.org, 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
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:
“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.
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.
A few days ago we held our annual Department of Public Policy Welcome Back reception. The 150 students, alumni, faculty, staff and community partners added to our excitement about what our community of faculty, students and alumni accomplished last year and what we are well positioned to accomplish this coming academic year.
We had a very successful 2018-2019 academic year. The 2020 U.S. News and World Report rankings of public affairs programs placed us again in the top 50 among public affairs programs and top 10 among public budgeting and finance specialty areas. Many thanks to our faculty, students and staff who helped us maintain these top rankings. We have been regularly posting news about our student, faculty and staff achievements on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Follow us on any or all of these media if you have not already done so. We promise to not disappoint.
Last year, we relaunched the MPA Fellows program as a Saturday cohort program. Our current and incoming Fellows cohorts are full, and have a diverse and exceptional record in public service. This Fall we welcome 80 new students to our MPA, MPA Fellows, MPP, and MASR programs – which is a record number of incoming students in our Department.
Thanks to our alumni and community partners, our Internship and Professional Practice program is also seeing record engagement this year. Our welcome luncheon for Internship supervisors reminded us of the importance of these community partners to DPP. It also reminded us of the value that our interns add to the professional community that we serve. This academic year, our interns will spend a total of 30,825 hours working in these placements. Our internship program is central to our community engagement.
Our mentoring program engaged many of our alumni in its first year and is off to an excellent start this year. If you are interested in joining that program, please email Candace Fitzpatrick. As a token of appreciation for their efforts, our mentors will also enjoy free enrollment in any Public Service Executive Leadership Collaborative workshop when they accompany their mentees to that workshop.
We will continue to post all job announcements on our alumni LinkedIn and Facebook pages. Because we realize that many alumni might miss these announcements, our staff are launching a new moderated career listserv as a service to our students, alumni and regional employers. If you have a position announcement to make, please email it to DPP@UConn.edu and we will forward to the listserv and post to our social media. We would appreciate you letting your HR staff know that we have this free service. We automatically added all current students and recent graduates (2 years out) to the listserv. All our alumni are also welcomed to join. If you would like to receive these job announcements, please join the listserv by:
Encore!Connecticut has now been redesigned to accommodate private sector working professionals who are interested in future public service careers. The new program will be run over four Saturdays in March-May 2020 with fellowships running through the end of June 2020. If you wish to recommend a friend or colleague for this program, please let Dave Garvey know.
We are also very excited to welcome some new faces to our Department in 2019-2020. Dr. Yusun Kim (Syracuse University) will join our faculty. Maura Maloney has joined our staff as an operations coordinator. Three exceptional public servants will also join our adjunct faculty: Matthew Hart (Town Manager, Town of West Hartford), Penny Davis (Chief Human Resources Officer, CT Department of Social Services), and Paul Sullivan (Sr. Vice President, American Red Cross).
We are all looking forward to an excellent 2019-2020.