Category Archives: MPA Alumni

MPA Alumni

Michelle Herr Helps Presidential Appointees Become Ready to Govern

I spent my time at the Partnership for Public Service in the organization’s Center for Presidential Transition. Launched in 2016, the Center’s purpose is to support the safe and effective transition of power from one administration to the next. It does this by developing tools, sharing best practices and connecting transition subject matter experts to inform transition team planning, and supporting the outgoing administration and federal agencies in managing their part of this transition. The Center also keeps track of issues that impact how an administration might execute its agenda, focuses on federal management issues and provides guidance for Congress, presidential candidates, and senior political appointees to lead and manage government. My responsibilities included researching and analyzing federal management issues, assisting with research about presidential transitions, and supporting the coordination and execution of Partnership events.

Within the Center for Presidential Transition is the Ready to Govern program. Ready to Govern assists the presidential appointees in navigating the transition process, engages Congress and promotes presidential transition reforms, develops management recommendations to address government’s operational challenges, and trains political appointees to lead effectively in their new positions. Over the course of my internship, I helped develop a new training module for political appointees. The module was piloted twice to a small group of advisors and current presidential appointees to ensure that the content is engaging, impactful, and strategic.

Lastly, the Center is housed within the Partnership’s Government Affairs team in the organization. During my internship, I had the opportunity to visit with congressional staff and members of Congress to talk about the Partnership’s priorities and what role Congress can play in transforming government.

One of the highlights of my internship was attending the annual Service to America Medals gala, referred to as Sammies. The Partnership for Public Service honors outstanding workers in the federal government who are nominated by their peers. In all, the event recognized nine award winners out of 28 nominees surrounded by top government officials, private-sector partners of the organization, the Partnership’s board members, and the families of the award-winners. This year, the Partnership presented the first Spirit of Service Award to Jeff Bezos to honor individuals in the private sector who are making a positive difference in government. Sammies was a great experience to be a part of – it is organized and run entirely in-house by the Partnership and accurately honors the spirit of public service.

Michelle Herr (4th from left), Maxwell Dean David Van Slyke (2nd from left), and Maxwell Faculty Sean O’Keefe (far right) at the Sammies

My time at the Partnership was incredibly rewarding. I learned about critical issues facing the federal government, the amazing things people in government are doing, and leading strategies and methods to mitigate the challenges government experiences.

Michelle Herr is an alum of the MPA/MAIR program. She currently works at Deloitte.

Michelle Herr (top left) with fellow interns

MPA/MAIR Program at the Maxwell School

Maxwell-in-Washington Program

All Global Programs

Internationally Focused Projects for MPA Students, 2018

While MAIR students participate in off-campus internships and global programs, the Maxwell School’s MPA Workshop gives MPA students the chance to work as consultants for a real world client on a team of their peers. Many of these projects work with international entities or focus on serving international communities.

While the number of international projects varies from year to year, MPA students always have a chance to further hone their professional skills with a project to add to their portfolio. In 2018, MPA and joint MPA students worked with the following clients with a global perspective.

Client Project
Global FoodBanking Network Emerging Markets – Food Systems Analysis
Hopeprint Empowering Resettled Refugees to Thrive
InterFaith Works of Central New York Qualitative and Quantitative research report concerning economic and workforce issues facing low-income immigrants (including refugees, migrants and immigrants)
RAND Corporation, National Security Research Division North Korea Strategy for Security on the Future of the Korean Peninsula
RAND Corporation, National Security Research Division Middle Eastern Rivalries and the Future of the Region
Refugee & Immigrant Self-Empowerment Assessment of RISE monitoring and evaluation procedures
U.S. Department of Justice, International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program A Pilot Community Policing/Community Prosecution Project for Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Kenya
United Nations Office for Project Services, UNOPS Ghana Suppliers Sustainability Initiative

For the 2018 MPA Workshop, students used ranked preference voting to narrow a larger list of projects down to 18. Then, students ranked their top four projects from the final list. These rankings were used to assign students to teams according to their project rankings. This method saw 97% of students receive their first or second choice project. MPA students were able to add a global perspective to their degree with these projects, further enhanced by taking a variety of international relations courses at Maxwell.

RAND and IDA project teams traveling to Washington, DC to deliver presentations on their projects.
Project teams arrive at RAND to give presentations.
RAND and IDA Team Members, 2018. Left to Right: Andrew Sander, Max Tucker, Matt Heggy, Sam Friedman, Tim Schmidt, Ryan Pensyl, Ryan Gross, Phil Porter, Taylor Hart-McGonigle, Chih Yun Huang, Minyang Wang, James Heller

Featured image of the Globe by Andrew Smith from Flickr. Creative Commons.

Internationally Focused Projects for MPA Students, 2017

Internationally Focused Projects for MPA Students, 2016 & 2015

Scott Clements, International Law Enforcement at DOS

This summer, I have had the amazing opportunity to serve the State Department as an intern in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) in the Management Assistance and Program Support Division (MAPS). As a bureau, INL works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.

As a Bureau, INL consistently receives a heavy amount of appropriated funding to continue to carry out its meaningful mission. INL is a program heavy Bureau and is subdivided into Program and Functional offices which help to carry out its overall mission. INL program offices consist of Afghanistan and Pakistan (AP), Africa and Middle East (AME), Europe and Asia (EA), and Western Hemisphere Programs (WHP). INL’s functional offices consist of Aviation (A), Anti-Crime Programs (C), Criminal Justice assistance and Partnership (CAP), and Policy Planning and Coordination (PC). Finally, The Resource Management Division Offices (RM) consist of a variety of supportive offices including MAPS – the division that I worked in.

During my time at INL, I got to work on a multitude of trainings, department projects, and bureau protocols. When I first started at INL, I was responsible for being part of the planning and oversight team for INL 101 – a crash course on the bureau, and its capabilities, aimed at foreign and civil service officials, in between their time at embassy posts, or headquarters assignments. This experience served as a great opportunity to familiarize myself with the Bureau and gain in depth knowledge of how INL functions as a greater part of the state department, while being able to converse and network with high level foreign and civil service personnel.

Additionally, I was given a leading role in the development, creation, and manipulation of several critical accountability databases for the departments property, construction, and contractual information at overseas embassy posts. Engaging in this detailed analytical work really gave me a better idea of the overall scope, mission, and capability of the INL Bureau, and just how broad and global their reach is. Other projects throughout my tenure at INL involved establishing current points of contact (POC) with embassy and program officials for the department, as well as attending and participating in high level meetings, trainings, and educational events put on by the division, bureau, and greater state department.

While the exposure to working in the Federal Government was certainly informative and beneficial to my career goals, I was also blessed to work with a team that was incredibly welcoming, and supportive of my efforts, and contributions to the departments mission. I established a variety of long term relationships, and critical contacts with experienced individuals that I am grateful for. Overall, working at the State Department and INL as an intern has been a great learning experience, and I will be better off professionally and personally for having served in such a role.

Scott Clements in front of the State Department in DC

Scott Clements completed the MPA degree in 2018.

MPA Degree at the Maxwell School

Maxwell-in-Washington Program

All Global Programs

Jennifer Valdez Assists Training at USCIS in LA

In Summer 2018, I had the opportunity to serve as Student Intern at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in Los Angles, California. As a Student Intern, I worked on a variety of assignments and projects including the development of a new Leadership and Employee Development Training Program. My job functions included project management, event coordinating, and helping with the hiring process by scheduling interviews and arranging the interview panel. I had the opportunity to assist Immigration Service Officers as they interviewed applicants for citizenship or lawful permanent resident status and assessed documentations to either grant or deny applications.

The Leadership and Employee Development Training Program aims to serve as the master program that will incorporate existing trainings and add new trainings on leadership, technical and other skills. My role was to assist in the stages of program development and implementation by drafting a proposal explaining the purpose and goal of the new training program for every employee at USCIS in the District of Los Angeles, creating the business rules and training courses, and designing the program logo. I accomplished this with the guidance, and under the supervision, of the Los Angeles County Field Office Director.

Jennifer Valdez (left) with the Congressional Leads at Rep. Linda Sanchez 16th Annual Seniors Fair. August 10th, 2018, Congressional Outreach event

A major highlight of my internship experience this summer was getting the chance to present the program proposal to the Los Angeles District Director, Deputy Director, Chief of Staff and five Field Office Directors.

In addition to being involved in various exciting projects another incredible experience I had was attending the oath ceremonies in July and August where honorable judges officially granted applicants citizenship. I enjoyed every moment of it especially the part where I got to issue certificates of citizenship. What rewarding moments those were. I take pride in what I did and all that I was able to accomplish during my time at USCIS.

July 24th, 2018. Oath Ceremony at the Los Angeles Staple Center. Approximately 10,000 applicants became citizens that day.
Jennifer Valdez at USCIS in Los Angeles

MPA/MAIR Program at the Maxwell School

Maxwell Students Make a Difference in Nepal

Rachel Penner was searching for a summer internship in 2015, when a staff member recommended that she connect with Beau Miller, a 2010 MPA graduate and the Executive Director of a development NGO in Nepal known as Aythos.

Beau was excited to take Rachel on board with Aythos to work on post-earthquake recovery. Upon arrival in Nepal, Rachel was thrust into the earthquake recovery efforts using her specialty in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to serve devastated villagers outside of Kathmandu.

Two Maxwell students, Jeffrey Pu and Trace Carlson, followed in Rachel’s footsteps and interned at Aythos in 2017. As an MPA student, Jeff first had to complete the MPA Workshop with a team of fellow students for the U.S. Department of Justice designing a human rights and human dignity course for foreign police. After wrapping this project up, Jeff hopped on a plane to Nepal. Upon arrival, Aythos put Jeff to work doing program evaluation for one of their projects by designing and distributing a survey to local villagers. After two months working for Aythos, Jeff found himself taking another long haul flight to Berlin, where he is currently finishing his MPP at the Hertie School of Governance as part of the Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree Program.

Jeffrey Pu in Nepal

Trace Carlson won a Foreign Languages and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS) from the Moynihan Institute’s South Asia Center. With this fellowship, Trace journeyed to India to study Hindi, but was most interested in applying his academic knowledge to the field. After reaching out to Beau, Trace found himself heading to Nepal to conduct research on kiwi fruit agriculture for Aythos. Immediately, Trace found it very eye opening to compare the gap between research and field implementation. One had to be flexible and ready for anything. He once had to carry five kilograms of potatoes down a mountain for a village family, just because they asked him to.

Local Aythos staff receive feedback on kiwi fruit cultivation

On February 22, Beau, Rachel, Jeff, and Trace all came together on a Skype presentation for SU students interested in interning at Aythos. All agreed that it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of their lives and were completely humbled by the kindness and generosity of the people in Nepal. They fondly remembered backpacking into villages after encountering washed out roads—while dealing with leeches on the way—only to find countless cups of tea pushed on them upon arriving. While students spent about half their time in Kathmandu, they genuinely felt the impact of projects while working in the villages.

An Aythos staff member talks to a farmer. Women’s empowerment is a goal of the organization, since many Nepalese men go abroad to work leaving women to manage farms and businesses independently.

Maxwell’s partnership with Aythos fulfills the goal of professional degrees by creating graduates who are resilient and ready to enter a career upon graduation. According to Beau Miller, “If you can work in Nepal, you can work anywhere.”

Temple in Kathmandu

Maxwell’s MAIR Degree

Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree

Nepal Connections:

Trace Carlson Conducts Research in Hindi

Students Work with Nepalese Communities in Earthquake Recovery

Ashley Saulcy Works on Political Transition in Nepal – Part 1

Ashley Saulcy Works on Political Transition in Nepal – Part 2

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu
Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu

Internationally Focused Projects for MPA Students, 2017

Many MPA students have an international focus in their studies or pursue the joint MPA/MAIR degree. While the MPA degree is a one year intensive program, students do still have the opportunity to gain hands on experience working for international entities.

The MPA Workshop is a four week culminating experience, where students work on a team of three to six of their peers to complete a consulting project for a real world client. Clients range from local community organizations and municipal governments to international government agencies and non‑profit organizations. In 2017, seven of the twenty-one projects had a global focus. MPA project teams acted as consultants for the following clients and international projects.

Client Project
Chicago Council on Global Affairs Girls in Rural Economies
Global FoodBanking Network Developing a Program Model to Strengthen Hunger Relief Organizations in More than 30 Countries
Health In Harmony Does Coupling Incentive-based Systems with Legally Protected Forest Areas Enhance Conservation, Economic & Human Health Outcomes within the Global South
U.S. Department of Justice, International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program A Scenario Based Human Rights and Human Dignity Course for Foreign Police
Ministry of Economy and Finance of Peru National Infrastructure Plan
Near East Foundation International Development NGO Organizational Performance Management
RAND Corporation International Public-Private Security Partnerships
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Afghanistan Lessons Learned Gender Study
U.S. Agency for International Development Informing USAID’s Approach to Gender and Indigenous Representative Institutions

Projects with an international focus have always been present in the MPA Workshop. Take a look at projects from 2016 and 2015.

Participants in the MPA Workshop were allowed to rank five projects from a list of twenty-eight. Projects with the least amount of student interest were dropped, then students were assigned to teams based off their project rankings. In 2017, 93% of students got to work on their first or second choice project. While not every student gets the exact project they desire, international projects are always available for MPA students wanting to take their degree global.

Students working on projects for the RAND Corporation and the Institute for Defense Analysis had the opportunity to give their final project presentations in Washington, DC. Back row from left: Earl Shank, Kyle Crichton, Kashaf Ud Duja Ali, Eni Maho, Derrick Taylor, Brittany Utz, Tim McNamara, Patrick Brierley, John Lowman, Mark Temnicky, Matthew Kienzle. Kneeling: Frank Garrison

Featured image of the globe by Jacques Caffin from Flickr. Creative Commons.

Internationally Focused Projects for MPA Students, 2016 & 2015

Internationally Focused Projects for MPA Students, 2016 & 2015

While we mostly cover the exploits of MAIR students on this blog, many MPA students do international projects and go on to work in the global sphere. The MPA Workshop is the culminating course for MPA candidates, where students work on a team of their classmates as consultants for real world clients.

Every year a number of international projects are offered. This year MPA project teams are currently working with the following clients on projects affecting the international community.

Client Project
U.S. Department of Justice, The International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICIPTAP) Developing Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks for DOJ/ICITAP
Refugee & Immigrant Self-Empowerment (RISE) RISE Strategic Plan
Global FoodBanking Network Critical analysis of current annual data sets collected from non-US partners
AtrocityWatch Creating version 2.0 of the AtrocityWatch Digital Strategy and Planning Roadmap

Last year, students worked with a number of organizations in Latin America in particular and with other organizations focusing on a diverse set of global issues.

Client Project
Ministry of Education of Peru (Ministerio de Educación del Perú), Public-Private Partnership Unit Proposed scheme for Public Private Partnerships in schools in Peru
World Vision Comparative Analysis of Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Evaluation Policies
The Anticorruption Party of Honduras (Partido Anticorrupción de Honduras) (PAC) Support of the historic Honduras – Transparency International Agreement signed Oct. 6, 2014
Sense & Sustainability (S&S): Fresh Perspectives on Sustainable Development Developing a Fund Development and Nonprofit Management Strategy
U.S. Department of Justice, The International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICIPTAP) ICITAP’s Analytical Approach to Establishing the Conditions Necessary to Promote Sustainable Institutional Development
Amazon Conservation Association (ACA) Performance Monitoring of Research and Ecotourism Lodges in the Context of Conservation NGO Goals: the case of the Amazon Conservation Association
Somali Bantu Community Association of Onondaga County (Now known as Refugee & Immigrant Self-Empowerment (RISE)) SBCA Management Project

While there is no guarantee students will be placed on the exact project team that they would like, over 85% of students received their first or second project choices in the last two years. There are always a number of projects with an international focus for MPA students who want to use their public administration skills to address issues crossing borders.

Projects in Peru make an impact

The Amazon Conservation Association’s own Valerie Peterson said, “The students were extraordinary, and their work will have lasting impacts for years to come. We would look forward to working with your students again next year.” The project team delivered a final report to ACA outlining mechanisms to measure the performance of its ecotourism lodges in Peru. The project team consisted of Elena Borzenkova, Vivian Carandang-Smith, Anna Nicol, and Emily Simonson.

Utilizing remote conferencing, now MPA alumni Maria Laura Veramendi Garcia, Gonzalo Talavera Forlin, James Jarvis, and Gustavo Zanabria collaborated with the Public‑Private Partnership Unit of Peru’s Ministry of Education to create a report concerning recommendations to reduce the infrastructure gap in primary and secondary schools throughout the country.  The final report first analyzes educational PPPs in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the UK, then makes 13 key recommendations catered specifically to the Peruvian situation. According to faculty advisor Dr. David Van Slyke, “The quality of the work is very high. The sponsor is very happy. What’s especially exciting is that Syracuse as a location is not a barrier. We were skyped in with all the ministerial officials in Lima. The capstone’s group is going to have impact. And, the sponsor got this project for free”.

Photo provided by Jenn Calder from Flickr. Creative Commons license. View the photo on Flickr.

Internationally Focused Projects for MPA Students, 2017

Networking with Alumni in D.C. and New York

Over the course of Spring break, Maxwell students had the great opportunity to visit various sites and attend coffee chats with alumni. They connected with people who worked at various organizations in Washington, DC and New York and learned a lot about opportunities in different fields. There is no doubt that this unique opportunity helped Maxwell students to  consolidate their careers.

Networking with Alumni in D.C. and New York

Maxwell alumnus David Bauer ’49 and the students he hosted on Roosevelt Island
Maxwell alumnus David Bauer ’49 and the students he hosted on Roosevelt Island

Excerpt:

Over the course of our spring break, approximately 60 members of our cohort traveled to Washington, D.C. and New York City to network and connect with Maxwell alumni who work in various professions in the public, private, and nonprofit fields.

The busy week’s networking festivities kicked off at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), an internationally-focused think tank in D.C. that the Maxwell School has a unique partnership with. Throughout the D.C. leg of the trip, current students had the opportunity to attend site visits and coffee chats with a variety of organizations that had a Maxwell connection. The Office of Personnel Management, the Brookings Institute, the Congressional Budget Office, the Department of Energy, the World Bank, and Booz Allen Hamilton are a just few names of the many site visits our cohort attended. A group of MPA students attended the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank that considers the needs of low-income and disadvantaged individuals and families. The most valuable trip for me was visiting the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, given its relevance to my interests in higher education and labor. After this visit, I was able to connect with a 2010 alumnus about a graduate summer fellowship opportunity starting in July. He even offered to connect me with the Fellow Coordinator and offered a recommendation.[…]

This article is published on the PAIA Insider blog.

Read the full article on the class’ activities>>

Students at the D.C. Public Schools site visit
Students at the D.C. Public Schools site visit
IMG_4030-768x576
MAIR students outside the Brookings Institution (Claudine Lim, Phoung Ha and Vahid Khatami from left to right)
MPA/MAIR student Vahid Khatami connecting with Maxwell staff
MPA/MAIR student Vahid Khatami (right) connecting with Maxwell staff Isaac Olson (center) and Dr. Ryan Williams (left)

Learn more about the Maxwell-in-Washington program

Maxwell in the World

Syracuse University Well Represented in Kabul.
Note the flag on the right.  Source: GAO Management News April 7 – 18, 2014

Earlier this year at the MAIR orientation, we were happy to host a few excellent alumni of the program to talk about their journey in the international affairs arena.

While there, one of the alumni, Mr. Omar Qudrat (JD/PD 2010) spoke about one of the truisms of the program.  Namely that in most organizations, both in Washington and worldwide, there are either Maxwell alumni or Syracuse alumni.  Thus, I thought I would share two interesting stories for an early Fall Friday.  Continue reading Maxwell in the World

Wir bauen eine neue Bruecke!

Maxwell Students and Alumni in Berlin. Photo: Frederik Ferié
Maxwell Students and Alumni in Berlin. Photo: Frederik Ferié

Neither the Maxwell School nor Syracuse University has an official presence in Berlin in the same way as our Maxwell-in-Washington or SU in NYC.

However, over the past few years of involvement with the Atlantis transatlantic degree program, we have built a stronger network in one of the major political and economic centers of the European Union. Continue reading Wir bauen eine neue Bruecke!