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My Week in Alumni Connections..

I love that our alums drop by randomly!

I love that our alums drop by randomly!

My week in Alumni Connections…

I say it over and over again. The alumni from the Maxwell School’s MPA and MA IR programs are among the most connected, loyal and engaged of anywhere! I am continually amazed at how great they all are – even after 18 years, it still surprises me.

So, here is my week in Alumni Connections!

Thursday, October 9th

This day should not count, as so many alumni were on campus for SU’s alumni weekend, Orange Central – and the Maxwell’s School’s 90th Birthday celebration.  I’ll just highlight a few though. It was a wonderful birthday party and very well attended.

I was able to say hello to a former colleague, Sean O’Keefe, Chairman and CEO, EADS North America – who also serves on our advisory board, former faculty member, and MPA 1978. He was here for the party among many other distinguished alums.   James Willie, Grants Policy Specialist, Corporation for National & Community Service, MPA 1998, stopped by my office to say “hi”. He brought greetings from his wife Susan Tompkins Willie, Analyst, Congressional Budget Office, MPA 1999. Eric Ennis, new with the City of Syracuse in the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development, MPA 2014, stopped by for birthday cake as well. Even our most recent alums want to come back when they can!

Friday, October 10th

The Department of Public Administration and International Affairs hosted a 90th anniversary panel in concert with the undergraduate program in Policy Studies. The panel highlighted Maxwell’s shared service mission and connection with Teach For America.

Cora True Frost, Assistant Professor, SU College of Law and JD/MPA 2001, moderated the panel. Alex Payne, Education Policy Analyst, Congressman Rush Holt, NJ 12th, MPA 2012 served on the panel, and graced our family with his presence over dinner. (Alex was my GA when he was a student here). Matt Bachand, Director of Growth Strategy, Mass Insight Education, MPA 2007 came back for the weekend with some former colleagues from his time at DC Public Schools and to attend the Maxwell/TFA panel. Julie Johnson, Project Coordinator, DC Public Schools, MPA 2008 (whom Matt actually recruited and hired) and her fiancé, Derek Schultz, Program Manager, Parks and Facilities Operations, DC Government, MPA 2008 were also in town, and staying for the football game Saturday.

and Diana Hollman, Manager Private Sector, German Agency for International Cooperation, MA IR 2009 currently living in Belin, confirmed that she will represent Maxwell’s PAIA programs on a panel at the APSIA Admissions Forum on November 12th. Thank you Diana!

Monday, October 13th

Rob Fallon, Director of Nominations, US Department of State, MPA 2007, had stopped by to say hi. I was not in the office, but found this note upon my return. Hated to miss him – but we connected via email!  Lloyd Blanchard, Director of Public Performance Management, IEM, Inc., MPA 1994, PhD emailed me with to introduce me to a prospective student and with other news.

Tuesday, October 14th

Far away in Phoenix, AZ, Illya Riske, Senior Analyst, Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, State of AZ, MPA 2008, and Fletcher Montzingo, recently recruited and hired by Illya for the AZ Governor’s Office, and MPA 2014, served as alumni representatives for the Maxwell School’s PAIA programs at an Idealist Graduate Fair on the ASU Campus. They wrote the next day that they had a wonderful time meeting and speaking with many prospective students. Thanks guys!

Wednesday, October 15th

Having received word that one of my colleagues from the Maxwell in Washington program could not represent Maxwell at the Baltimore Idealist Graduate School Fair later this month, I emailed several alumni, and heard back from them all! Lawren Sinnema, Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Program Officer with World Vision, MA IR 2008, recently moved to Denver but offered to help connect with prospective students out there…and new Dad, Eric Oddo, Policy Analyst, Center for Health and Homeland Security, University of MD, MPA 2008, shared a picture of new son, Mason (needless to say, he gets a pass on helping us out!), and Amanda Burd, Health Insurance Specialist, US Department of Health and Human Services, MPA 2010, and Frank Amtmann, Budget Analyst, US Social Security Administration, MPA 2007, will happily represent Maxwell at this event. Thanks both!

Brooke Dickson-Knowles, Policy Analyst, Scitor Corporation (information security), MPA 2000, copied me on an email she sent to a prospective student who is considering Maxwell for graduate studies. Our alumni are wonderful ambassadors of the programs here and continually refer us excellent prospective students.

Thursday, October 16th

One of my first emails of the day was from our Career Development Office. Phil Kangas was here from Grant Thornton interviewing current students for positions with his company. Phil, a Principal in the Global Public Sector Division of Grant Thornton was my first GA, MPA 1998. I immediately headed down the hall to have coffee with him.

At 11 am, I received an email from Dustin Brown, Special Assistant for Policy, US Office of Management and Budget, MPA 2001, just saying hi since it has been so long and reaching out to reconnect with the school. I had a late lunch with Lorraine Collins, Assistant Commissioner, New York State Home and Community Renewal, MBA/MPA.   She reached out to reconnect as she was going to be in town today. She had just met one of our newest alumni (2014) in her office earlier this week, Josh Beams, Fellow with the NYS Excellsior Fellows Program, State of NY Governor’s Office. I immediately connected her with several alumni working on housing policy and we discussed her coming to campus to speak to students with these interests as well. And at 3 pm, I received the most welcome email from another recent alum, Ed Pincar, Jr, MPA 2014, that his position has been approved by the Mayor of New York City. He is the new Staten Island Deputy Borough Commissioner with NYCDOT. His email also made the offer, as they most always do… “Please do not hesitate to call on me to lend a helping hand in speaking with students with interests in local government or Maxwell”.

We do have the best alumni network in all the land… here’s living proof, just one week of my life. And I am not sure I included everyone!



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