Section Name


2018 Fellowship


The 2018 Equity & Inclusion Fellowship supports the travel and participation of up to 40 students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds at the 2018 APPAM Fall Research Conference, November 8 - 10, in Washington, DC. While at the conference, fellows will have the opportunity to formally network with each other and with members of the Policy Council and Diversity Committee at a networking reception and the Fellowship Luncheon, recognizing them and their accomplishments.

John_KingThe Equity and Inclusion Fellowship Luncheon will be held on Friday, November 9 from 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm. The program will start with a welcome from APPAM President, David Johnson, University of Michigan, followed by the presentation of awards by APPAM Diversity Committee Chair, John Martinez, MDRC. John B. King, Jr., President and CEO of The Education Trust, and previously secretary of education for President Barack Obama, will deliver the keynote address for all attendees. The event is by invite only.

Thank you to our luncheon sponsors:

The fellows will have many opportunities to informally network with other students and engage in mentoring activities with professionals during the conference. The goal of this fellowship program is to introduce recipients to the world of public policy and APPAM, and foster a lifelong affiliation and engagement with both. Special thanks to the Equity & Inclusion Fellowship Selection Committee for reviewing all the applications.
We look forward to celebrating you in Washington, DC at #2018APPAM!

 Meet the 2018 Fellows:

  • Brian Yeokwang An, University of Southern California
  • Pallavi Awasthi, Florida International University
  • Abiodun Azeez, University of Pennsylvania
  • Selena Caldera, The University of Texas, Austin
  • Daniel Corral, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • India Daniels, George Washington University
  • Janelle Fouche, Harvard University
  • Maria Francisca Vidal Ruiz, Princeton University
  • Arthur Frazier, Cleveland State University
  • Elder Garcia, The George Washington University
  • Brenda Gellner, The University of Washington, Seattle
  • Alyse Gray, The University of Texas, San Antonio
  • Paola Andrea Guerrero-Rosada, University of Michigan
  • Christal Hamilton, The University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Midas Hampton, Seattle University
  • Corrine Holliday-Stocking, Brandeis University
  • Nneka Ibekwe, University of Pennsylvania
  • Ene Ikpebe, American University
  • Swarup Joshi, Louisiana State University
  • Simran Kaur, Miami University
  • Rosa Krewson, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Gyeo Reh Lee, Indiana University
  • Sidnee McDonald, The College at Brockport, State University of New York
  • Skyler Moore, California Baptist University
  • Alex Osei-Kojo, University of Colorado, Denver
  • Yali Pang, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Vedavati Patwardhan, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Ye Pogue, Brandeis University
  • Reetchel Presume, George Washington University
  • Jacquelyn Richards, Cornell University
  • Sonora Rodriguez, Cornell University
  • David Schwegman, Syracuse University
  • AshLee Smith, University of Minnesota
  • Nathan Teklemariam, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Zimife Umeh, Duke University
  • Shilpa Viswanath, Rutgers University  
  • Naomi You, Brandeis University
  • Qi Zhang, Western Michigan University


Brian_AnBrian (Yeokwang) An is a PhD Candidate in Public Policy and Management in the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. His primary research interests lie at the intersection of governance of public organizations, local public finance, and collaborative public management. His dissertation “Essays on Urban Public Investments: An Institutional Perspective,” shows how the design of institutional rules determine where local and regional governments spend essential urban public investments and its impacts on citizen’s quality of life. He also studies housing and community development as well as the implications of growing income inequality and racial diversity on state and local public finance. His articles have appeared in the Urban Affairs Review and American Politics Research. His paper "It’s Not Just Welfare: Racial Inequality and the Local Provision of Public Goods in the United States," published in the Urban Affairs Review was selected the best paper in urban and local politics by American Political Science Association in 2018. Brian is expected to complete his PhD in May 2019.


Pallavi_AwasthiPallavi Awasthi is a fourth-year Doctoral Candidate in Public Affairs at Florida International University (FIU). She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from FIU and a Master’s in Industrial Relations from India. Her doctoral research work centers around exploring servant leadership in local governments in the United States. City-County governments in the State of Florida form the empirical basis of her dissertation research. Pallavi is particularly interested in comparing best practices in local governments between United States and India. She has presented her research at ASPA, SECoPA, ASPA South Florida Best Practices Conference, and ICMA Conference.


Abi_AzeezAbiodun Azeez is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her B.A. in Public & International Affairs and a certificate in African Studies, and also has a Master of Public Policy. Her interests span urban sociology, political sociology, public policy, and spatial inequality. She is currently exploring how the types of financial institutions located in low-and moderate-income neighborhood differentially affect the financial health and well-being of these communities.


Selena_CalderaSelena Caldera is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas with a focus on health care and aging. Her research examines the familial, economic, and health factors influencing aging adults’ decisions about long-term arrangements and the policy levers that can be used to improve economic, health, and well-being outcomes for older adults needing care and their caregivers. Her previous experience includes over ten years of research experience in various public policy areas, including health care, education, immigration, and retirement income policy. Selena has extensive work experience in quantitative analysis, policy and legislative analysis, survey development and collection, and cost analysis.


Daniel_CorralDaniel Corral is a fourth year doctoral student in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis. He is also an Institute for Education Sciences Predoctoral Fellow at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. His research focuses on understanding what public policies and interventions improve college attendance for historically underrepresented students. He received his B.A. from Beloit College and his M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


India_DanielsIndia Daniels is an equal opportunity advocate and labor relations professional with a broad range of employment law, civil rights, and human rights experience. Having worked for DC Government in various capacities, Mrs. Daniels has seen success in promoting understanding among diverse populations of people. Her dispute resolution skills allowed for many difficult EEO complaints to settle prior to a formal complaint being filed. Outside her day job, Mrs. Daniels volunteers for key community initiatives addressing race relations issues. She is also a co-founder of Anonymous List for Change ("ALFC"), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting equality via strategic public policy initiatives.


Janelle_FouchePrior to joining the doctoral program at Harvard Graduate School of Education, Janelle Fouche spent nearly four years at Relay GSE, a nonprofit institution of higher education dedicated to building and developing strong teachers and school leaders in high-needs schools across the country. Before joining the nonprofit world, Janelle worked as an investment banker in Credit Suisse’s Power & Renewables group. Educational equity has long been a passion of Janelle’s since she witnessed the effects on inequality firsthand when she left her poverty-ridden neighborhood at age 13 for high school at a prestigious New England boarding school. She was afforded that opportunity through a leadership development program called Prep for Prep. Although grateful for Prep for Prep’s support, Janelle quickly recognized the dire need to level the playing field in American education. She strongly believes effective education policy is the only way to close achievement gaps and ensure all children gain the necessary knowledge and skills to be competitive in this country.


Arthur_FrazierArthur Frazier is a PhD candidate attending the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. His dissertation topic examines the relationship between the U.S. employment-population ratio and the unemployment rate and factors that are associated with a decline in both the ratio and the unemployment rate since the end of the Great Recession. Prior to attending the doctoral program at Cleveland State, he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Chancellor University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Kent State University. He currently teaches macro and micro economics at Cuyahoga Community College. He has previously lectured at Ursuline College where he taught political science courses on civil rights, civil liberties, major policy issues, and international relations. In addition, Mr. Frazier has lectured at John Carroll University where he taught economic development and micro economics. His research interests include urban economic development theory and how federal and state governments interact with cities to solve urban related social problems.


Elder_GarciaElder Garcia is a Research Coordinator at the University of Florida, supporting faculty in projects with a focus on nutrition education and obesity prevention in children, adolescents, and adults. Elder graduated from the University of Florida, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology and a minor in French and Francophone culture in 2012. Elder also holds a Master of Arts in Public Affairs & Administration with a minor in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Florida, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Health from George Washington University. Elder’s career goal to become an expert in field of program planning and evaluation, and develop analytical frameworks for evaluating and designing health policy interventions targeted towards alleviating social inequality.


Brenda_GellnerBrenda Gellner started the Evans School Ph.D. program in Public Policy & Management at the University of Washington, Seattle, in the fall of 2017. Prior to joining the program, she completed a Master of Public Affairs from the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She previously worked as a Project Manager for the Office of Economic & Workforce Development in Dane County, Wisconsin, and as a Program Assistant for the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Northwestern University. Her research interests include social and economic mobility, inequality, retirement preparation, long-term support and services, policies targeted at people with disabilities, and barriers to employment.


AshLee_Smith_KiserAshLee Smith Kiser is a PhD Candidate at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota specializing in domestic public policy. She received her BA in Anthropology from Louisiana State University (LSU - Geaux Tigers!). She is the recipient of the Diversity of Views and Experience (DOVE) fellowship at the University of Minnesota and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP). Her goal is to pursue a research career whether that be in academia, at a think tank, or with a government organization. She  is passionate about studying public policy and applying her research to the real world surrounding the lives of the vulnerable in the U.S. Her research interests focus on social policy at the federal and state level, poverty, inequality, and the intersection between policy design, civic participation, and race. Her dissertation topic looks at how the criminal justice and child welfare systems combine to impact the lives of poor women and women of color.


Christal_HamiltonChristal Hamilton is a doctoral candidate in the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, she earned her bachelor’s in International Relations from the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica and her Master in Public Affairs from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Prior to starting her doctoral studies, Christal worked in the research department of the then newly established child protection agency in Trinidad and Tobago. She also has experience working as an English Language Teacher in Japan and a secondary school teacher in Trinidad and Tobago. Christal’s research interests are in the areas of social and education policy, social inequality and poverty. She is particularly interested in how social inequality impacts the outcomes of young adults as they transition to adulthood.


Midas_HamptonMidas Hampton is a third-year MPA student in the Institute of Public Service at Seattle University. His research interests center on social and urban policy issues including affordable housing, food availability, education, economic development, sustainable urban planning and collaborative governance. Midas helps low-income and marginalized communities gain access to afford housing and higher education. Midas aspires to pursue a career in academia while researching and writing policy for government agencies. When he is not busy reading about current affairs, he enjoys playing intramural basketball and hiking with his dog.


Corrine_Holliday-StockingCorrine Holliday-Stocking is a PhD student at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She received a M.S. in Sociology from Portland State University and a B.S. in Sociology from Gonzaga University. Her research interests include mental health in higher education, the LGBTQ+ population, and equity and inclusion. Corrine currently teaches at Worcester State University in the sociology department. She teaches courses on medical sociology, research methods, and gender and sexuality.


Nneka_IbekweNneka Ibekwe is a PhD student in the Human Development and Quantitative Methods division at the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on identifying pathways towards optimal social-emotional and academic development for children from disadvantaged populations. Currently, Nneka is applying quantitative methodology to assess the risk and protective factors that children experience across two ecological levels, to understand what contributes to school readiness. As a Research Assistant for The Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice, and Research, Nneka is researching the relationship between child welfare policies and child fatality. Additionally, Nneka is one of four PhD students selected to be a 2018 Society for Research in Child Development Pre-doctoral State Policy Fellow in Early Leaning. Previously, Nneka worked as a manager for the Center for Education Policy Research and as a graduate teaching fellow for Harvard University. She holds an Ed.M. from Harvard University in Prevention Science Research and an M.S.W. from Columbia University. In her undergraduate studies, Nneka majored in Sociology and African American Studies and was a NCAA Division I volleyball player at the University of California, Davis.


Ene_IkpedeEne Ikpebe is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at American University (AU), Washington DC. She received a master’s degree in public policy from AU in 2017 and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2015. So far, her doctoral research has been centered around policy innovation theory, and child marriage and its effect on girls in Nigeria. Her coursework has produced a paper titled “Regional Variation in Universal Basic Education (UBE)’s Impact in Nigeria” which highlights the role of child marriage in creating and sustaining a significant difference between the effectiveness of school fees elimination in northern and southern Nigeria. Her other paper “Child Marriage in Nigeria: A Policy Innovation Model” attempts to explain the speed of state adoption of the Child Rights Act which prohibits child marriage in the country. She intends to continue exploring questions of policy innovation and child marriage, specifically how female legislative representation impacts the policy process around this topic. In her free time, Ene is most likely reading popular African fiction or enjoying French culture as present in DC.


Swarup_JoshiSwarup Joshi is a PhD candidate in the Department of Economics at Louisiana State University. His research focuses on public policy, economics of crime, economics of education, health economics, and labor economics. During the course of his doctoral program at Louisiana State University, he has served as Tutorial Graduate Assistant at Academic Center for Student Athletes, Graduate Research Assistant at LSU Economics Policy and Research Group, and Graduate Teaching Assistant/Instructor at Department of Economics. At LSU Economics Policy and Research Group, he has worked on supervising student workers and analysis to facilitate state level public policy. He has presented his research at conferences for Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Association for Education Finance and Policy, and Southern Economic Association.


Simran_KaurSimran Kaur is a doctoral student in Miami University's Department of Educational Leadership's Student Affairs and Higher Education program. Her academic research seeks to explore the experiences of first-generation college students with multiple-marginalized identities and their persistence in American institutes of higher education. Simran joined the Miami University Office of Diverse Student Development, Equity, and Inclusion as a graduate associate in the fall of 2017. She serves in an advisory capacity for first-generation college students in Miami University's summer bridge program: Made@Miami. She serves in an educational capacity developing and facilitating Student Engagement and Leadership (SEAL) workshops for the Division of Student Life. Simran has a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Mary Washington and an M.A. in Diplomacy and International Commerce from the University of Kentucky. In her local community of Oxford, Ohio, Simran serves as a member on the Interfaith Center’s Board of Directors. Her previous professional background is in the finance and insurance industries. Her writing on Sikh-American feminism and Afro-Asiatic kinship is published by Duke University Press and featured in Tikkun magazine.


RosaCKrewsonRosa Castillo Krewson is a doctoral candidate at the Center for Public Administration and Policy in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. She is a member of the Pi Alpha Alpha Global Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration and was selected as a 2017 Founders Fellow by the American Society for Public Administration. Her research applies a social equity lens to public policy, disasters and veterans’ affairs. Rosa earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University. She also holds a Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate from the Georgetown University Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership.


Gyeo_Reh_LeeGyeo Reh Lee is a Ph.D candidate at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Indiana University. She conducts research on public budgeting and finance and public management, primarily focusing on government contracting and property tax administration. For recent research projects, she examines the relationship between fiscal shock and privatization in the United States and the impact of outsourcing on tax equity and government performance. She earned her BA and MPA from Korea University and MPP from University of Kentucky.


Sidnee_McDonaldSidnee McDonald is a graduate student at the College at Brockport, State University of New York majoring in Public Administration with an emphasis in management. She is entering her final year of graduate school and hopes to attend law school after graduating. She currently serves as  the Democratic Engagement Graduate Assistant in the Office of Community Development and as the President of the International City County Mangers Association (ICMA) Student Chapter at the College at Brockport, State University of New York. She’s also the Chair of the university’s Diversity Showcase Committee for the 18th Annual Diversity Conference. A Rochester, New York native, she’s aspires to manage her own law firm in Rochester while serving as a legislator for New York State. As a legislator, she hopes to create policies that will ensure justice and due process are provided to those who encounter the legal system.

Skyler_MooreSkyler Moore is a Protective Services Worker in the Adoptions Division for Child Welfare Services, County of San Diego Health & Human Services. Skyler has a passion for serving and helping others in many capacities and desires to initiate change in the community. Additionally, Skyler strives to create change in policies in the social services field, particularly in child welfare. Skyler has over eight years of experience in the social services field including mental health, non-profit organizations, education, & child welfare. Skyler was chosen to participate in the Cultural Responsiveness Academy (CRA) for the County of San Diego out of which a Cultural Liaison position was created, to sit on a countywide Diversity & Inclusion Committee, & participated in an Online Review Committee. Skyler holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a minor in Ethnic Studies from Northern Arizona University, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Public Financial Management from California State University, San Bernardino where he earned the honor of induction into the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor’s Society & simultaneously received the High Pass Award for the comprehensive exam. Skyler is currently pursuing a Doctoral Degree in Public Administration from California Baptist University.


Zukiswa_MqolombaZukiswa Mqolomba is a senior researcher, senior policy analyst and scholar activist who currently works for the government of South Africa as a Director: Social Insurance Schemes for the Department of Social Development. She has been involved in research, policy development and policy analysis on economic growth, poverty alleviation and job creation for the past 10 years. Her professional area involves developing and reviewing policies and legislation in respect of social insurance and social assistance aimed at protecting households against life cycle contingencies such as unemployment, ill-health, retirement, disability or the death of a breadwinner. She is a political economist by training. She is a Mandela Rhodes Scholar and Chevening scholar, as well as the former President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) at the University of Cape Town. She is currently doing her PhD in Political Studies with the University of the Witswatersrand and is specializing in China/Africa relations. Previously she worked as a includes work as an Extended-term Consultant for the World Bank in Washington DC. She has two master’s degrees: a masters from the University of Cape Town and a masters in poverty and development from the University of Sussex. She is an Emerging African Leaders’ Programme fellow, as well as YALI fellow. She is a pan-Africanist.


Emmanuel_OforiEmmanuel Ofori received the highest national diploma in Business Management from the Cape Coast Polytechnic in 2005, where he worked part time as a radio host with the Ghana Broadcasting Cooperation. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the Valley View University in Ghana. After working in various positions in the area of relationship management with Mobile Telecommunications Networks and Bank of Africa respectively, he resigned to pursue his long-held dream of adding value to public policy discourse across the world. He then enrolled in Master of Arts in International Public Policy at the University of Tsukuba In Japan where he graduated with honors. Emmanuel Ofori is currently a PH. D candidate with the University of Tsukuba, researching on financial Inclusion for rural women in Ghana. He aspires to set up a policy think tank in Africa to provide alternative policy options for the less privileged and underrepresented.


Alex_Osei-KojoAlex Osei-Kojo is currently a doctoral student at the School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver. Prior to this, he taught undergraduate public administration courses at the University of Ghana Business School. His research scrutinizes the political and institutional forces shaping environmental policy and natural resources management. His publications have featured in international peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Public Affairs, Sage Open, Resources, and Administration Publica. He has presented at several international academic conferences and workshops in Norway, Hong Kong, South Africa, Hungary, and the Netherlands. He is presently a recipient of the 2018 International Young Scholars Fellowship awarded by the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA). Alex is an avid fan of classical music and hymns.


Yali_PangYali Pang is a PhD student in Public Administration and Policy at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She is the Diversity Fellow at the Partnership for People with Disabilities at VCU where she led a research project on cultural brokering intervention for culturally diverse families of children with disabilities. Yali is also an adjunct instructor this fall in the Department of Political Science at VCU. She is committed to inclusive teaching and learning, and facilitates this practice in her research method course for undergraduates. Witnessing the unfair treatment of rural women and people with disabilities in her life experience, Yali is very passionate about supporting vulnerable groups and strongly committed to fostering social equity and inclusion through her research, teaching and professional work. Yali’s research interests concern social equity, nonprofit management and cultural competency.


Alyse_GrayAlyse Gray Parker is a PhD student at the University of Texas at San Antonio studying higher education policy and leadership. Alyse has previously worked at the Lumina Foundation as a policy intern, Trinity University in the office of disability services and as a school psychologist for Columbus City Schools in Columbus, Ohio. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Alyse completed her B.A. and M.A. at The Ohio State University. Her research interests include state higher education policy, minority serving institutions, and access and equity issues in higher education.


Vedavati_PatwardhanVedavati Patwardhan began the University of Washington's Evans School PhD program in Public Policy and Management in 2016. Prior to joining the program, she worked with Springer Nature in India as a project manager for German language publications. Vedavati earned a Master of Arts in Global Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Here, she evaluated safe drinking water provision systems in rural India for her master’s project. Vedavati also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Fergusson College, University of Pune, India. Her current research interests are gender, nutrition, and agriculture in developing countries. At the Evans School, Vedavati is a Research Assistant for the Evans School Policy Research & Analysis Group (EPAR), where she is at present examining the pathways linking women’s empowerment in agriculture to economic benefits. In her free time, she enjoys learning foreign languages and exploring the many hiking trails around the Seattle area.


Ye_PogueYe Zhang Pogue is a Chinese doctoral candidate from Brandeis University Social Policy Ph.D. program. Her passion is to advance the well-being of people with mental illness and trauma through policy research in the U.S. healthcare system. She received an MA in Economics (2012) from Duke University and a BA in Economics from Shanghai Jiaotong University (2010). Her current research interests focus on treatment outcome of severe mental disorders and trauma, both in the U.S. and China. Beyond her coursework, she advocates against government collecting national origin data from immigrant communities (aka race data disaggregation) in the name of addressing the disparity. She believes the harm and risk of this type of government data collection outweighs its benefit—it creates a new racial classification system, which reinforces stereotypes of the immigrants of different origin, and may cause grave long-term consequences, such as immigration restriction based on country of origin. These data collections were meant to help immigrants, but in reality, they have achieved the opposite by ignoring the complexity and vulnerability of human beings.


Reetchel_PresumeReetchel Presume is a second year MPA student at the Trachtenberg School at George Washington University. Her concentration is in Education Policy and Program Evaluation. Prior to graduate school, she graduated with her Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Cornell University. She spent four years working in NYC schools, first as an AmeriCorps fellow and then as a Special Projects Coordinator at a charter school.


Jacquelyn_Chyrell_RichardsJacquelyn Chyrell Richards is a second-year professional student pursuing a Master of Public Administration at Cornell University Institute for Public Affairs. Born-and-raised New Yorker, with a longstanding active interest in activism and public service, Jacquelyn began at the early age of fourteen working as an expert Sexuality Health Peer Educator for Planned Parenthood of Nassau County. She came to Cornell following three years of employment at the New York State Assembly, Advisor to the New York State Senate Democratic Conference Internship program, a City Council appointee of the City of Albany Commission on Human Rights, and an elected Democratic Committee member for the 10th Ward of the City of Albany.


Sonora_RodríguezSonora Rodríguez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and will always consider the Southwestern desert home. Sonora is formally trained as an Ethnic Studies and Humanities scholar from the University of New Mexico where her scholarship centered around Chicana/o identity and culture, grassroots organizing, and environmental justice issues in the Southwest. At a young age she has been fortunate to live and work in various parts of Latin America-- Mexico, Panama, and Ecuador, all of which shaped her passion for community development and the Latinx diaspora in the US and abroad. Since thirteen she has held multiple jobs, but a few of her favorites include being a research assistant for the Institute of Indigenous Knowledge and Development, a community school coordinator and high school Ethnic Studies teacher, and a grassroots organizer for the SouthWest Organizing Project, where her work centered around food justice in the public school system and youth employment in the greater Albuquerque area. Sonora is currently a master’s student in the City and Regional Planning at Cornell University and she hopes go on to pursue a PhD in Urban Planning and Policy. Her current work is centered around narrative, storytelling, and urban theory.


Paola_Andrea_Guerrero_RosadaPaola Andrea Guerrero Rosada is a doctoral student in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on how the quality of classrooms in low-income contexts promotes gains in higher-order thinking skills, language, and math. She is interested in (a) measurement and methods to understand the social processes shaping early development, (b) change mechanisms in early childhood education quality in developing countries, and (c) effective interventions to reduce inequities in the access to high-quality early childhood education services. Paola hopes to inform scalable early childhood education programs for communities at risk. She has designed and evaluated teacher-training programs in Colombia, and she has collaborated with the validation of measures of preschool quality in developing countries. At UM, she is a member of the Equity of Early Learning Lab and works on a study of a P-3 curriculum alignment effort in the Boston Public Schools. Paola received a B.A. in Psychology from Universidad del Valle (Colombia) and an M.S. in Psychology from the Universidad de Los Andes (Colombia). She is also co-chair of the Latinx Students Psychological Association (LSPA) at the University of Michigan.


Maria_Francisca_Vidal_RuizFrancisca Ruiz was born and raised in Santiago de Chile. She studied industrial engineering and earned a Master in Management and Public Policy at Universidad de Chile. Upon graduation, she started working at the Center for Public Systems, a research center focused on the improvement of management capabilities of the Chilean public sector. She was the director of the Projects and Studies Area for three years, participating in more than 20 studies for different ministries and public offices. She was also a part-time teacher at Universidad de Chile for undergraduate students in industrial engineering. In August of 2017, Francisca started her Master in Public Affair studies at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, concentrating on health policy and international development. Over the summer of 2018, she is working as an intern at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, using data analysis for monitoring and evaluation of projects that seek to improve operations and patient experience. After graduation, Francisca’s goal is to return to Latin America and work as a development practitioner in the health area.


David_SchwegmanDavid Schwegman is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Public Administration and International Affairs Department. He studies state and local public finance, education policy, and housing discrimination. His research examines the effects of teacher accountability laws on the supply of new teachers, the relationship between state and local housing protections and the level of discrimination faced by same-sex couples, the effects of accountability-driven middle school closure in New York City, among other topics. His dissertation work examines the state and local revenue structures.


Nathan_TeklemariamNathan (Natan) Teklemariam was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and immigrated with his family to the United States at the age of ten. He grew up in New York City, where he completed his BA in Political Science and International Relations at Marymount Manhattan College. During his last semester, he interned at the United Nations Headquarters as an assistant to the Director of the UN Department of Public Information. Nathan received a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in 2013. In the succeeding three years, he worked on several projects that focused on integrating and developing the leather, textile, and manufacturing industries in Ethiopia and the East African region. Projects included collaborations with international organizations such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Italian Development Cooperation, USAID, and East African Trade and Investment Hub. In 2016, Nathan returned to the U.S. where he is currently a third-year PhD. student of Public Policy and Administration at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at VCU. Nathan’s research interests are in urban policy, international development, and urban planning in the developing world.


Zimife_UmeZimife Umeh graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.S. in Finance and a B.A. in Africana Studies. Following graduation, she joined TNTP formerly known as The New Teacher Project as a part of the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows. She spent five years teaching high school mathematics while earning her M.Ed. in Secondary Education at Chestnut Hill College in 2011. She is currently a PhD candidate in the sociology department at Duke University where she studies criminology. Her dissertation examines the consequences of maternal incarceration for families in North Carolina. Zimife’s research is funded by the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship through the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.


Shilpa_ViswanathShilpa Viswanath is a Ph.D. Candidate at Rutgers University – Newark’s School of Public Affairs and Administration. Her doctoral thesis explores collective bargaining efforts by local government employees during municipal takeovers in New Jersey. Shilpa’s main research interests include gender and diversity management, and urban local governance. She was an ASPA (American Society for Public Administration) Founders Fellow and a PA Theory Network Fellow in 2018. She is presently secretary of ASPA’s Section for Women in Public Administration (SWPA). In the summer of 2018, Shilpa was chosen to present her doctoral research at the American Society for Public Administration’s 7th International Young Scholars Workshop in Public Policy and Administration Research in Mexico. Prior to her academic endeavors in the United States, Shilpa worked as a researcher at Chatham House and Financial Times in UK. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science and was born and raised in Bangalore, India.


Naomi_YouNaomi You is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.  She is a 1.5 generation Korean American who was born in Korea then lived in Virginia, Germany, and Massachusetts. She attended Boston University as a Political Science major with a concentration in Public Policy and previously interned at the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus and Asian American Women’s Political Initiative. She was with the Massachusetts State Senate for the former MA Senate Majority Leader as a Legislative Aide and Communications Director for over six years before deciding to go back to school. She is proud to be at Heller today, where she can apply her existing policy knowledge to research in assets and inequalities, racial and ethnic wealth gaps, economic mobility and empowerment, and sustainability.


Qi_ZhangQi Zhang is a doctoral student in the Evaluation, Measurement, and Research program at Western Michigan University. His research is focusing on improving methodology in designing impact studies that provide important information for policy decision making. Since his first year in the doctoral program at WMU, Zhang has been involved in a large-scale meta-analysis study that examined the effectiveness of K-12 science teacher interventions. He is also actively involved in several research projects on improving methodology in designing impact studies. These projects focus on current trends in educational policies that are shaping large-scale impact studies funded by government institutions. Zhang plans to carry on his work in improving research methodology and design elements of impact studies to my dissertation research, as well as my professional career in education and policy-related research. Prior to involving in educational research, Zhang was a traditionally trained scientist. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in chemistry. He is a first-generation immigrant to the United States and a member of the LGBTQ community. These experiences have greatly shaped his stance as a researcher in educational policy. Zhang is also a ceramicist in his free time.


For more information about the 2018 Equity & Inclusion Fellowship, please contact Leslie Ofori at