Officers and Staff

On this page you will find our APPAM Leadership, APPAM Staff and the APPAM Leadership Blog below.



Don Moynihan, Georgetown University





Ingrid Gould Ellen, New York University



Immediate Past President


Christopher (Kitt) Carpenter, Vanderbilt University



Vice Presidents


Marci Ybarra, University of Wisconsin, Madison, serves through 2024


Stephanie Moulton, Ohio State University serves through 2025




Liana_Fox Liana Fox, Census Bureau, serves through 2024



Jillian_Berk Jillian Berk, Mathematica, serves through 2025


Chair, Committee of Institutional Representatives

2023-01-12_Mark_Long_005_cropped Mark Long, University of California, Riverside, serves through April 2025


JPAM Editor


Erdal Tekin, American University


Past Presidents

The Journal of Policy Analysis & Management (JPAM) has published the APPAM Presidential address since 1988. Each president's remarks have been printed in the year following their term. You can read the entire JPAM issue online through the link provided. (Please note that the 1995 remarks were those of Past President Donald Stokes, who presided as APPAM President from 1984-1985.)


Executive Director

Tara Sheehan has served as the Executive Director of the Association since 2010. In this role, she is the Chief Operating Officer and oversees all programs, services and the strategic direction for APPAM. Her responsibilities include oversight of all meetings and conferences, including the annual Fall Research Conference, attended by more than 1,750 academics, practitioners, researchers, and students who present original research at 250-plus sessions each November. She also manages APPAM’s finances, website, publications, awards, member services and all governance functions for the 2,000 member organization. During her tenure, APPAM underwent its first ever strategic planning process, redesigned the website, established a social media presence, redesigned the logo, reduced the size of the governing board, increased the budget of the organization by 20%, increased its membership and made the organization more responsive to member needs.

Previously, Ms. Sheehan was the Director of Membership and Marketing at the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). Her responsibilities included management of the annual conference, creation of content for the website, and management of a monthly magazine. Prior to RTDNA, Ms. Sheehan was the Membership and Marketing Director for the United Motorcoach Association (UMA), a trade association in Alexandria, VA. She has served as the number two staff position at both RTDNA and UMA and has a long history of association and non-profit management experience in the Washington, DC area.

Ms. Sheehan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Politics from New York University. She received a Master of Public Policy degree, with a concentration in Transportation Policy, from George Mason University.

Deputy Executive Director

Samantha Oliver Thomason serves as the Deputy Executive Director for APPAM. In this role, she oversees all event, membership, and administration activities of the association. She works closely with APPAM leadership to ensure that the organization remains on the forefront of innovation within the public policy field.

Samantha earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from East Carolina University and moved back to the DC area after graduation. She planned & executed over 300 events during her time as an event manager in Tysons, VA. These events ranged from large-scale galas to small-scale meetings and everything in-between.

Directors of Programs and Conferences

Leslie Ofori joined APPAM in July 2017 and serves as the Directors of Programs and Conferences. She is responsible for coordinating the logistics and providing support for all APPAM conferences and meetings. She helps ensure that all events achieve APPAM’s goals and objectives. She also oversees APPAM's Equity and Inclusion Fellowship Program. Previously, she as part of APPAM’s partnership with the American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon), she was responsible for coordinating ASHEcon’s Annual Conference, managing the awards submissions process, coordinating membership and marketing efforts. She also served as the Managing Editor of the American Journal of Health Economics.

Prior to APPAM, Leslie worked as the Development Assistant at Jobs With Justice, where she provided administrative support to the Development office and participated in all institutional advancement activities including donor and public relations, direct mail appeals, and special events coordination. Leslie moved to the District of Columbia after graduating from Loyola University in Maryland with a degree in communications. Prior to Jobs With Justice, she worked as a contractor with the Corporation for National and Community Service, the nation’s largest grantmaker, supporting grant application processing. She has also worked on campaigns to raise awareness about the impact of oil drilling in the Amazon, help immigrants navigate the judicial system and address the high school dropout crisis. 

Communications Manager

Andrew Pelesh joined APPAM in January 2024 as Communications Manager, where he develops the overall communications strategy and leads content development for the organization.

Previously, Andrew served as Communications Manager at Strada Education Foundation, where he led strategic communications initiatives and marketing campaigns while creating a wide variety of digital content. Prior to this, he held communications, advocacy, and policy roles at Martha’s Table and the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Andrew earned his bachelor’s degree in History from New York University. 

Program and Conference Manager

April Davis joined APPAM in Spring 2019 as the Program and Conference Manager for APPAM’s recent partnership with the National Tax Association (NTA). She is responsible for coordinating NTA’s membership and managing the conference submissions for the NTA’s Spring Symposium and Annual Conference.

April previously worked as the Preconception Peer Educator (PPE) Coordinator for the Office of Minority Health Resource Center where she was responsible for overseeing the organization’s peer educator program for college students. Prior to that role, April was employed with TM FOURM, a non-profit member organization, as the Speaker Manager where she managed the speakers for the organization’s domestic and international conferences.

April holds a Bachelor’s degree in U.S. History from the College of Charleston, a Master of Arts degree in Education from The Citadel, and a Master of Public Health from The George Washington University.

Membership Engagement and Partnerships Manager

Michelle Avaroma joined APPAM in October 2022 as the Program and Conference Manager for the American Society of Health Economist (ASHEcon) before transitioning to her role supporting APPAM Membership Engagement and Partnerships.

Michelle previously worked as the Director of PeaceJam Mid-Atlantic, a regional affiliate of PeaceJam, an international education program that connects youth with Nobel Peace Prize winners. In her role she was responsible for coordinating the annual conference featuring a Nobel Laureate. Prior to her role with PeaceJam, she served as the Communications Coordinator for the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, a statewide non-profit member organization supporting youth and families in crisis. Michelle earned her Bachelor’s in History & International Affairs and received a Master in Public Administration, specializing in non profit management, from Florida State University.

Program Services Manager

Caitlin Sneff-Nuckles joined APPAM in Summer 2024 as the Program Services Manager. She is responsible for APPAM membership services and registration processes for APPAM events.

Prior to APPAM, Caitlin worked as a Project Coordinator and Event Coordinator for a number of corporate and government clients. She managed a number large scale marketing and development projects. Caitlin has planned and overseen a large number of events from smaller scale meetings to national corporate conferences.

Caitlin holds a Bachelors degree in Government and International Politics from George Mason University.