MPA Alumnus Brings Policy to Life at Regional Think Tank

January 20 Friday 01:00 PM

Dustin Pugel graduated from our MPA program in 2012. He received his  bachelor's degree in History from Asbury University, where his passion for public service was ignited by his student government involvement. As the study body Vice President for Governance, Dustin had the opportunity to work on student policy issues. He decided to pursue his MPA to learn more about the policy process and evaluation. He currently works for the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (KCEP), which is an initiative of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED). In describing his current work, Dustin says, "I love this job… It's a dream job."

In his work as a Research and Policy Associate, Dustin researches and advocates for policies related to low-income Kentuckians, often collaborating with key stakeholders both in and outside of government. Often working on many projects at once, he has recently focused on the Medicaid expansion, the minimum wage, public assistance programs, higher education funding, and early childhood education in Kentucky. Prior to his current job, Dustin was a community organizer.

The Martin School helped Dustin develop the perspective and the skills to tackle such a wide variety of policy problems in complex political environments. Dustin felt that the faculty not only were experts in their fields, but also really brought the material to life. For instance, one of his key takeaways from our program was the importance of the budgeting process; as he put it, the budget is a "values-setting document… You can't understand society's preferences unless you understand their wallet." Dr. Hackbart and Dr. Denison would agree!

The Martin School also instilled in him the art of communicating complex ideas in simple but powerful ways. Dr. Wilson, who advised Dustin on his Capstone Project, really pushed him to write in an engaging way for his intended audience. His hard work paid off! Dustin received the Reedy Award for his research on state-by-state migration by educational attainment, commonly referred to as "brain gain" or "brain drain" depending on the trend.  

Martin School Grad & Visiting Professor Named Co-Editor of Major Publication

December 9 Friday 02:37 PM

We are excited to share the news that Dr. Jeremy Hall, a graduate of our Ph.D program and visiting professor, has been named a Co-Editor for Public Administration Review, the academic journal published by the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA).

Dr. Hall, who is a professor and MPA Director at the University of Central Florida, received his Ph.D from the Martin School in 2005. He is back at the Martin School this academic year as a Visiting Professor while Dr. Petrovsky is on sabbatical. We are so pleased (and not in the least surprised) to hear of his latest achievement! Congratulations, Dr. Hall! 

Fall Capstone Defense Schedule

November 18 Friday 11:29 AM

Students graduating this winter will defend their Capstone Projects on Monday, November 28th in the 4th floor conference room at Patterson Office Tower. Each student will present their research to a panel of faculty and practitioners, followed by questions. We encourage students to attend!

Below is the schedule for the day. If you do plan to stop by for a presentation, please be mindful of when sessions start and end-- we ask that folks do not enter or leave the room while presentations are in progress.


Capstone Defense Schedule

8:30 am: Coakley, Tricia

9: 15 am: Johnson, Lisa

10 am: Yoo, G.

10:45 am: Yoo, B.

11:30 am: Kim

Lunch Break

1:45 pm: Brothers, Sheila

2:30 pm: An, Maeng Ryoul

3:15 pm: Comer, Elisha

4 pm: Ceesay, Ismaila

PhD Student Wins Prize at APPAM Conference for Research

November 10 Thursday 04:38 PM

Cole Rakow, who recently defended his dissertation successfully, presented his research at APPAM. His poster and presentation won him third place! Congratulations, Cole! You can watch his presentation below, or check out the paper summary here: "Revenue Complexity Vs. Revenue Diversification: A New Empirical Approach to an Old Debate."

Dr. Petrovsky Reports from Afield

November 3 Thursday 11:30 AM

This year, Dr. Petrovsky, one of the Martin School’s professors, is spending his sabbatical in Hong Kong! When he isn’t enjoying delicious roast duck, he’s learning from the students and professors at the City University of Hong Kong.

“Basically, I'm an apprentice/participant observer in the Laboratory for Public Management and Policy here at City University of Hong Kong, so I can learn the practicalities of designing and running experiments about public management questions,” he says. This fall, for instance, they’re doing an experiment on campus to better understand how to incentivize recycling for academic departments. They aren’t just working on local projects, though. The Lab is also working with a student to create an app that queries poll recipients about their public service experiences. The cool thing about this new app is that it “could obtain the location of the participants and so it might be possible to get a better understanding of whether people react in the same way depending on whether they are currently using a service (e.g. public transportation) or not.”

Dr. Petrovsky is also soaking up the political and policy landscape of both China and Hong Kong through a seminar and meeting new people. The relationship between mainland China and the self-governing city is at odds at times; many people, and especially many younger people, worry about the future status of the city. However, Hong Kong also has its share of public policy problems. The young graduate students Dr. Petrovsky has met are concerned about their professional prospects and how to find affordable housing. “So, there is the fantastic city that created so much wealth and has offered so much opportunity to people and has such well-working public services, but now it faces serious trouble.”

It’s clear Dr. Petrovsky is not only enjoying his sabbatical, but will also bring back important skills that will enhance his research. We look forward to having him back at the Martin School!