Students

Next Generation Leaders

The Next Generation Leaders page showcases the best students in the field of public administration, public policy, and public management graduated or expected to graduate from participating universities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

Sponsor Schools

Tyler Arkatin

School: West Chester University
Area of Study: M.P.A., Nonprofit Management
Graduation Date: May 2019

Tyler Arkatin graduated from West Chester University of Pennsylvania in 2013 with a B.A. in History and Political Science.  His undergraduate academic performance gained him membership to Phi Alpha Theta honor society.  After graduation, Tyler started work in constituent relations for the Pennsylvania State Senate.  In this position, Tyler has assisted nonprofits in navigating government programs and developed a specialty on matters affecting seniors and animal protection which has led him to advocate for protecting senior benefits in Pennsylvania as well as drafting and promoting pet protection legislation.  In the Fall of 2017, Tyler returned to West Chester to pursue an M.P.A. with a focus on Nonprofit Management.  He currently maintains a 4.0 and hopes of excelling his career to the management level after graduation.

Employment Interests:

A management position for a nonprofit, specifically in a development role, or senior staff in an elected office.

Shahinshah Faisal Azim

School: Penn State Harrisburg
Area of Study: Public Administration, Intersectoral Collaboration, Public Health Policy
Graduation Date: PhD, 2020

Shahinshah Faisal Azim is a Ph.D. candidate in School of public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg. He holds Masters’ degree in Development Economics and Policy from the University of Manchester UK and Masters’ degree in Business Administration (Finance) from the University of the Punjab, Pakistan. With two decades of administration and policy experience in diverse areas of education, health, and planning and development, he is now in the dissertation phase of the Ph.D. program with focus on the role of built-environment in creating population health. He has presented his research at ASPA and NECoPA. He is also teaching undergraduate courses in the areas of comparative political systems and health care management at the School of Public Affairs, Penn State Harrisburg.

Employment Interests:

Practice and research in the areas of public administration, and multisectoral collaboration on built-environment change for disease prevention and health promotion.

Jennifer Bert

School: University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
Area of Study: Public Administration and Policy / Housing and Community Development
Graduation Date: PhD, April 2019

Jennifer is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pittsburgh where she studies public administration and policy with a focus on public housing policy. Jennifer’s dissertation examines the outcomes of participants in the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh’s Family Self-Sufficiency program. She is also part of a research team that studies gentrification in Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Jennifer currently works for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a Senior Management Analyst, Office of Field Policy and Management, Pittsburgh Field Office. Previously, Jennifer was a Program Analyst, HUD’s Philadelphia Regional Office, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica. Education: MPIA, GSPIA; BA, Temple University.

Employment Interests:

Teaching and researching public policy and administration, with a particular interest in housing policy and community development. 

Abbey Ford

School: Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Area of Study: Government & Political Affairs and Political Economics
Graduation Date: BA, Spring 2020

Abbey is a junior at Millersville University studying Government and Economics. She is involved in local community-based organizations that work to strengthen the greater Lancaster area. Currently the Vice President of Advocacy & Outreach for the Student Government Association of Millersville University, Abbey has been working with university partners to address issues of food insecurity, campus safety, and creating an inclusionary campus environment. She is also a fellow for the Walker Center for Civic Engagement and Leadership where she helps educate the student body on civic responsibilities. In addition to her academic and extracurricular involvement, she is the intern for a congressional candidate overseeing and coordinating the logistical measures of the candidate's campaign events.

Employment Interests:

Electoral campaigns, community organizing, local economic revitalization projects, local government public service positions, non-profit work.

Christina Gantt

School: West Chester University
Area of Study: Public Administration
Graduation Date: May 2017

My name is Christina Gantt. I graduated from West Chester University with a Bachelor’s degree in 2017. The very next semester, I returned to pursue my Master’s Degree in Public Administration. I am now a second-year graduate student in the MPA program and will be graduating this upcoming May. I love music, fashion, and traveling. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, cooking, and spending time with friends and family. I have always had a passion for helping others, and being a public administrator will truly help me to make a difference in my community, and even the world.

Employment Interests:
As of now, I plan to obtain a career in the field of Human Resources. I also have a strong interest in nonprofit administration. I would love to work for a nonprofit organization devoted to helping low income minority adolescents obtain a college degree. I dream of one day establishing a nonprofit organization of my own that is dedicated to the growth and development of underprivileged youth.

Brett Mauser

School: Penn State Harrisburg
Area of Study: Master of Public Administration
Graduation Date: May 4, 2019

Brett graduated from Penn State Harrisburg with a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy and from Harrisburg Area Community College with an Associate of Arts in Social Sciences. As an undergraduate student he interned in the offices of Pennsylvania State Representative Sue Helm and U.S. Senator Pat Toomey. Brett was also fortunate to be selected to participate in the prestigious Pennsylvania House of Representatives Legislative Fellowship Program where he was assigned to the House Local Government Committee (R). He has studied abroad in Turkey and England. Further, Brett has been a Writing Tutor at Harrisburg Area Community College for many years where he has tutored students from over 40 different countries around the world. The time abroad as well as tutoring students with diverse backgrounds has given him a greater appreciation for different cultures and perspectives. In addition to his tutoring at HACC, Brett is employed by Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. Public service has long been a calling for Brett. He knew that he wanted to work in public affairs since his 8thgrade civics class. For many people their occupation is a job, but for Brett public service is a calling. After graduation Brett intends to continue in his career with Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

Employment Interests:

 

State Government, Human Resource Management, Public Budgeting & Financial Management, Higher Education, Law Enforcement

Huiting Qi

School: Penn State Harrisburg
Area of Study: Public Administration (Specialization: Organizations and Human Resource Management)
Graduation Date: Ph.D, 2021

Huiting Qi is a Ph.D candidate in School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg. She got her bachelor and master’s degree in Political Science. Her research interests include collaborative governance network, organizational theory, and organizational behavior. Her research has been published in American Review of Public Administration, Administration & Society, International Journal of Public Policy, and Journal of Chinese Governance. She is interested in teaching organizational theory, organizational behavior, etc. 

Employment Interests:

Research or teaching position in academia or nonprofit organizations.  

Candace Rutherford

School: Penn State Harrisburg
Area of Study: Masters of Public Administration
Graduation Date: May 4, 2019

Candace graduated from Virginia Tech University with a degree in Communication/Public Relations. After graduation she worked as a program coordinator for a Virginia Tech study abroad program. She lived in Adigrat, Ethiopia and Lugano, Switzerland working as a liaison with the program administration and the local communities. This time abroad solidified Candace’s interest in education, particularly global education. This interest led her to apply to the MPA program at Penn State where she has served as a Graduate Research Assistant for two years. After graduation Candace hopes to use her skills to advocate for educational opportunities for underserved populations domestically and globally. 

Employment Interests:

Education Administration and Policy, Program Management 

Alaina Sforza

School: West Chester University
Area of Study: Public Administration
Graduation Date: MPA, 2020

Alaina graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a degree in English and American Studies. She served as Senior District Representative for the 7th Congressional District of Pennsylvania where she focused on immigration and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) casework and legislation. Recently, Alaina was hired as the Office and Operations Manager of Barsz, Gowie Amon & Fultz (BGA&F) an accounting firm that specializes in financial services for municipalities, campaigns, government entities, and elected officials. Outside of the office, Alaina is an avid supporter of many local non-profits, political action committees and campaigns. Most notably she was selected as a District Leader by the Humane Society of the United States where she works towards passing humane legislation at the federal, state and local levels.

Employment Interests:

I hope to learn and grow with my current company BGA&F.

Saahir Shafi

School: Penn State Harrisburg
Area of Study: Public Administration, Organization Theory & Public Management
Graduation Date: PhD, 2022

Saahir is a Doctoral student at Penn State Harrisburg studying public administration. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Employment Relations from Penn State, University Park. Saahir’s work experience has focused on data analysis and the use of performance metrics to drive operational efficiencies. Her current research interests focus on the integration of the fields of organizational behavior, organizational theory, and public administration (i.e. behavioral public administration). She has presented her research at NECoPA and ASPA’s 2019 annual conference.

Employment Interests:

Teaching and researching in the field of public administration with a specialization in the areas of organizational theory and public management. 

Skye Sorresso

School: Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Area of Study: Major in Government and Political Affairs, Minors in Marketing and International Studies
Graduation Date: BA, May 2019

Skye Sorresso is a Senior at Millersville University working towards a BA in Government and Political Affairs. As a fellow of the Walker Center for Civic Responsibility and Leadership, she has worked to promote civic engagement and political efficacy through a voter engagement and education initiative on campus. This past summer, Skye completed an internship with Representative Carol Hill-Evans of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. While interning, she worked to organize constituent outreach events, researched education and criminal justice reform, and attended over a dozen community events on the Representative’s behalf. After graduating in May of 2019, she hopes to work in state or local government fostering communication between constituents and their elected officials.

Employment Interests:

Local/State government, constituent outreach