**alumni of the PPIA Program
‡ex officio non-voting
**alumni of the PPIA Program
**alumni of the PPIA Program
‡ex officio non-voting
Dean, The Humphrey School of Public Affairs
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Laura Bloomberg became dean of Humphrey School in June 2017 and previously had served as associate dean since January 2013. As the School’s principal academic officer she led efforts to launch a Master of Human Rights degree, support the global expansion of the School, establish a Foundations for Success summer prep program for all incoming students, create a national pipeline program for college students underrepresented in public affairs programs, and develop the Mandela Washington Fellowship program to support young leaders from countries across Africa. In response to a United States Presidential Commission request Bloomberg helped launch the nation’s first fully online program to develop leaders in the field of democratic election administration, which is now in its second year of operation at the Humphrey School.
Bloomberg serves on the executive council of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), considered the global standard in public service education. She chairs the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation, which reviews and accredits public affairs degree programs in the United States and in a dozen countries across the globe. Bloomberg’s service to the University of Minnesota includes membership on the executive committees of the Hennepin-University Partnership, the Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center, and the Center for Transportation Studies. She currently chairs the University’s Council of Research Associate Deans.
As a member of the Humphrey School graduate faculty Bloomberg has taught courses on leadership and management, educational innovation, and program evaluation. She has received several awards for teaching, including the Humphrey School students’ award for Instructor of the Year (2010 and 2011). She also received a University of Minnesota Outstanding Faculty Member Award from the Council of Graduate Students (2011).
Bloomberg previously served as executive director of the Center for Integrative Leadership, a joint initiative of the Humphrey School, Carlson School of Management, School of Public Health and College of Education and Human Development. Prior to joining the Humphrey School in 2007, Bloomberg was a school district administrator and principal of a K-12 urban magnet school. From 1990-1996 she concurrently was an instructor and researcher in the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. Bloomberg has served as a locally elected school board member in Mahtomedi, Minnesota (1996-2004) and chaired the Association of Metropolitan School Districts.
Bloomberg’s research and policy work focuses on community-based leadership, public value creation, cross-cultural dialogue and educational policy. Bloomberg has authored articles on creating public value, program evaluation, policy development, cross-agency leadership and collaboration, and educational policy analysis. The co-edited volume Public Value and Public Administration (Bryson, Crosby and Bloomberg, 2015) received a Best Book Award for research from the American Society of Public Administration.
Bloomberg has consulted on education policy initiatives with the provincial governments of Canada, graduate education programs in China, Tribal Councils of Indigenous Nations, the European Union, countries across Africa and the island country of Cyprus. She has worked with several states, federal agencies, and the National Governors Association to improve civic leadership and education systems across the United States.
Bloomberg holds a bachelor’s degree in special education from St. Cloud State University, master’s degrees in psychometrics and educational psychology from Cornell University, and a PhD in educational policy and administration from the University of Minnesota.
Leigh Morris Sloane is Managing Director of International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) -Americas. In this role, she manages operations and outreach for the Washington office and works closely with her IISS colleagues around the world to ensure that constituents based in the Americas connect with the Institute’s world-leading research and convening power. Leigh has over 20 years of experience working in the international affairs arena at the nexus of research, higher education and policy making. Prior to joining IISS, Leigh served as Chief of Staff at the Brookings Institution where she managed the executive secretariat and activities of the president, Strobe Talbott. From 2008-2013, Leigh served as the Executive Director of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA). In this role, she managed programs and services and developed new initiatives for APSIA's 70 plus full and affiliate member schools around the world. Additionally, Leigh has managed the Congress and US Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations and helped establish the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School with Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill. Leigh is particularly committed to encouraging and increasing the opportunity for the next generation of talent from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in the international affairs field. In her spare time, she serves as vice-chair of the board of directors for the Public Policy and International Affairs fellowship program (PPIA).
Leigh spent nearly two years studying and working in Hungary in the early 1990s, at Budapest University of Economics and later at Veszprém University followed by time working for the American University in Bulgaria both in the US and in Blagoevgrad. She has a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics in History and Theory of International Relations with a focus on Cold War history and a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Director of Recruiting and Admissions, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
University of Michigan
Beth Soboleski is responsible for the oversight of all recruiting and admissions processes and events for the Ford School. She also represents the Ford School at graduate fairs and other student recruiting events and serves as the Ford School admissions representative in professional organizations such as APSIA, APPAM and NASPAA. As part of the recruitment strategy, she develops and maintains our partnership programs with organizations such as Teach for America, Americorps, and the Peace Corps. She also supervises the admissions office staff. Ms. Soboleski received her B.S. degree in public administration from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan and also holds a master of public policy degree from the University of Michigan.
Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
Tara Sheehan is the executive director of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) where she is the senior manager of an international research conference in public policy (over 1,500 attendees) as well as the association’s finances (annual budget: $1 millon), website, publications and other activities. She comes to APPAM from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), where she was the Director of Membership and Marketing for three years. Her duties included management of the annual conference, attended by 2,000 members. Prior to RTDNA, Ms. Sheehan was the Membership and Marketing Director for the United Motorcoach Association (UMA), a trade association in Alexandria, VA, for four years. She has served as the number two staff position at both RTDNA and UMA and has a long history of association and non-profit experience in the Washington, D.C. area.
Ms. Sheehan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Politics from New York University in 1998. She received a Master of Public Policy degree from George Mason University in 2005.
President and CEO
Trading and Consulting International, Inc.
Albert Beckford Jones is Chairman and CEO of Trading & Consulting International, Inc. (TC Iternational/www.gointernationally.com) based in Chicago, with activities in the US and internationally. TC International, a firm which he founded in 1992, assists private and public sector institutions in the development and implementation of international and global strategies. Mr. Jones has served as the interlocutor for numerous U.S. institutions doing business with foreign entities. Mr. Jones has applied his extensive working knowledge and cultural understanding to STEM and innovation capacity building internationally.
Mr. Jones is, also, the Advisorto the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Research Competitiveness Program (RCP)- an international non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. Triple A-S” (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society, seeks to "advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people”. Mr. Jones assists RCP (and other AAAS programs) in their business development efforts with foreign governments, and institutions of science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), research, innovation, and entrepreneurship; he lays the ground work for international programmatic work and S&T collaboration. In 2011-2013, Mr. Jones was the Manager of Business Development at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), a multi-billion-dollar endowed, science and research university in Saudi Arabia.
From 2008-2010, Mr. Jones was the Senior Advisorto the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF Global), a Washington, DC based nonprofit organization authorized by the U.S. Congress and established in 1995 by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This unique public-private partnership promotes international scientific and technical collaboration, in over 30 countries, through grants, technical resources, and training and Mr. Jones led CRDF’s global business development and international scientific and technical partnerships with the leadership in foreign governments, corporations and institutions worldwide to address complex global challenges in health, energy, agriculture, security, human capital development and non-proliferation (NP).
Previously, Mr. Jones served 2006-2007 as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Executive Director of General Motors Corporation’s largest international dealership in the Middle East – and one of the largest in the world – (where he managed a budget of $400 million USD associated with assets in excess of $2 billion USD and oversaw 3,000 employees). Prior to this, he was the Chairman & CEO of Trading & Consulting International, Inc, and from the period of 1990-2003, Mr. Jones served as a licensed Financial Advisor in Merrill Lynch Global Private Client Group, Vice President and Senior Manager of Corporate Strategic Planning for KeyCorp/KeyBank, a Special Business Analyst for the executive management of British Petroleum, and a Corporate Strategist for the executive management and Vice Chairman of the Board of First Chicago Corporation (now Chase Bank). Mr. Jones has advised a variety of domestic and international fortune 500 hundred companies on international business and joint ventures matters in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and South America including: United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney, the Cleveland Advanced Manufacturing Company (now known as MAGNET: Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network), U.S. academic institutions on the implementation of international exchange agreements in South America, CRDF Global, and Key bank on global private equity and capital raising initiatives. He commands a working knowledge of a foreign language (Arabic).
Mr. Jones is an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (PPIA) Fellow from both Harvard University and the University of Chicago, where he earned a master's degree from the University of Chicago Harris, Graduate School of Public Policy. He earned a second master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1982) Graduate School of Economics with a concentration in International Finance and Economic Development, where he also earned a BA (1981) in Economics and was President of the University’s Student (Body) Association, an Intercollegiate Division I Athlete (basketball), and selected by Princeton University Foundation for Communication for academic achievement and leadership.
Mr. Jones has presented speeches at World Leadership and International Economic Forums on subjects related to Economic Growth and International Competitiveness and Global Poverty, such as the Jeddah Economic Forum. Mr. Jones has served as a Director /Trustee on several U.S. and international boards including the National Council of International Program (CIP) USA board of trustee, Chicago Council on International Programs, Chicago Council on Foreign Relations (Global Affairs), Chairman Emeritus of TC International, Cleveland State University Foundation Board of Trustee, Lake Erie College Board of Trustee, Cleveland Music School Settlement Board of Trustee and Cleveland Council on World Affairs Board of Trustee.
He and his wife, a Professor of 19th Century American and British Literature, reside in Chicago, Illinois and have one adult daughter (who is an award-winning journalist).
Senior Assistant Dean for Academic Programs and Dean of Students, Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy
University of California-Berkeley
Martha Chavez is the Senior Assistant Dean for Academic Programs and Dean of Students at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. She leads 10 academic programs, including the #1 ranked public policy analysis master’s program, as well as undergraduate, concurrent master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Dean Chavez has designed new academic programs and directs all aspects of academic and student affairs, including academic planning, admissions, enrollment management, financial aid, diversity initiatives, student leadership, career services, alumni services, student conduct, and strategic management of degree program budgets.
In addition to working with PPIA on national diversity initiatives, she leads school-wide diversity programs and has served on diversity and academic panels at APPAM and NASPAA national conferences. Prior to her career in higher education, she served as the Senior Director of Programs at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and as a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Planning and Evaluation Service and Office of Migrant Education.
Dean Chavez is one of the first in her family to complete an elementary, secondary and college education. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from UC Berkeley and Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, where she was a PPIA fellowship recipient. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Education at UC Berkeley. Dean Chavez has mentored and inspired thousands of students to pursue higher education.
CEO and Principal Consultant
As CEO and Principal Consultant of Corral Consulting, Richard Xavier Corral, MPP brings over twelve years of professional experience along with a lifelong commitment to advancing social change to the nonprofit, for profit, corporate, community-based, government, and philanthropic organizations with whom he consults.
Mr. Corral seamlessly integrates his extensive formal studies, passion for building business know-how and big picture problem solving to craft win-win solutions around education, health and wellness, green economies, LGBTQ equality, place-based initiatives and supplier diversity. Corral Consulting’s diverse clientele benefit from a comprehensive set of skills, strategies, content expertise and networks rarely assembled in one firm that are essential to effecting change in today’s fast changing world. Corral Consulting distinguishes itself by crafting workable solutions that cut across business, community, and policy.
To complement his consulting work, Mr. Corral volunteers his time, talents and energy throughout Los Angeles. Thoroughly attuned to both the challenges and opportunities facing under-resourced communities, Mr. Corral served as an elected representative on the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council from 2005 to 2008, provides pro bono consulting to several local startup ventures and serves as the current board president of the San Gabriel Valley Consortium for Homelessness.
Mr. Corral received a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of California at Berkeley, a master’s degree in public policy from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and is a Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellow.
Director, Graduate Student Life
Gilbert Collins has served as the Director of Global Health Programs at the Princeton University Center for Health and Wellbeing since 2016. Before that, he was Director of Graduate Student Life at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School (WWS) for three years. As an alumnus of both the WWS MPA program (1999) and of the Princeton Junior Summer Institute (1995), he returns to the institution that provided the academic foundation for his public service career.
Prior to coming to Princeton, Gilbert served for several years with the U.S. Peace Corps in southern Africa, including four years as Country Director in Namibia and four years as Associate Director in Botswana. Prior to that, he was the Evaluation and Planning Team Leader for the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development, providing strategic and programmatic guidance for relief and development activities around the world.
He has completed internships at the United Nations, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the State Department. He also taught business development and computer literacy for seven months at a community-based NGO in Bangalore, India. Gilbert was selected as a Presidential Management Fellow in 1999.
Before completing his MPA concentrating in Development Studies at the Woodrow Wilson School, Gilbert earned a bachelor’s degree in Government from Harvard University. He has also studied in Berlin and Beijing. Conversant in French, German, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese, Gilbert was born in Germany and was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His hobbies include photography, frisbee, travel, and board games. He is joined by his wife Sara and sons Timothy and Nicholas.
Director, Obama Foundation Scholars Program
Master of Arts in International Development and Policy (MA-IDP)
Jamia Jowers currently serves as the Director of the Obama Foundation Scholars, a Master of Arts in International Development and Policy program for the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. She previously served as the Associate Director of Student Recruitment & Global Outreach as well as worked for the Office of Academic Leadership, Advancement, and Diversity under the Provost where she fostered a diverse and inclusive campus community through initiatives aimed at underrepresented minorities. Prior to that post, Jamia was a staffer with the National Security Council (NSC -African Affairs) in the Executive Office of the President in Washington D.C., and spent two years in the Multilateral Affairs office advocating for human rights and U.N. reform. In her position in African Affairs Directorate Jamia was instrumental in the U.S. – Africa Leaders Summit which focused on trade, investment, and security on the continent. While in the Multilateral Affairs office she contributed to the Atrocity Prevention Board, the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, and the Presidential Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQ Persons. She received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois and her M.A. in International Relations from Salve Regina University. As a National Security Scholar, Jamia’s research interests include global development in the periphery and peace & security issues within Africa.
Sekou Kaalund is a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan and Head of Pension Fund Coverage for the Public Sector Group in the Corporate Investment Bank. Previously, he was responsible for the firm-wide senior relationship coverage for some of the largest investment bank clients, including Asset Managers and Hedge Funds. Kaalund was also Americas Head of Sales for Corporate and Public Pensions and Endowments and foundations. He joined J.P. Morgan as a Managing Director and Global Head of Sales for Private Equity and Real Estate Fund Services.
Kaalund also held leadership roles at Citi, including Head of Strategy for the Securities and Funds Services Group and Head of Strategic Initiatives for the Consumer Lending Group. Kaalund began his career at Federal Reserve Bank of New York and was a Commissioned Bank Examiner.
Kaalund earned a Master’s of Public Policy from Duke University and a Bachelor’s from Hampden-Sydney College. He is active on several boards including New York City Parks Foundation, Duke University School of Public Policy, the Public Policy and International Affairs Program, and the Council of Urban Professionals. He is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council, Milken Young Leader’s Circle, Truman National Security Program, and the Aspen Institute Vanguard Society.
Associate Director of Graduate Student Life and Diversity Initiatives
Laura De Olden is the Director of Princeton’s Junior Summer Institute (JSI), and the Associate Director for Graduate Student Life and Diversity Initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson School. Her strong commitment to advancing diversity goals has marked her career in higher education. For the past three years Laura has been a Lecturer in Public and International Affairs and part of the team teaching the core course in Politics and Public Policy at WWS. She also taught policy writing as part of JSI for a few years. Before coming to Princeton, Laura taught at Northwestern’s Political Science Department, the Business Institutions Program, the Chicago Field Studies Program, and the Master of Public Affairs and Administration Program. Laura takes great pride in helping students from diverse backgrounds thrive academically and maximize their potential. As a mentor and first-generation college student, she can easily relate to students’ strong desire to contribute to something bigger than themselves, to their community and to public service. Laura has played a leadership role in several student organizations. At the University of Chicago, she was the Academic Chair of the Minorities in Public Policy and had a leading role in the Women in Public Policy group. At Princeton, she serves in the Latino Princetonians group and participates in the activities of the Latino Graduate Association and Princeton Latino y Amigos. She earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University and a master’s degree from The Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies of The University of Chicago. Her research interests include Mass Beliefs Systems and Democracy, Race, Ethnicity and Political Attitudes, and Racial Identity in Higher Education.
Global Cash Management, BNP Paribas
Dorene J. Martinez works for BNP Paribas Bank. Before her career in banking, she worked for a variety of international development organizations and New York City’s Comptroller’s Office in the bureau responsible for oversight of the investment portfolio of the five pension systems that make up the New York City Retirement Systems. She sits on the Board of the Public Policy and International Affairs program, is an advocate of diversity and inclusion, sustainable finance and corporate social responsibility. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University.
Director of Membership Development
Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration
As Director of Membership Development at NASPAA, David is charged with building productive relationships with deans, directors, and faculty members, and matching them to NASPAA's projects and volunteer responsibilities. Through this effort he seeks to significantly improve participation of selective schools, small schools, HBCUs, HSIs, and other underrepresented programs. He also recruits and manages NASPAA’s committees and sections, including NASPAA’s award selection committees. Finally, David manages the operations of the Pi Alpha Alpha honor society as an ad hoc committee of NASPAA.
David brings a variety of professional experiences to NASPAA including undergraduate college admissions, government relations, and management consulting. David completed his undergraduate studies at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He earned a Master's of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He also holds a Master of Arts in Advertising also from the University of Texas.
Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs
Carmen Mezzera became executive director of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs on January 1, 2014. Previously, she served as Director of Programs and Operations at the Bretton Woods Committee; Executive Director of the Fair Trade Federation; Assistant Director for Education and Outreach at the Atlantic Council of the United States; and Director of Alumni Relations for the School of International Service (SIS) at American University.
Graduating Phi Beta Kappa from SIS, Ms. Mezzera stayed on to complete her master’s degree with a focus on international organizations and sustainable development. In the course of her studies, Ms. Mezzera provided analyses for NATO’s Partnership for Peace in Mons, Belgium and at the United Nations Development Program Washington Office.
Among her volunteer work, Ms. Mezzera has served as Vice Chair of the Board for St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington DC, Co-Chair of the Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade, and Director-At-Large of the Abyssinian Fund in Harlem, NY. She has written and/or provided interviews for CNN, CBS, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart Living, Vogue, and Cooperative Grocer Magazine – among other outlets – and spoken at numerous national and international conferences. She received the 2008 Rising Star Alumni Award from American University.
Director of the Master of Science in Public Policy and Management Program, Heinz College
Carnegie Mellon University
Gladys Perez is Director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Master of Science in Public Policy and Management Program and an alumna of the program. Prior to Carnegie Mellon she held positions as the Community Initiatives Program Manager for the United Way of Allegheny County and spent four years as a Legislative Aide and Director for Texas State Representative Robert R. Puente. Ms. Perez received a B.A in Political Science from Boston University and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from the H. John Heinz III College.
Simone Gbolo joined PPIA as the National Director in Minneapolis, MN in 2016. The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota was selected as the new host institution for the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Program National Office and moved in the spring of 2016. In this capacity she is responsible for overseeing organizational operations and supporting our alumni and consortium members.
Simone comes to PPIA from the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Office of Admissions, where she has served as director of its Pipeline Programs since 2013. In this role Simone led the initiatives that assist students from broadly diverse backgrounds to successfully matriculate to medical school. Prior to this, she served as associate program director of the North Star STEM Alliance, Minnesota’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) at the University of Minnesota where she helped socialize students to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and STEM careers. Her professional background has included varied experiences in higher education and nonprofit organizations including Century College, St. Catherine University, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the American Lung Association. In all of her work Simone has demonstrated a deep commitment to developing meaningful initiatives that cultivate and engage students as they pursue careers that impact social change and transformation and providing service to others in addressing the social challenges in the world.
Simone has a B.S., an M.Ed. and an M.A. from the University of Minnesota, and is earning her Ph.D. in Higher Education, also from the University of Minnesota.
James Chan - Florida
James Chan currently works to ensure that the voices of the emerging American majority in Florida are heard in the democratic process. He's previously served as the Research Director for former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink at the Florida Next Foundation. James has also worked on the State and Local Government Affairs team at Target Corporation's headquarters in Minneapolis.
In 2017, the Tampa Bay Business Journal named James as an Up & Comer Under 30. In 2016, the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies selected him for the National Leadership Academy, a program aimed at training more AAPIs to run for public office. In that same year, he was chosen as 1 of 10 people across the country as a Victory Empowerment Fellow, Victory Institute's program to train more LGBT people of color to run for public office.
James is an alum of New Leaders Council and is currently the Chapter Co-Director of New Leaders Council Tampa Bay. He's an alum of College Leadership Florida Class XIII and Connect Florida Class VII, both programs within the Leadership Florida organization. A proud University of Florida alum and UF Hall of Fame inductee, he holds a BA in Political Science and Business Administration. He also holds a Masters in Public Policy from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Antoinnae Comeaux - California
Antoinnae Comeaux is a 2008 UC Berkeley PPIA alum, and earned her B.A. in International Political Economy and her Master of Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley.
Currently, Antoinnae is a Public Policy & Contracts Analyst for the County of Santa Clara in San Jose, California, leading the development of the County's living wage policy, the creation of a business diversity program, and is supporting the implementation of technology solutions for countywide procurement operations and analysis. Previously in her role as a mixed-methods researcher, Antoinnae evaluated workforce development programs for the Department of Labor. Additionally, Antoinnae has worked in California' Capitol, serving as the Legislative Director for the University of California Student Association (UCSA), a nonprofit higher education advocacy organization, where she lead the initiation and passage of a sponsored bill on tuition at public universities in California.
Antoinnae began her time in Sacramento as a Senate Fellow assigned to the Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development chaired by then Senator Negrete McLeod, in which she wrote analyses of pending legislation and staffed a bill on job training benefits for unemployed workers. Antoinnae is passionate about transforming policy that impacts under-served communities and engaging communities in electoral politics, and is excited to contribute to the organization that has helped to launch her career in public service.
Josh Diosomito - California
Josh Diosomito is a Senior Homeland Security Analyst with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO is an independent federal agency that investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars and advises Congress and the heads of executive agencies how to enhance government efficiency and effectiveness.
As an Analyst-in-Charge, Josh is responsible for managing performance audits that evaluate programs administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). For over a decade, he has been involved in and managed performance audits overseeing DHS aviation, border, and maritime security operations and has traveled overseas to conduct field work. Currently, he is leading a team examining foreign airport security operations in Cuba.
As a public servant, Josh also serves as a certified Diversity Instructor and teaches courses on enhancing awareness of diversity and inclusion issues-including unconscious/implicit bias, workplace civility, and effective listening, among others. As a former Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow (Berkeley Summer Institute), he has dedicated his career towards promoting the inclusion and full participation of underrepresented groups in the public service arena and advocates for their leadership roles throughout the federal government.
Josh earned his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley and dual master's degree in public administration and international relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Outside the office, he is a devoted husband and father, active faith leader, marathon runner, and weekend golfer.
Ben Fong - California
Benjamin Fong works in strategic partnerships at Spin, a venture-backed transportation tech company focusing on dockless bikeshare and electric vehicles. Ben participated in the JSI program at Princeton, where he returned as a Program Assistant in 2010. In his spare time, Ben serves as Planning Commissioner for the City of Berkeley where he works to reduce housing costs.
Ben previously worked as a U.S. diplomat where he represented the United States abroad as Assistant Cultural Attaché in Mumbai, India, Acting American Citizen Services Chief in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and as a U.S. delegate to the Asia-Pacific Cooperation Forum (APEC). Ben has a MBA from UC Berkeley, a MPA from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School and received a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University. Ben grew up in Houston, Texas and is passionate about urban innovation and technology.
Nicky Grist - New York
Lisa-Nicolle (Nicky) Grist is a Principal at the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. Her portfolio includes evaluation, research, and managing the CFE Fund's finances. Previously, Nicky served as Senior Director of Evaluation for the National Urban League; as the Executive Director of Unmarried Equality, a national social policy advocacy organization; and as the Executive Director of Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a Brooklyn housing counseling agency. Her early career included community organizing in the South Bronx, project managing affordable housing developments in Staten Island and Brooklyn, and two years with USAID in Nairobi, Kenya.
In 1986, Nicky received a Sloan Foundation Fellowship to attend the Junior Summer Program at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She earned a BA Summa Cum Laude from Yale College in 1987, and a Master's in Public Affairs and Urban and Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School in 1992, when she was honored with the Association of Black Princeton Alumni service award. She received a Fannie Mae Fellowship to attend the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2004. A native New Yorker, Nicky lives with her partner and two cats in an unusual Brooklyn loft where they all enjoy entertaining and gardening.
The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Juana Hernandez is a 2008 PPIA alumnus who is dedicated to advancing education equity. Hernandez currently serves as Higher Education Manager of the L.A. Compact, a collective impact initiative that brings together twenty-three key Los Angeles institutions from education, government, labor, business, and the nonprofit sector to transform student outcomes in the region. In this role, she staffs the Compact's Institutions of Higher Education Collaborative and the county-wide Foster Youth College Advancement Project, providing strategy development, facilitation, and project management support.
In addition, Hernandez provides higher education policy support to the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and its Education and Workforce Development Council and helps implement L.A. Cash for College, a regional financial aid completion campaign recognized by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and by the National College Access Network. Previously, Hernandez performed policy research for the Assistant Commissioner of Higher Education in Boston, MA, and served as Assistant Director of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) National Internship Program in Washington, D.C.
She began her career in direct service, working as an academic advisor and retention coordinator at the University of the District of Columbia. A first-generation college graduate herself, Hernandez graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA and went on to earn her master's in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. For her leadership in public service, Hernandez has received numerous accolades, including the Rising Advocate Award from UCLA, the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Public Service from the Harvard Kennedy School, the Ricardo Salinas Scholarship from the Aspen Institute's Latinos & Society Program, and the national merit Harry S.Truman Scholarship. Passionate about building a diverse leadership pipeline for the public sector, Hernandez has trained students of color and young women leaders through multiple programs.
Hernandez serves as Vice Chair of the Young Professionals Network of Latinas Lead California, a statewide political action committee dedicated to electing California Latinas to all levels of public office. She is also an active volunteer with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and the UCLA Latino Alumni Association, among other organizations. Originally from Buena Park, CA, Hernandez now resides in northeast Los Angeles with her partner Víctor G. Sanchez.
Catherine-Mercedes Judge - New York
Catherine is originally from San Francisco and has been leading youth, advocacy, and leadership development programs across the country since 2005. She is currently managing the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's comprehensive organizational change initiative, Race to Justice, which aims to embed racial equity and social justice practices across the agency in order to improve health outcomes for all New Yorkers.
Catherine is passionate about civic engagement and has served on city and non-profit boards including: San Francisco's Parks Recreation and Open Space Advisory Committee, Citywide Transitional Age Youth Board, and South of Market Community Action Network, representing the interests of working class families and youth. She continues to engage with arts, political, and cultural organizing with the Filipino & Asian Pacific Islander Community in San Francisco and New York City.
She received her Master's Degree in Public Administration from Baruch College through the National Urban Fellows program, and Bachelor's Degree in Urban Studies from Queens College. She has completed academic and policy fellowships including: Union Semester (CUNY), Boards & Commissions Leadership Institute (Urban Habitat), and PPIA's Junior Summer Institute at University of Michigan.
Dorene Martinez - New York
Dorene J. Martinez is an advocate for diversity in the workplace. Based in the New York city, she works for BNP Paribas managing a team of Cash Management sales advisors and leading business development initiatives for the Americas Sales team. Prior to BNPP, Dorene spent just under a decade working with Deutsche Bank and HSBC in trade finance and cash management sales, focusing on large cap companies in the area of energy and natural resources.
Before her career in banking, she was an Investment Officer for the New York City's comptroller's Office in the bureau of Asset Management and worked for a variety of international development organizations. She holds a Bachelor's degree from UCLA and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University.
Christian Pierre-Canel - Washington D.C.
Christian Pierre-Canel currently serves as Scheduler for the Office of United States Senator Bill Nelson (FL). A second generation Haitian-American, Christian hails from Lehigh Acres, Florida and earned his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Florida.
Christian is an alumnus of the 2014 PPIA Junior Summer Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and the 2015 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Internship Program. Passionate about mitigating inequalities in minority communities, Christian aspires to continue his career in government to implement effective policies for our diverse nation.
Eliza Ramirez - Washington D.C.
Eliza Ramirez serves as Policy Advisor for Congressman Michael Capuano (MA-07), she works on foreign policy, defense, immigration, homeland security, and trade issues. Eliza has been instrumental working with key international actors to secure funding for humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. She was named "40 Under 40 Latinos in Foreign Policy" by the Huffington Post in 2016 and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations Congressional Foreign Policy Study Group and the Woodrow Wilson Foreign Policy Congressional Scholars Program. Ramirez started her Capitol Hill career on the Senate side where she worked for Senators Barbara Boxer and Robert Menendez. She holds a B.A. from California State University, Fullerton.
Additionally, her passion to help others is indulged through her service to increase diversity and promote inclusion in Congress. Eliza is President of the Women's Congressional Staff Association, a bipartisan organization that has nearly 800 congressional members, and founder of the Latinos in Foreign Policy Association and Latinas in the House of Representatives Group. Throughout the year, she hosts numerous professional development workshops that focus on essential skills needed to breakthrough to senior positions on Capitol Hill such as managing up and down, negotiating across the aisle, and effective communication in the office. Ramirez believes that policy making is not objective, it is influenced by the staffers who write it, which is why it is integral that all communities are represented in the halls of Congress.
Larry Sanders - Michigan
A proud son of Detroit, Michigan, Larry J. Sanders (PPIA JSI '13) most recently studied at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy in their Master of Public Policy program. A 2014 graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC, Larry developed a deep interest in education policy during his undergraduate career, observing the perils of the achievement and opportunity gaps and the poor education being disseminated to students in disenfranchised communities. Consequently, Larry has found his passion in his desire to help build comprehensive education reform, particularly in his hometown, where he believes a revitalized public education system is essential to the foundation of a resurgent Detroit.
With 5 of his closest friends, Larry is also in the process of establishing TeamCedricGill, a community collaborative collective honoring the memory of Cedric Gill, a close friend of Larry's who died after a car accident in November 2007. Larry serves as Executive Director of the fledgling non-profit; their goal is to support Detroit-area student-athletes with the necessary resources to succeed in college and beyond.
Larry also started WhatSuitsHim, an art and journalism project, in January 2016; as Curator and Executive Editor, he manages the project's website and various social mediums. In the project's first twenty-eight months, he has published essays and podcasts on a variety of topics and hosted guest writers on numerous occasions. He sees this project as an opportunity to both express and unify his many passions, and he looks forward to growing this venture in the years to come. This upcoming August, Larry will begin the Juris Doctor program at the Howard University School of Law.
(In Sequence - Professional Affiliations Shown at the Time of Service on the Board)
Susan C. Schwab (chair, 2000 – 2005)
Dean, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
Rebecca M. Blank (chair, 2006 – 2007)
Dean, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
Mark Wessel (chair, 2008 – 2009)
Dean, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University
Albert Beckford Jones (chair, 2009-2011)
Chairman and CEO of Trading & Consulting International, Inc.
William LeoGrande (co-chair 2011-2012)
Dean, School of Public Affairs, American University and
Martha Chavez (co-chair 2011-2012) Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, UC Berkeley
James Goldgeier (co-chair 2012-2015)
Dean, School of International Service, American University and
Martha Chavez (co-chair 2012-2015) Senior Assistant Dean for Academic Programs & Dean of Students, UC Berkeley
Eric Schwartz (chair, 2015-2016)
Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
(Alphabetical by Last Name - Professional Affiliations Shown at the Time of Service on the Board)
Dean, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
Dean, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh
The Harris School, University of Chicago
Dean, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Dean, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Dean, School of International Service, American University
Melissa A. Lee
Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs, Princeton University
Senior Representative for Eastern South America, Inter- America Foundation
Dean, Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley
Dean, School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles
Joseph Nye, Jr.
Dean, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Director of MPP Admissions and Programs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
Dean, School of Public Affairs, American University
Dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
Dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
President, Foundation for Child Development
Dean, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
(Alphabetical by Last Name - Professional Affiliations Shown at the Time of Service on the Board)
Patricia Budka, Program Coordinator, 2002 – 2003
Tevonne Ellis, Program Coordinator, 2004
Christopher Matias, Executive Director, 2002 – 2009
Rose Previte, Program Coordinator, 2003 – 2005
Lath Addie Rasavong, Program Manager, 2004 – 2006
Marvin Ward, Jr., Administrator, 2010 – 2011
Erin Mann, National Director, 2012 - 2016